Whether we are aware of it or not, we are talking to ourselves (don’t worry it is normal) throughout the day. We tell ourselves it is okay to do certain things, tell ourselves it is not okay to do other things, daydream, make judgments of ourselves and others, and prioritize tasks. We also talk to ourselves when it comes to our food choices and the way we use food in life. Many times we will “talk ourselves into” bad food choices or “talk ourselves out of” good food choices. We use A LOT of reasons to justify the choices as I did for years. We say I deserve it because I had a tough day or I deserve it because I did something great. The “I deserve it” reward system is one way our own talk with ourselves will sabotage our goals of great health and quality of life. For most of us, this has been a practice we have perfected over many years, probably since childhood. Our self-talk that leads us to make unhealthy choices with food has played a key role in the health status we are in today and what it will be in the future. Changing the AUTOMATIC words we say to ourselves when we are justifying our food choices will play a key role in you achieving the weight and wellness goals that you so strongly desire.
It is amazing how the human brain and body work. It is way more complex than just a matter of choice. We have genetics that make us predisposed to gain weight if we eat bad, be tall or short, respond in certain ways to stress and anxiety, and keep or lose our hair (mine is lost). Some people may call this being “hardwired.” We have also taught ourselves how to cope with events in life and it has become AUTOMATIC based on how we talk to ourselves. When our hardwired genetics and AUTOMATIC unhealthy coping choices meet and have done so for many years, we struggle to change. I struggled for the first 38 years of my life and was miserable. I couldn’t lose weight, stop eating sugars, or quit smoking. I got up to 340 lbs., was depressed much of the time, anxious all of the time, and showed it. I have met many people over the years who have this same issue and have learned healthier ways to enjoy life. So how do you change after struggling for years and are hardwired to be a certain way? Much of it happens when we change the talk to ourselves.
Rewire Your Talk
I wish I could rewire the fact that I have lost much of my hair. It bothered me for years so I wore hats and tried many treatments. I think most of the treatments leaked into my ears, eyebrows, and yes back (I know TMI). I eventually had to accept that I was losing my hair and there was not much I could do about it. People who create big lifestyle change after years of struggle also had to accept that each of us are hardwired in ways we need to manage differently. The difference with this and my hair is that we can change with the way we respond in life, the health choices that we make, and the self-talk we use to make those choices. Acceptance is always the first step in change but action is the key to the rest. Here are a few of the action steps that people used to make big lifestyle change after accepting the fact that change was needed:
- All changed the “I deserve it” reward system and the self-talk associated with that. This does not mean that you do not deserve good things and rewards. You work hard, help others, and are a good person. Changing the way you use and see the word deserve is a great way to do that. Many have changed the “I deserve its” into self-talk like this:
- “I deserve great health and quality of life.”
- “I deserve to fit into a smaller size.”
- “I deserve to be able to move better.”
Or whatever works for your health journey.
- All changed what they are hungry for. For many of us, food has been a priority in our lives and what we have been “hungry for.” The people that have made major lifestyle changes have changed the way they use and see the word hunger. Instead of feeding the hunger for sugary food and drinks, all developed a strong hunger for change. Wanting to be healthy for themselves and others, being able to move with less effort and pain, and witnessing others who struggle are some of the reasons the new “hunger” was developed. Become hungry for change!
- All stayed resilient! Many of us know how to set a goal but do not know how to reach the goal. It is not that we are failures but merely do not know how to fail. You will have a day where you do not make the best choices. You are human. Start each day fresh, learn from the previous day without harsh judgment of yourself, and do not dwell on the unhealthy choice you may have made. The key is to “get right back on” when you fall off and focus on the hunger that you have for success!
I sincerely hopes this helps some of you who may struggle with maintaining a long term health focus. It is hard no question in today’s world. But you can change like so many others if you desire. You can create the health and the quality of life you deserve. You can be your own miracle!