Do You Notice Your Negative Thinking?

How conscious of your thoughts are you?  Positive changes in any area of life are so much easier when we observe more and notice negative thoughts.  It is the difference between a simple, impartial observation of what “is” and an unconscious thought based on past experience followed by emotional responses.  Habitual thinking is based on the way our personal experience colors our unconscious observations.  It is hard to distinguish reality from the emotional response to it.  And it can all happen without realizing it.

“I weigh more than I thought I would today.”  As a simple observation, this is nothing more than a statement acknowledging that it is difficult to predict what the scale will say on a given day or at a given time of day.  Done!  No more thought needs to be wasted on it if it is a simple observation.

However, without an awareness of the thought, a different outcome is likely, particularly in the case of those who have struggled with weight loss efforts.  The thoughts just run wild without a conscious watcher of the thought process.  “I can’t control myself.  That’s why I am so fat.  I will never be able to lose weight.  It doesn’t matter what I do, I am destined to fail.”

You may see yourself in this example, or in one of the following:

“I feel hungry.”  . . . “I am always hungry.  I will eat too much and gain weight.  I will never be able to control my eating.”

“That dessert looks good.”  . . . “I can never be trusted around sweets.  If I have any of that, I will blow up like a balloon.  I will never stop eating once I start.”

Along with the runaway locomotive of thoughts, a cascade of negative emotions will likely create momentum away from any temporary improvements that, in this state of mind “clearly aren’t working.”  These thoughts just flow, fueled by the well-worn path of habit.  Notice it happening, and suddenly there is awareness.  The more often this happens, the more momentum toward real change occurs.  With time, healthier habits require much less thought, because the habit becomes healthier thinking . . . which becomes healthier eating . . . which becomes a healthier body.

The key really is just noticing the negative thoughts.  Stop there.  Resist the temptation to judge the fact that the negative thoughts are there.  They are.  Period.  Negative thoughts pop up for everyone from time to time, if not about our eating, about other areas of life.   But the tendency will diminish as awareness of them increases.  Not usually a dramatic or rapid process, just slow and steady, but that’s the way real change usually happens.  Any struggles or successes that anyone can share with the rest of us?

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