Many of us know what we should be doing to lose weight but have trouble doing it. If that resonates with you, check your thinking. These nine thinking mistakes will derail your progress. Recognizing them is half the battle!
SO, YOU’VE FOUND a program that fits you perfectly. It matches with your dietary preferences, and the training aligns with your busy schedule. From here out, it is smooth sailing, right? Not really. Here is where the mental aspect of fitness can create obstacles. It is important to assess your thought patterns and be aware of some of the most common thinking mistakes as coined by Judith Beck, Ph.D., in The Beck Diet Solution.
1. Negative Fortune Telling
“I will never be able to lose weight.”
TRUTH: When you miss the gym or stray from your diet, and have a week where your progress seems stagnant, you immediately decide that you will never make progress in the future. Letting one day, one week, one month, or even one year, determine the rest of your life is a common thinking mistake.
2. Overly Positive Fortune Telling
“I’ll start next week. It’s OK to wait longer. I won’t gain any extra weight, and I’ll be able to stop overeating whenever I wish.” OR “I can follow some directions on my plan and skip others. I’m sure it won’t matter much.”
TRUTH: When you are overly positive regarding the future, you think that it will be OK no matter what your actions. That ultimately you can lose weight even if you are off this entire week, or that the small slips don’t have an impact on your progress.
3. All or Nothing Thinking
“Well, this day is shot, might as well eat whatever I want and start again tomorrow.”
TRUTH: Does a minor slip up lead to uncontrollable overeating? If so, you may suffer from all or nothing thinking. Recognizing this pattern and moving past small slip ups will prevent you from turning that extra cookie into an entire bag undoing your efforts for the week. Don’t start tomorrow, start today, even if you already slipped up.
4. Emotional Reasoning
“I didn’t have the willpower to avoid those cupcakes, so I don’t have any willpower.”
TRUTH: Emotional reasoning makes it difficult for you to remember that emotions pass and feelings are not permanent. You may feel negative about yourself, but that does not mean that is who you are from that moment forward.
5. Mind Reading
“My parents will be disappointed if I don’t try each of the desserts they prepared for Christmas dinner.” OR “People will laugh at me if I go to the gym to train. They will know I am a beginner.”
TRUTH: Many of us are worried about what others will think when in actuality they are completely neutral regarding the topic, or their reaction is much less than anticipated.
6. Self-Deluding Thinking
“It’s only a few bites; it won’t matter.” OR “Eating in the middle of the night doesn’t count.”
TRUTH: Self-deluding thinking happens when we rationalize something that we know is not true to make ourselves feel better about the decision at the moment.
7. Unhelpful Rules
“I have to eat at the same times others are eating even if I am not hungry.” OR “I can’t ask what we are having at the BBQ and inconvenience anyone by suggesting they plan ahead.” OR “I cannot eat something other than what is offered at a gathering.”
TRUTH: These rules cause us to behave in a way that is not in line with our goals or our wants and needs. They often put everyone else at the top of your priority list with disregard from ourselves.
“I worked so hard this week; I deserve to eat whatever I want tonight.” OR “I am upset that my mom/dad/sister/brother/friend is ill, so I shouldn’t worry about eating well right now.”
TRUTH: Justification is linking a situation that is not related to eating to give yourself permission to indulge.
9. Exaggerated Thinking
“This craving is intolerable.” OR “I am going to starve if I don’t eat soon.”
TRUTH: With exaggerated thinking, we make a situation exponentially worse than it is in our minds. We take the gravity of how we are feeling to an extreme.
Pinpointing thinking errors can stop minor mistakes from snowballing out of control. Recognizing these patterns and having positive responses ready will change your thoughts and ultimately lead to a much higher probability of accomplishing your goal.
By Karey Northington