Fixing the Negative Self-Talk

Is your inner voice a trash-talker? If you've tried and failed to reach your fitness goals in the past, negative thoughts might have held you back. Want to succeed this time? Get a journal! It's time to get some of those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have a negative self-image?
    Do you constantly say things like "I'm fat" or "I'm ugly"? Do you pick
  2. yourself apart and beat yourself up when you look in the mirror?
  3. Do you lack self-confidence?
    Do you doubt your ability to achieve your goals, weight related or otherwise? Do you dwell on your perceived limits or fears? Do you doubt your ability to accomplish the things you want to accomplish?
  4. Do you feel powerless?
    Do you feel as if you have no control over your life, or do you rely on excuses like "I'm genetically predisposed to being overweigh
  5. Do you label yourself in self-deprecating ways?
    Do you think and talk about your failure to lose weight as a foregone conclusion? Do you refer to yourself mockingly (or not!) as a stereotype — the happy/funny fat person in the room? Is your e-mail address "fatso@blank.com"?

Now think about your responses to these questions. How would you describe their tone? Are they affirming and constructive, or downbeat and destructive? If you want to turn your thinking around, ask yourself one more question:

How is this negativity serving you? Answering this question will help you understand why you have been perpetuating these destructive thoughts and behaviors so that you can cut them out at the root. Is what you say about yourself really the truth? Or is it a defense mechanism? And if so, against what? Are you just making complicated excuses? How does this kind of negativity help you achieve your goals?

Here's the last step: Go back and answer the above questions again, and force yourself to use only positive terms. It can be hard to let go of negative thought patterns. Often, they're the result of years of self-loathing and your internalizing of the negative opinions and judgments of others, but you can do it. Remember, knowledge is power. The next time one of these negative thoughts crops up, you'll have the awareness to cut it down.

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