Every day we deserve to have a new chance.
It is our human nature to bemoan the past and all of our mistakes.
When we berate ourselves about our past behavior it can actually worsen eating behavior! (1)
And when we feel bad about ourselves and our past choices, this can lead to less control over our eating. (2)
How often have you thought to yourself,
“Ugh, I can’t believe I ate that! What was I thinking?”
“I’m so disgusted with myself. Why can’t I just say no? What is wrong with me?”
Or something along those lines.
It’s not our fault, we are hardwired to dwell on the negative and worry about consequences. (3)
That is what kept us safe back in the day.
But in our modern world, really no good comes from sitting around blaming ourselves for “bad behavior.”
I’ve developed a quick and easy mental strategy for dealing with the guilt, shame, or regret about the day before.
It’s a mindfulness technique that I use to put things in perspective and refocus on what I want to accomplish.
You can ask yourself 4 simple questions that will help you process out what happened and look forward to new beginnings.
And they are:
- What did I do that was “wrong”? (this can be modified to “What did I do that I would like to do differently next time?”). This line of thinking allows you to acknowledge and take responsibility for what you did. If we ignore it how can we change? It’s best to face it head-on and quickly forgive ourselves. You can follow this with a short sentence. “I accept and love myself exactly as I am.”
- What did I do that was “right”? (this can be modified to “What did I do that I would like to do more of?”). This line of questioning helps you celebrate your WINS. Take some time to recall and savor ALL of the positive things you did for your health.
- What am I afraid of? This line of questioning brings you right to the cruz of the matter. This is usually the deep reason behind your “why”. This is powerful stuff. The more you accept and face your fears, the less power they hold over you.
- What am I looking forward to? Now it’s time to get excited! What is your “why”? Why do you care about your health? Focus on your goals and allow yourself to tell the story you want to hear.
Those are 4 easy-to-remember questions you can ask yourself every morning to right the ship.
I’ll give you a made-up example.
Q: “What did I do that was wrong?”
A: “I ate too much cake.”
Q: “What did I do right?”
A: “I walked 4 miles, cleaned the house, spent some time relaxing, and went to bed early.” AND “I didn’t eat ice cream with the cake.”
Q: “What am I afraid of?”
A: “I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that I will be alone because my body is not attractive”
Q: “What am I looking forward to?”
A: “I’m looking forward to figuring this out.” and “I’m looking forward to another chance to eat well today.” and “I’m looking forward to reaching my goal.”
I’ve found this process only takes me about 1-2 minutes to go through in my head and it ALWAYS makes me feel better.
It has been shown that mindfulness is one powerful way to dial down that fear/anxiety response that we are hardwired for.
This exercise can help you bring mindfulness to the situation, remind you of what’s important to you, and give yourself credit for all that you are doing right.
And hopefully, to help you start the day fresh, with no regrets, ready to expand and grow.
If you are sick and tired of yo-yo dieting and want to find out what might be the next best steps for you, I invite you to schedule a free strategy call with me. Just click the link below.
- Serpell L, Amey R, Kamboj SK. The role of self-compassion and self-criticism in binge eating behaviour. Appetite. 2020 Jan 1;144:104470. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104470. Epub 2019 Oct 3. PMID: 31586596.
- Duarte C, Matos M, Stubbs RJ, et al. The Impact of Shame, Self-Criticism and Social Rank on Eating Behaviours in Overweight and Obese Women Participating in a Weight Management Programme. PLoS One. 2017;12(1):e0167571. Published 2017 Jan 20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167571