The Everglow Blog is more than a food blog. In fact, I’m here to teach you SO much more as it relates to health and well-being. I believe that the way we think about food is just as important as the foods we eat. Insert self-talk.
Self-talk is the collective stream of thoughts playing in your head each day. Some call it the “inner voice” or “inner critic”. Self-talk can be helpful or harmful so it’s essential to pay attention to it.
Today, I’m sharing my positive self-talk script that will help you stop self-sabotage, especially in regards to your food choices and eating behaviors.
The Downfall of Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is harmful because it doesn’t stop at the thought level. Thoughts trigger feelings, which feed behaviors.
Negative-self talk triggers the feeling of despair, which leads to sabotaging behaviors. On the contrary, positive-self talk sparks feelings of hope, which leads to health-promoting behaviors.
See the trend?
Thoughts → Feelings → Behaviors
This concept is widely studied and outlined by Dr. Albert Ellis and Dr. Robert A Harper, the pioneers of rational-emotive psychotherapy.
Let’s take a closer look at how this relates to self-talk around food.
Why Self-Talk Around Food Matters
Imagine yourself in each of these scenarios:
You’re on a diet and have sworn off sweets. No cookies, cakes, brownies, chocolate, you name it. You’ve been doing so “good” because you haven’t kept these foods in the house! You’re feeling satisfied with your ability to stay away from sweets. About a week into the diet, you go over to your friend’s house for a Bachelor viewing night. The coffee table is covered with appetizers and desserts.
- I’ve been so good on my diet, I won’t eat any dessert tonight. I’ll stick to the veggies and hummus.
- But the cookies are my favorite kind. They look so delicious. I can’t stop thinking about them. Okay, I’ll have one.
- *Eats the cookie* I always blow my diet. I have no willpower. I’m a failure.
- From this place of despair, guilt, and regret…you eat another cookie.
- …and a second and third because you tell yourself that you’ve already messed up.
- You get up feeling miserable, not to mention haven’t been able to focus on enjoying the evening with your friend.
You’re an intuitive eater. You don’t have any unnecessary food rules or restrictions. You don’t judge yourself based on what you do or don’t eat. When you notice diet mentality, you’re able to call it out and implement a positive reframe.
- I’m so glad that I can enjoy the evening with my friend without worrying about food.
- That cookie looks delicious. I feel hungry and something sweet would hit the spot.
- *Eats the cookie* That was delicious. Let’s keep watching the Bachelor.
- From this place of contentedness and satisfaction: you stop after one cookie and clear your plate.
- You relax on the couch and watch the show with your best friend.
- You’re free to enjoy the company and comfort of the evening.
Notice the difference? Negative self-talk around food can trigger food guilt, which often leads to self-sabotaging behaviors like overeating. Positive self-talk around food promotes feelings of satisfaction, which leads to health-promoting behaviors.
My Positive Self-Talk Script
It’s time to flip the script on negative self-talk. As easy as it is to feed negative self-talk and spiral downwards, you can also feed positive self-talk and spiral upwards. Here’s how:
1. Cultivate awareness.
Awareness is your under-utilized superpower. It brings light to what’s been hidden in the dark. By cultivating awareness, you’re able to call out negative self-talk more quickly. Start by saying HELLO to your inner critic. Notice and observe your thoughts. This sounds like:
- I notice that…
- I am hearing myself say…
In this step, it’s not required to change the thought. Rather, the goal is to simply notice it.
2. Ask a question.
After you notice a negative thought, challenge it with a question to invite rational thinking. Ask:
- What is true or correct about this belief? What is false?
Let’s go back to the cookie example.
Challenge the negative thoughts: I have no willpower. I’m a failure.
With a rational response: I have utilized my willpower in many situations where it’s been helpful. What I eat is not a measure of my success as a human being.
3. Replace absolute terms.
Absolute terms like always or never create a pass/fail mentality that is difficult to sustain forever. It keeps one living in extremes. Replace these words with gentler words such as sometimes, may, or allow.
Drop absolute terms: I ALWAYS blow my diet. I won’t eat ANY dessert tonight.
With gentle/neutral words: I SOMETIMES eat sweets. I MAY have dessert or any food that sounds good to me tonight.
4. Invite gratitude.
Gratitude is another pathway out of negative self-talk and comparison. It offers a perspective shift to see what is present and abundant in your life, versus what is absent and scarce. Invite gratitude into any moment with the simple question: what do I appreciate at this moment?
This might look like shifting from worrying about food to feeling grateful for having access to food. Thoughts of gratitude will bring feelings of gratitude. Notice when you feel the shift.
5. Come back to what you know to be true.
At the end of the day, you can always re-align with what you know in your heart to be true. Everyone has good and bad days. On a good day, write out the positive beliefs you have about yourself. Reflect on your strengths, values, and successes. Write about your unique qualities and gifts that you bring into the world. Compile this into a list of positive belief statements that ring true for you. Then, the next time you can’t break a negative thought pattern, re-read your list to re-align with your truth.
There you have it, my 5 practices for a positive self-talk script that will stop you from self-sabotage. What’s one action step that you can take from this post? Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram.