My book on how self-talk heals our relationship with food and our bodies isn’t due out until 2021, but it’s never too soon to learn healthy self-talk. One way to think of it is whether it’s rational or irrational. Rational means it’s based on fact, evidence, reason and logic. Rational self-talk is sensible, settles you down and supports your goals. Irrational self-talk has no logical or reasonable basis. It’s like a bully. It seems to erupt out of nowhere, then tries to overwhelm you with its ferocious emotional intensity and persistence all the while undermining your goals and stomping on your reason.
To separate irrational from rational self-talk, think of them as trash or treasure. We take out the trash so that it’s gone from our lives. We don’t set it in the middle of the living room and worshipfully live our lives around it. When we treasure something, we hold it close because it means so much to us. Its great value makes us happy and proud.
Here's some trash self-talk about food. Would you give this advice to someone you love—your child or best friend. If not, ditch it. Put it out of your head and onto the curb.
- I have to finish this food.
- I’m not hungry, but I’ll eat this anyway.
- This food tastes so good, I can’t stop eating.
- I already overate, so I might as well continue because the whole day’s ruined.
- I really want this food, so I’ll eat better starting Monday (note my book of this name).
- I don’t care, so I’ll eat this because it tastes great.
Here’s some treasure talk. Recognize why it’s composed of gems. Would it pass the advice-to-loved-one test? Yup, it’s a keeper.
- I can and will stop eating now without finishing what’s on my plate.
- I’m not eating this food because I’m not hungry enough right now.
- This food is delicious but I’m full and satisfied, so I’ll stop eating now.
- It doesn’t matter that I overate. I’ll eat according to appetite for the rest of the day.
- I’ll eat better starting right now.
- Because I care about myself, I won’t eat this right now.
Need more help? Here are more of my blogs on self-talk and eating: https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/go-to-self-talk-that-gets-me-through-everything https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/self-soothing-self-talk-and-self-regulation https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/positive-self-talk-with-a-twist