I’ve been there: trying over and over again to adopt a healthy lifestyle and ultimately just going back to where you started or worse, binging like crazy. Then the guilt and shame sweep in, causing you to feel like a lost cause and some sort of failure for never being able to stick to healthy habits. Getting healthy can be a serious challenge.
There are COUNTLESS blog posts and articles out there about the “how-to” of healthy habits, but I want to look at it a different way. That’s why I compiled this list of 15 new thoughts you can “try on” when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. What do I mean by “try on”? Just that.
I believe that every result in our lives is caused directly from our thoughts. Things that happen to us don’t determine our destiny; we do, and it all starts with what’s up there in our brain. So when you want to do something you’ve never done before, you have to try on some new thoughts you may not have thought before. Here are some that you can try.
They may not all work for you. One or two may resonate with you more than the others, or you may like all of them (just like trying on clothes–I have an entire blog post based on this analogy). It doesn’t matter: just pick the ones you like and that feel good to you, and leave the rest.
1. I’m working on eating healthy.
This one is SO helpful for when you’re first starting out. It’s a way better thought than getting down on yourself for going off of your eating plan. When you eat something that you didn’t plan on, don’t get down on yourself. It’s a journey and a process. Simply resume your plan and keep working at it. It takes practice just like anything else.
2. I wonder if I’m wrong about myself. Maybe I CAN do this.
A common thought that always pops up for me when I’m in the middle of a workout or when a craving hits is, “I can’t do this.” It’s so decisive and blunt.
But sometimes trying to tell myself “I CAN do this” just isn’t believable to my brain when I’m in the thick of it. So instead I choose this thought as kind of a middle ground. I really question the thought, “I can’t do this” by wondering to myself if that’s true or not.
Usually it’s not true at all.
3. I bet there’s a way I can figure this out.
This one is really similar to the last one. This thought creates curiosity and determination instead of defeat and hopelessness.
Trust me, your brain is TOTALLY capable of figuring things out. If something you’re doing now isn’t working, turn your creativity and curiosity on and fix it so that it DOES work.
There’s no one right way, and you’ll find the way that works for you. Trust in that.
4. The number on the scale is just a number. It doesn’t define me, and I don’t have to make it mean terrible things about myself.
Literally, the number that pops up on the scale is JUST the measure of the Earth’s gravitational pull against you. YOU are the one who adds meaning to it, either good or bad, by what you’re thinking.
I currently weigh 150. Many/most people would KILL to see that number on the scale. In the past, though, I would have made it mean that I still had 25 pounds to lose to get to my goal weight and “I can’t believe I weigh THAT MUCH!”
Using this example we can clearly see; weight is just a number. We are the ones that make it mean something terrible about ourselves.
5. I have a body. My body works.
I love this one. Most people that are used to hating on themselves and their body when they look in the mirror can’t go from doing that to “I love my body just the way it is!”. It’s just not believable to them yet. So again, here’s another neutral thought that at least helps you stay away from thinking negatively about your body.
6. I just haven’t found healthy recipes that I LOVE yet.
One of the most common things I think we all struggle with is thoughts like, “Healthy food tastes nasty. I just don’t like vegetables. I’ve never eaten them before now and my taste buds just HATE them.”
Trust me, there are literally hundreds of THOUSANDS of healthy recipes online. There are also a ton of different types of vegetables and fruits. Keep trying until you find the methods/recipes/foods that taste great to YOU.
You don’t HAVE to eat salads all the time–I don’t! Salads are not my favorite unless I order them at a restaurant. I like my veggies steamed or roasted most of the time.
You’ll find a way to make that healthy food taste amazing. You will.
7. This is really simple. I always know what to do, what to eat, and how to exercise. And if I don’t, I can find out.
One of the WORST thoughts, and also one of the most common ones, is “This is SO HARD.”
That thought is your brain trying to talk you out of things.
Our brains seek pleasure and avoid pain as a survival instinct. But we are surrounded by pleasure, and very rarely feel pain.
Your brain thinks that if you keep going with this new healthy plan, you’ll die. So I like this thought because it counteracts my lower brain and kicks the higher brain into gear. Again, we have the internet: the collective brain/knowledge of all humanity at our fingertips.
Plus you have an amazing brain. It’s capable of coming up with your own ideas, if you allow it to become creative enough.
You can ALWAYS find solutions, and the mechanics of a healthy diet and exercise are actually pretty simple when you take all the drama (thoughts like “This is so hard!”) out of it.
8. I want to keep going until this isn’t hard. Someday all of this will be easy for me.
One of my favorite things about exercising is that as I stay consistent, I can literally see and feel my body get stronger by noticing as exercises get easier. Any runner will tell you the same thing. It’s
hard as CRAP a challenge at first, but then your amazing body adapts to the new routine.
Believe in this thought, because it’s one of the truest ones out there: our bodies are made to adapt, and when they do, things get easier. Consistency with healthy eating also gets easier. It gets to a point eventually where you don’t even have to think about it, I promise.
9. I don’t actually want that (insert your favorite treat here).
I know, I know, you FEEL like you want it really REALLY BADLY.
But think about your goals–your reason why you’re doing all this. Maybe it’s because your doctor advised you to do it for your health. Maybe you want to have more energy to play with your kids. Maybe you want to be able to be active your whole life so that when you want to go on adventures, you can at any age.
