For the most part I do my best to live by the 80/20 rule, where I do my best to eat clean and have my meals planned and prepped 80% of the time and then I let myself relax a bit and partake in indulgences about 20% of the time. This strategy works fairly well for me there are times where it feels like I have gone off the deep end into a never ending free fall through a junk food tunnel, much like Alice when she falls down the rabbit hole.
This past weekend (probably more like week) has been one of those free falls through junk food city. Normally my reaction would be to dwell on how awful my food choices have been, how much I have let myself down, and how all this candy and junk food binge eating has been a bunch of self sabotage, but learning to move myself away from negative self talk like this has been something I have been working on since starting my health and fitness journey. It isn’t always something I am able to avoid, but when I do get into a negative spiral because maybe I shouldn’t have had a family sized bag of chips and a chocolate bar I have started to do something other than putting myself down.
I have been teaching myself to recognize this negative self talk. As silly as that sounds recognizing that I am being hurtful towards myself did not come easy. If you are used to putting yourself down for your food choices or your lack of exercise or whatever else it may be this negative self talk becomes a habit and can become a habit that begins to holding you back from progressing.
What I mean by this is that by getting down on yourself for eating that bag of chips isn’t going to change the fact that you ate them, it isn’t going to magically zap away the processed junk and excessive amounts of fat and calories. So by contributing to negative self talk you aren’t helping yourself to progress and move forward instead you are encouraging yourself to stay in the past and dwell on actions that have already occurred.
So what do I do? It has taken myself, personally, some time to teach myself to recognize that I am doing this, my trick to to stop and ask myself “Would I ever say anything like this to a friend?” and “If a friend was saying something like this to him/her self what would I tell them?”. These questions help me to stop for a second so I can put my objective hat on. Once I am able to slow down and start looking at the situation a bit more objectively I reach for a pen and paper or anything that I can write something up on. Once I am ready I do my best to address the following:
- How I am feeling? This question gives me the chance to see what is bothering me. I can then objectively look at what I feel I have done wrong. I feel that writing it out helps me to pull it out of my head, so instead of the negative though snowballing into a huge issue, I am able to see what it is on paper for what it is.
- I write out why. Why had I eaten the chips? Why do I feel I went over board? Why am I so upset about it?
- What was I feeling at the time? Was it mindless eating? Had I been upset? Am I bored? What triggered me to munch on junk?
- Leave it on the page. Once it is written out it is time to move on. Setbacks are one of the best way to learn about yourself, you can’t get better if there is nothing to build on and improve, so I do my best to remind myself that I may have fallen off the wagon but I have the choice to get back on and strive for better.
- Make new goals. Focus on something else other than the negative by finding a new positive. Figure out some new goals to work towards. They don’t necessarily need to be food based, but they should push you and motivate you in a positive way. Maybe your goal is to have more vegetables, eat less bread, do a headstand, run faster, run longer, whatever the goal is make it positive.
- Sharing is caring! Share your goals with one person. That person can be your significant other, your workout partner, your personal trainer, a family member. Just share your new goals with one of the people that is in your support network, letting someone know about your goals will help you motivate you because once someone knows it really becomes “real”.
This may all sound like a lot of work, but like anything else the more you do it the easier it becomes, so next time you are going over to the dark side give these steps a chance and see if they work for you.
One of the goals I have set for myself is to gain confidence in doing inversions and get myself into an unassisted headstand before going away to my yoga teacher training. So hopefully in the future I will have an upside down picture of myself to share with all of you.
If you want to share some of your goals please go ahead post them in the comments below, you never know you might help to inspire someone else to set a similar goal!