“Unless you have the mind straight, you won’t be able to engage your mouth and muscles properly.” Pamela Peeke, M.D “The link is what you think.”
Potentially, there is no more challenging time of the year to test out your mindset towards food and exercise than the Christmas holidays, but if you can get to January and feel good about where you have been and where you are headed with a clear mind that would be great wouldn’t it?
Cognitive psychologists identify three “musts” that a lot of people have in their mind when they are trying to improve their lifestyle:
1. I must be different. (I must be able to eat what I want.)
2. Others must treat me the way I demand. (You must not restrict my eating.)
3. My life must be fair. (It’s not fair that I cannot eat this and they can.)
Changing your thoughts may help you change your feelings. It’s not WHAT happens, but rather what you THINK about what happens that creates upset feelings. Remember, we don’t GET upset, we upset ourselves by what we believe.
Demands and exaggerations are significant obstacles to happiness and well-being. Demanding, insisting and expecting that you can eat everything you want and not gain weight is both inflexible and self-defeating.
Get rid of your own musts. Is it really true that you must be able to eat the way others do or that life must be fair?
So you are invited to a party, going to your office christmas party, or you are having a family get-together. These events are filled with social, environmental, biological, emotional and mental thought triggers.
Overweight thinkers confuse hunger with a desire to eat. They may have a low tolerance for hunger and cravings, or enjoy the feeling of being full and fool themselves about how much they’ve actually eaten. Of course, these types of thinkers comfort themselves with food, feel helpless and hopeless when they gain weight, and focus on the unfairness of it all.
Replacing these types of thoughts with rational thoughts is the key to gaining control of the mind:
Instead of: Yes, I know I ate a little while ago, but I’m starving.
Say: I’m having a craving but that doesn’t mean I MUST eat.
Instead of: That cupcake is calling my name and I MUST eat it.
Say: Cupcakes can’t speak.
Instead of: I can’t stand the feeling of being hungry, it’s awful and horrible.
Say: It’s only uncomfortable but I can tolerate it. I may not like it and would prefer to eat but I don’t have to, since the feeling will go away.
Instead of: What’s the big deal? It’s only one extra cookie. It’s not fair that I can’t eat it.
Say: If I have that cookie, I’m only going to strengthen the habit of giving in and fairness has nothing to do with it.
Here are several more rational responses you can use to replace other irrational thoughts, which will help keep your mouth and muscles operating in a healthy way:
I MUST not feel deprived, BUT I’d rather tolerate deprivation and get healthier.
I MUST not have to tolerate the unfairness of being hungry, BUT I can tolerate hunger in order to lose weight and get healthier.
I MUST not have to eat differently than others, BUT what’s the big deal? It’s worth it to become healthy.
I MUST not have to write down eating plans and SHOULD be able to be spontaneous in my eating like everyone else, BUT I can either NOT write down my eating plan before I go to the party and be spontaneous like everyone else, or I can manage my weight properly—but not both.