Janet Jackson said it best, but I don’t think what I am about to write about is what was on her mind. And it’s possible that you think this isn’t a great title for Thanksgiving week, the time that we celebrate gratitude, friends and family. But here’s the thing, it’s the perfect time for it. Nasty mind chatter is sabotaging you.
[tweet_dis]Raise your hand if you ‘ruin your diet’ every holiday season since the beginning of time until forever.[/tweet_dis]
Is your hand up?
Now, before you get all huffy with me, I’m not saying you’re nasty for breaking your diet. The nasty I am talking about is the stuff that goes on in your head as you’re doing it, that nasty mind chatter. We can be so mean to ourselves. There’s all this talk about enjoying life and eating guilt free but I don’t know too many people that can actually do it – so I’m going to give you a challenge for the holiday season.
Be nicer to yourself.
Yup, that’s it. I’ve heard the way I talk to myself and I’ve been privy to 1000’s of conversations with patients admonishing themselves for various habits and behaviours. Before this Thanksgiving hits, spend a couple of days listening to the way you talk to yourself and see if you can flip the script a bit.
If you are trying hard to avoid certain foods, you might hear yourself say things like:
“It’s just one. It’s the holidays. My family is here. This is a celebration.”
This is you sabotaging your efforts to live life the way you want to feel in your skin. I’m not saying to avoid dessert. Lord knows even in Prague, I’m gonna find a way to have a slice of pumpkin pie. The plan is in place. A slice of pumpkin pie. Not 3. Not 1 every day. A slice. Because yes, we do need to enjoy life and I love pumpkin pie but what I don’t like is not fitting into my jeans. That sends my nasty head talk into a mode that no one wants to hear about.
“Oh my god. I can’t believe you just did that. You really didn’t need to eat that much. What’s wrong with you?”
This time, you know you’re not being nice and for some reason you’ve convinced yourself that admonishing yourself will somehow make you feel better. It won’t. Let go of the guilt, go to bed and take tomorrow as a new day. Don’t promise yourself extra exercise or take diet pills. Just have some ginger tea to settle your stomach, go to bed and wake up in the morning with a plan to do it different. And if you find yourself in the same place at the end of the day… just simply repeat. Be nice to yourself. You’re not a jerk because you ate too much.
So here’s your challenge, in more detail.
- Pay attention for a few days to the things you say to yourself in the mirror, in the shower and when you eat.
- Make note of the specific words and phrases your nasty mind chatter uses to make you feel terrible (but sabotaging you to eat OR by being plain ol’ mean). WRITE THIS DOWN.
- Keep that note with you at all times and when you hear that nasty chatter, open it up and look at it so that you know how ridiculous it really is to treat yourself like this.
- Say something nice to yourself. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Nasty mind chatter is resilient. The beast will push through and try to persevere. So, your commitment to being nice to yourself has to be grounded in a deep belief that you are worth being treated nicely. And. YOU ARE.
Now, off to work you go.
If you find out your nasty mind chatter says something really ridiculous and funny, let us know about it in the comments below. As soon as you realize how silly it is and share it outloud, it’s power is diminished.