3 Ways To Break Negative Patterns Which Are Limiting Your Weight Loss
If you have ever found yourself self sabotaging, feeling stuck with your weight loss or if you are simply just tired of always ‘trying to lose weight’, this blog post is a must-read. Here, we share 3 ways to break negative patterns, which are limiting your weight loss.
How was your day? We bet it was very similar to yesterday and the day before? After all, we are all creatures of habit and our lives run on a pattern of behaviors made up of our thoughts, words, emotions, and performance. While some of these patterns benefit us, others are not quite so helpful particularly when it comes to weight loss.
The thing with negative patterns is that they are sneaky. Most of the time, we are not even aware of them. They lurk in our subconscious waiting for some type of trigger to spring into action.
That trigger will be different for everyone. Perhaps you have been losing weight, feeling really good about yourself when someone mentions how “a friend had done the diet and gained all the weight again”. This might be your trigger – a fear of having done the work and lost weight only for it all to return. So you begin a pattern of negative behaviour. You might break the diet rationalising that “it isn’t going to work anyway”. This is turn might lead to stopping your daily walk and eating more fast food. Soon your sleep pattern starts to suffer and your mood drops. Before you know it you are right back where you started. A self fulfilling prophecy if you like.
These subconscious programs running in your mind can impact on your ability to be happier in all aspects of your life, not just weight loss. These patterns and programs are so powerful that they can even override your thoughts and cause a disconnect between what your beliefs are and how you actually behave and experience life. This is exactly how you can believe one thing but behave in complete opposition to that belief. Or in other words… how you can really really want to lose weight but continuously break your diet.
So how can you break these negative patterns?
Firstly, recognise and become aware of the pattern
Negative patterns are repetitive, unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. They directly cause what we could describe as ‘negative’ (unwanted or unpleasant) emotions like anxiety, stress, fear, unworthiness, shame etc.
Once we learn to recognise and identify negative thought patterns as they occur, we can start to step back from them. This process of stepping back from thoughts is called ‘cognitive defusion.’ In cognitive defusion we learn to see the thoughts in our head as simply that – just thoughts. Not reality. You see, when we are fused with our thoughts (cognitive fusion) we tend to take our thoughts very seriously. We believe them. We buy into them and we obey them. We let the pattern play out.
When we are not fused with our thoughts – when we can step back into cognitive defusion, then we do not take our thoughts too seriously. We hold them lightly. We only listen to them if we find them valuable or helpful. We certainly don’t take our thoughts to be ‘the truth’ and we don’t automatically obey them or play them out. We see our thoughts as simply bits of language that pass through the mind. We have a choice in how we choose to respond to them.
Replace the negative pattern with a positive pattern that serves your goals.
What if you were to replace the negative pattern with one that actually propelled you towards success? When you recognise a pattern, the pattern starts to lose its control over your actions. This is the perfect time to substitute a negative pattern for a positive one. Rather than hitting a self sabotage pattern, choose a positive pattern instead. Walk a little further, drink more water, engage in Secret Slimmers – our private Facebook group for motivation and support.
Name it and tame it
When you are trapped in negative patterns it can feel hopeless because you often wrestle or argue with the thoughts, or push them away, but research shows that trying to struggle with thoughts in these ways just amplifies. What you resist, persists.
So how do you break the pattern? Here is the first step. It’s a very powerful, simple, tried and tested technique for untangling from thoughts without struggling with them. It’s called the ‘name it to tame it’ technique.
‘Name it to tame it’ is a phrase coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel. Here’s the basics of how ‘name it to tame it’ works:
When an unhelpful pattern (and the associated emotion) arises, you simply mentally ‘label’ the story. You’ve probably noticed many of your thoughts are repetitive and involve the same story lines.
As soon as you name the mental story or pattern, you have now stepped back from being caught up in it. In other words you have initiated cognitive defusion. From a neuroscience perspective, when you name the thoughts you stop being hijacked by them from the negativity they create because you bring the smartest part of your brain online (the frontal cortex). The frontal cortex is reflective and helps you step back and get a greater perspective. You can do the same thing with emotions, naming them to tame them like ‘ahhh anxiety is here’ or ‘oh shame has arrived’.
When naming or labelling your thoughts or emotions, one important tip. Make sure when you mentally label, to do it in a soothing, kind tone of voice. This is important as it helps you to settle and invite compassion and soothing into that moment instead of aggression or struggle. We’re not going to battle with the mind here. We are gently training it into new neural pathways of new patterns. At a biological level, when you ‘name it to tame it’ in a soothing voice you even get a dose of soothing neurotransmitters in the brain. This brings feelings of calm and ease and comfort.
The more you practice these tools, the more they will become like second nature to you. It’s like building a muscle – the more you use them, you become mentally fitter and stronger. In time the old habits are worn away and rather than being preoccupied with negativity, you’ll become more calm, centered and self-aware, leading to better relationships, greater overall happiness and a sense that your life is being fully lived.
At The New You Plan we recognise the importance of breaking negative habits. That’s why we don’t just provide an amazing weight loss product with our Total Food Replacement Plan, we showcase techniques to change habits and behaviours for good. If negative patterns have stalled or sabotaged your weight loss and you would like our help; click here to get started.
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