7 top tips for habit change - Tip 5
Tip Number 5: Watch your language!
What language do you use to talk about yourself, your body and the way you eat?
Have you ever said you: have no willpower, can’t control yourself, are a sugar addict, are always hungry, can’t stop eating, can’t resist temptation…?
Have you called yourself: greedy, a glutton, a sugar-holic, fat, overweight, a pig or worse?
So many of us use negative language when we talk about ourselves and the more we use these words, the more we internalise them. This means that we reinforce our belief that we are in fact greedy or unable to control ourselves, and then we behave accordingly. And before we know it, being a ‘greedy glutton with no self control’ becomes how we truly view ourselves.
Try and start to notice the words you use about yourself (both outloud and in your own mind). Are there times when you talk to yourself unkindly and critically? Perhaps when you have had a day where you weren’t perfectly ‘on-plan’ or a week when you did not lose the desired kilos? Draw attention towards these moments and pause. If you were talking to a friend while they were on a plan to improve their health, would you use these words with them? Do you think that shaming or criticising this friend would help them achieve good outcomes? We are guessing probably not! Well it won’t work with you either…..
If you’ve made a habit of using unkind language with yourself over the years, it can be hard to switch fully into being your own cheerleader. Try to slightly flip the script instead . Perhaps ‘You’re a failure, you may as well stop trying, you’ll never be able to stick to this plan’ becomes ‘Eating well was difficult today because of the family party, but one day won’t ruin all your weeks of good work. You’ve been doing pretty well for a while now , which means you have it in you to move forward on this plan.’ (Insert optional high five here!)
When you start to use different language about yourself and treat yourself with compassion, this can filter down into your behaviours. Can you see how the first, unkind statement above might actually trigger more unhelpful eating behaviour later that day? The second, more compassionate (and more realistic) statement is more likely to curtail the off-plan eating habits there.