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Mean Words Won’t Make You Slim

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Mean Words Won’t Make You Slim

How many times have you criticized yourself in the last 24 hours? Stop for a minute and think about it. If you’re having any doubts that you’ve been anything but complimentary, think back to when you got dressed this morning. What exactly did you say to the image in the mirror? “Look at that stomach! Your thighs are enormous! You’ll never fit into those pants you got last month. You look terrible!”

Most of us wouldn’t dream of speaking to another human being like that. But we have no problem routinely addressing ourselves in a disrespectful, even demeaning, way. And if you’re choosing to lose weight, those voices make slimming down, or any kind of change, difficult or even agonizing.

Where do they come from, these critical, demeaning voices? Mostly, they’re the collective, cruel voices of our past — our parents, our siblings, schoolyard bullies, former lovers — that we’ve internalized. Over time, we come to believe them as true. They’re incredibly powerful. And they can set up all kinds of horribly self-sabotaging situations.

Not long ago, I was in an unavoidable situation with a person from my past who was the source of many of my own voices. I had gone into this situation feeling positive, even elated: my career was successful, my friendships were solid, my family life was strong, my health was great. Less than 24 hours after being with her, I felt demoralized, pitiful, small. Nothing in my life had changed, but I was utterly deflated — until I became aware of a cacophony of voices inside my head. There it was: a steady stream of small but painful self-criticisms, like an onslaught of tiny, fierce hornets. The irony is, this woman’s criticisms of me paled in comparison to my own self-talk. I’d done most of the work for her.

How does negative self talk hamper your best efforts to lose weight, boost digestion, increase energy–or, for that matter, get a job, run three miles, begin a new relationship, even move through your day in a peaceful fashion?

Next: 5 Ways Self-Criticism Undermines Your Efforts

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Lisa Turner

Lisa is a chef and nutritionist with more than 30 years of professional experience and formal training in food, nutrition and product development. She’s written five books on food and nutrition and is the creator of The Healthy Gourmet iPhone app, and has been a featured blogger for many national sites, including Huffington Post and Whole Foods Market. Lisa is a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and also teaches food and nutrition classes and workshops to individuals and corporations. She's a black belt in Ninjutsu, an active volunteer in the Boulder Valley school lunch system, and an avid wild food forager.


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3:45AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013

A very good reminder of the way our self talk shapes our lives, even though we're often not aware of it.

9:56AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

I liked this article. I've had good results with affirmations but you have to remember to keep them up. Otherwise you think, 'Oh, I'm better now' and stop doing them - then you can find that your old ways creep back again. Just a couple of days ago my partner pointed out that I was being horrible to myself again. Back with the affirmations!

4:55AM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Being a hypnotherapist I perfectly agree on the power of words, which means thoughts.Automatically repeated into the subconscious mind.We are not even aware of their damage, but it can be huge.

12:41PM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

This is a very deep and thoughtful article. Thank you so much!

9:32AM PDT on Aug 1, 2010

Paying homage to these voices also perpetuates a loyalty to the originator of these voices..Once you identify the origin of this voice, the conscious choice to over ride this voice with your own constructive and productive one..liberates your psyche...and fosters a true sense of autonomy.. I appreciate reading your post as a therapist and woman who knows the power of inner change work..Stephanie Alt MS I will re post this on my facebook pages...

10:32PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

This was good.

I think this could really pertain to your life and attitude in general. I realized at the beginning of this year how much I let negativity run my life. So, I decided to get a journal to help me release it. Unfortunately journal-ling about all the negative BS I dealt with all day just kept me in a negative mood. A few days ago I decided that I was going to try something new. Every night before bed I'm going to write out 3 good things about that day. Whether it be something I did, something someone did for me, something great I ate or heard...etc etc. I noticed that my attitude today is MUCH better.

Try even writing one good thing about yourself everyday....chances are it will make loosing that weight or sticking to that diet or workout plan work much better.

8:55PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

that negative self voice helps me- i shut it up by proving myself, so it motivates me

2:27PM PDT on Jul 23, 2010

It's strange how life rolls with positive thinking, I usually think that we need to painfully sacrifice ourselves in order to gain what we want, hence "no pain no game". But when I read this article, life seems easier that it sounds. Positive thinking helps you love yourself, AND loose weight (because you love your body so much that you actually work out) which RESULTS having an actual perfect body which makes you feel confident, and then you make more friends and eventually meet the one and yadi yadi yadi ya. happy ending...

8:34PM PDT on Jul 20, 2010

Charmaine, you make very good points and I agree wholeheartedly. Hester, I also love the idea of the stop sign. Elaine you're absolutely right.
I never worried that I would ever be mugged or beaten up because I did such a good job of beating myself up. It took a lot of years for me to start seeing myself as a unique expression of the Divine and worthy of self love.

11:14PM PDT on Jul 19, 2010

Great article! It's so important to be kind to ourself with any change we make in our life, whether it's losing weight, ending unsupportive relationships or changing money habits, we all need to be a kinder to ourselves. Great reminder!

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