We all have thousands of thoughts each day, but we don’t often even notice them – or how they impact what we do, or what choices they cause us to make.
Interestingly studies have shown people who observed and noticed their thoughts when they had chocolate carvings were less likely to eat the chocolate!
When we notice our thoughts and pay attention we can figure out which ones are helpful and which ones aren’t.
Reminding ourselves that thoughts are simply things we say in our heads – not facts – can help us shift how we respond to them, acknowledging that every action has consequences.
Psychology studies show there are many effective ways we can change how we respond to our thoughts, as they are just thoughts, not facts. Often we notice we’ve had unhelpful thoughts after we’ve already acted. If we were more aware of them, possibly challenged them we could have dealt with them in a more positive way.
How many times have I seen somebody start a diet and do reasonable well and be totally delighted with their progress and then have an occasion of some sort, it could be a birthday or a holiday in fact any occasion that you can think of. so they decide to have a couple of weeks “OFF PLAN” because its their birthday/holiday expecting to get back “ON PLAN” when its all over, only to be shocked at the weight gain and how it made them feel – the only failure in town. they had undone so much hard work, and they are then feeling that they will not be able to do it all over again, so they might as well not bother and then they give up.
We have so many unhelpful thoughts that can cause us to act automatically and throw in the towel, but if we acknowledge these thoughts as just that only thoughts and remember they only become reality when we act on them. when we recognise these unhelpful thoughts we can actively start to respond to them in a more helpful way that means we stay on track and keep going.
So when those unhelpful thoughts hit we need to ask ourselves:-
- What are the facts that tell me I definitely won’t be able to lose the weight I’ve gained again?
- What are the facts that I will be able to lose the weight I’ve gained again?”
Or we could ask ourselves, what would I tell my friend if it was her/him?
- Would I tell them they would never be able to lose the weight again
- Would I tell them to give up?
Odds are definitely not!! You’d probably be the true best friend and look for the positive outcome.
A different way of challenging the thought is, once you notice the thought, instead of immediately trying to change it, you pause and ask yourself what the effect of this thought will probably be.
So instead of throwing in the towel you could ask yourself how you can think differently so you’ll be less likely to do that.
That could be something as simple as reminding yourself that you have successfully lost weight in the past and you can use what you have learned on your journey to continue being successful.
Another technique is for you to simply notice the thought and accept it for what it is without trying to change it. The idea here is to recognize that a thought is not a fact and therefore is not something you have to react to.
So if you could notice the thought and say “ah, I always have that thought when I reach a setback. And just because I have the thought doesn’t mean I have to act on it”
Thoughts are simply that, there are no consequences to them unless you turn them into actions.