You have the best of intentions. But let’s be real. You may want to eat healthy food, get some exercise, and make a fresh start. Soon, though, maybe even as soon as the very next time you’re as hungry as a wolf, a self-defeating, critical, nasty voice in your head, which we will call your “Evil Twin,” is likely to say, “To hell with this.”
“Forget it,” it says.
Or, “You know this isn’t going to work.”
Or, “You’ve had a crappy day – you deserve a burger and fries.”
Or, “Maybe you’ll be able to do this when the stress in your life is over.”
For us, the most important and meaningful change has not been ridding ourselves of excess weight, but rather it has been ridding ourselves of the self-loathing tape that was on a continuous loop inside our heads. Please stop holding on to the negative things that you say about yourself. Negativity got you to this point, distorts how you value yourself, and prevents you from making permanent changes in the right direction.
Here's something that's even more important about negative thoughts: they’re usually not even true. When you tell yourself you’re undisciplined or unworthy or unable to change, we’ll bet anything that you’re not telling yourself the truth. Your Evil Twin is not telling you the truth and is not your friend. It only knows how to tell you all of the reasons why you can’t become a better version of yourself. Your Evil Twin is a threat to your success, but only if you give it permission!
So how exactly do you go about denying it permission? Have you ever been in an argument where someone says something offensive and your mind goes blank, only to have the perfect comeback come to mind later that day? We want you to have those comebacks ready now, so that you’ll be prepared the next time your Evil Twin tries to sabotage your efforts. What do you say to the self-defeating voice in your head?
Janice—Here’s my list of retorts:
- No matter what I’m feeling, chocolate is not going to make it better.
- By not giving in to the lure of that cookie, I’m going to feel so damn good about myself.
- I may be having a bad day, but eating crap will just make a bad day worse, and I’d rather do something that will truly make the day better.
- You, Evil Twin, are not a trustworthy source. You’re a liar.
Jay—Here’s my list:
- To hell with this? No! To hell with being fat and hating myself.
- I’m not going to give space for the mean voices in my head anymore.
- I am more than this piece of food.
- I did not get fat overnight, and I will not get healthy overnight either. This takes patience and commitment, and I know that I will see and feel the results.
- Food is fuel. I am not going to give it emotional power.
- There are enough unkind people in the world. I do not need to be my own bully.
So please take the time to make your own list of retorts. We recommend writing down your list. Use the list when you need a little boost to remind yourself. By the way, notice that we are responding to the Evil Twin with confidence and resolve, not self-loathing and defeat. This response represents a significant cognitive change in how we have talked to ourselves in the past. It represents a paradigm shift, i.e., a dramatic change away from the assumptions that we have held and a move toward new ways of thinking. Paradigm shifts will be the subject of a post in the near future.