Have you ever started an exercise or diet plan because you were unhappy with your appearance, or were worried about your health? Perhaps you wanted to move away from something negative, such as low energy levels or self-confidence, and embark on a journey to change. Unfortunately, all too often, we carry on this focus on the negative, even as we make positive changes.
Quite often, when people self-report (to others or themselves) on their eating or exercise habits, they are quick to highlight the ‘less healthy’ parts. “I had three glasses of wine this weekend,” or “I didn’t do well; I didn’t lose any weight this week.” We are our own worst critics, and for some reason when we start to make healthier choices, we sometimes criticize ourselves even more.
The negative talk can spiral into negative thoughts and negative beliefs. You may think that you failed, or you determine your self-worth based on whether or not you had dessert, or if you lost any weight one week. You feel guilty when you indulge, and try to make up for it by running a few extra miles, or skipping your next meal. The goal of eating becomes to consume fewer calories, and exercise becomes a punishment for poor eating.