If any of these are the case, then you actually do NOT want that treat. You want the rewards and the results that will come from consistency more.
Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not anti-treats. But I believe in specifically planning treats ahead of time, not caving to cravings whenever a treat crosses your path.
10. I am not afraid to feel my own feelings. I don’t need to buffer them with food.
Something that MANY of us (me included) do is eat away our feelings. Otherwise known as “emotional eating”, this practice leads to serious physical and mental health problems.
Again, our brains seek out pleasure and avoid pain, but in this day and age, we’re actually harming ourselves because this is so out of balance.
It’s actually really healthy to feel and process negative emotion. Those negative emotions are just as much a part of you as your positive ones, and resisting them or buffering them with food isn’t the answer. Don’t be afraid to feel.
All feelings are just chemical reactions in your body, and you can handle that.
I wrote a whole blog post on how to process negative emotions. Check it out!
11. I can eat ANYTHING I want. I am not restricted. I always have a choice. But I’m choosing not to eat that treat right now.
Many people have spent years dieting on and off. The problem with this mentality is that it promotes scarcity. And our brains are onto us. Hard.
The brain knows what it looks and feels like to be on a diet, and it doesn’t like it. So I LOVE this thought because it helps to kick that “diet mentality” of “I can’t have that.”
You are a human being with the power to choose and you can eat anything you want, any time you want. Therefore, you are always in control. You’re not at the mercy of circumstance, your diet, or your emotions.
It is difficult at first, but don’t look at certain foods and think (bummed out), “I can’t have that.” That thought will lead you to binge later on.
Tell yourself, “I can have that if I want, but right now I’m choosing to have some fruit instead.” It’s a WAY better thought to approach healthy eating with.
12. There are MANY more ways to experience life to the fullest that don’t involve food.
What’s the most common thing I hear people (and myself) say they hate about eating healthy? The feeling of deprivation.
We feel like we’re missing out on things and not living life to the fullest if we can’t enjoy a dessert with friends. Let me be really clear: I DO put desserts with friends or family directly into my eating plan, but I plan them AHEAD OF TIME.
If my husband randomly brings me home a pint of ice cream, I say, “Thank you so much! I freaking love you for this, you’re so thoughtful.” And then I put that ice cream in the freezer until the time I planned ahead for to have my treat.
Living life to the fullest can mean SO many different things that don’t have anything to do with food. In fact, when I over-indulge in junk food, then I’m not free to live life to the fullest because I’m sluggish, tired, and sad most of the time.
Really enjoy your desserts or your comfort foods, but then go out and enjoy the rest of your life. Don’t make it revolve around food.
Go on an adventure. Take your kids out on a date. Take a vacation to somewhere you’ve never seen (even if it’s the town an hour away). Read a really good book. Go help someone. These are just a fraction of ideas of ways you can live life to the fullest.
13. I LOVE seeing what my body can do. I continue to ask it to grow stronger by exercising because the more I see what it can do, the more empowered I become.
This thought is similar to thought #8.
If you exercise consistently, you will literally feel yourself getting stronger, and it’s freaking empowering. It’s one of the best feelings; knowing that you came up against something hard and you conquered.
14. My body wants that junk food because it thinks it’s going to die. But as long as I am following my healthy eating plan, my body has all the nutrients that it needs.
There may be times, especially at first, while your body is adjusting to the new normal, that you feel hungry. I TOTALLY get it. It doesn’t mean that you’re not legitimately hungry, but it also doesn’t mean that you ARE legitimately hungry either. Sometimes the withdrawal you experience from going from eating junk food all day to eating whole foods at certain times can be mistaken for hunger.
Your body is used to the old way and it’s trying to get you to eat. I am not a proponent of going hungry or starving yourself, though. NEVER do that.
That’s why I will always tell you to create your eating plan with someone who knows what they’re talking about nutrition-wise. ( Like me 😉 Shameless plug.)
That way, if you’re eating according to your plan, but you’re still feeling hungry, you can assure yourself that you know you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
15. I am enough. I love myself now. Because I love myself and am happy with me, I want to treat myself like the queen that I am.
This last thought I’m offering is one that I hope each one of you who reads this will adopt.
Don’t try to lose weight in order to love or approve of yourself finally. Learn to love yourself NOW.
I can tell you first hand that if you don’t love yourself now, you’re sure as hell not going to love yourself when you lose all the weight.
Eat right and exercise because you LOVE the CRAP out of yourself. It seems like such a small change, but it makes a world of difference. I’m willing to bet that the main reason all your other attempts at getting healthy have failed in part because you didn’t start with love.
And maybe at first, it feels forced or you have to choose thoughts more like thought # 5, but however you need to get there, get there. You will continue to spin your wheels until you do.
You deserve the best right now, because you are good enough and you should treasure yourself.
I hope these thoughts give you some ideas about how you can take your life to the next level health-wise. I hope they make you look at adopting a healthy lifestyle in a different and better way. Most of all, if you really want to do this, I hope you’ll reach out to me, because I’m an expert at thought work, and I can help you work through all your emotions as they come up. Check out my “Work With Me” page and let’s set up a free mini session.
Getting healthy doesn’t have to keep being the thing that you believe you’ll never achieve. Try on some new thoughts and see what I mean. 🙂