Teasing, bullying, name-calling…all hot button issues involved in adolescence. We all know the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is 100% untrue. Hearing the same thing over and over again results in an adapted belief about oneself, whether it comes from others or your own internal voice. We know how to point these things out externally, but we often struggle identifying the issue internally, failing to realize how our own thoughts can easily destruct and destroy personal beliefs.
That’s right. One of the biggest “bullies” we have to worry about may just be who is staring back at you in the mirror. Sadly, this person is also the victim.
“You look terrible in this top. But nothing else fits! I don’t even want to go out…nothing is fitting right, and I’ll just be uncomfortable all night. I’d rather just stay home.”
Sound familiar? Negative thoughts about yourself translate into negative energy and often times, self-fulfilling prophecies. M.Ed Darla Breckenridge, the staff psychologist of Green Mountain at Fox Run, told FitWoman that a negative thought, “is a runaway mind.” She elaborated that, “it’s ruminating, obsessing, thinking–NOT problem solving.”
That runaway mind is the culprit of several destructive nicks to your self-confidence. What are millions of women insecure about? Their body image, weight or size. What does this runaway mind or negative talk about your body image, weight or size do? It may just affect your weight more than you care to believe!
All that stress, whether it be physical or emotional, increases your levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Overproduction of cortisol during everyday stresses encourage the storage of fat. And, it’s most prominent around the belly area. Of course it is, right?!
According to a recent study published in the journal NeuroImage, people who engage in self-criticism show more brain activity in the regions responsible for depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Holding on to bad feelings can make you hold on to more weight. That spike in cortisol will spike your appetite and cravings too! Stress eating is sometimes deemed as “self-medicating.” Just think about that for a bit.
That voice in your head can be pretty convincing too, considering it knows all your sweet spots. It attacks your self-esteem and the trust you have with yourself to make any positive changes. Trusting yourself is one of the biggest factors in sustaining a positive change, especially when it comes to your dietary habits. Your relationship with yourself can reveal a lot about your relationship with food.
Here are 4 great tips from US News on the mental component of weight loss and management:
- Eat with awareness by thinking about what you’re putting into your body and the impact it will have on your weight and overall health.
- Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. Know that slip-ups will happen and that all progress in the right direction is meaningful. Be kind to yourself, and feel good about the steps you’re taking to improve your health.
- Assess your behaviors and vulnerable situations honestly, and strive to come up with practical solutions to areas that have tripped you up in the past.
- Look for new ways to respond to emotional and other nonhunger eating cues other than with food.
Remember those simple acknowledgments next time you look in the mirror and want to call yourself fat or you beat yourself up over a pound.
Getting back to a nurturing place is a simple process, but one that takes practice. In order to change your world, you have to first change your mind. When you feel down and begin the negative talk, get yourself in a more positive place, remind yourself why you started, and acknowledge all the positive as successes that deserve to be celebrated. No, not with cake and ice cream, but with a big smile, pat on the back, and kick in the rear to keep on keepin’ on!