Developing a healthy relationship with food goes far beyond what you’re putting on your plate.
For many women, nutrition struggles begin before they even take a bite. Your thoughts about food impact your relationship with food, so part of finding food freedom means fixing your food mindset.
Today we’ll take some time to develop awareness of your thoughts without judgement. Recognizing how you feel about food right now is the first step to changing your food mindset for the better.
Your thoughts include the set of ideas, beliefs and opinions you hold about the world around you. After years of dieting, many woman experience cognitive distortions–they perceive reality inaccurately and in unhelpful ways.
For many women, ideas about food, weight and fitness are skewed. These distorted thought patterns create irrational expectations about the consequences of eating and not eating.
Below you’ll find a list of distorted thought patterns that indicate an unhealthy food mindset. As long as you allow your thoughts to align with these negative habits, you will not be able to develop a trusting relationship with yourself. You cannot have a true healthy relationship with food without changing your food mindset.
These thinking patterns and habits often are said to reinforce negative thoughts or emotions and if not challenged, this wrong thinking impacts many of your behaviors, including eating and your relationship to to food.
Changing Your Food Mindset: 9 Signs You Need to Re-Think Your Thinking About Food
Food Mindset Mistake #1: All or nothing thinking
You perceive things in black-or-white categories. If a situation proves anything less than perfect, you see it as total failure.
- Negative thought example: “I’ve eaten it; therefore, I’ve blown it.”
Food Mindset Mistake #2: Overgeneralization
You see a single event as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using the words “always” and/or “never” when you think about it.
- Negative thought example: “I will never get better. I will always have an unhealthy relationship with food.”
Food Mindset Mistake #3: Mental filter
You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively.
- Negative thought example: “I ate a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner but over did dessert. I’m a failure.”
Food Mindset Mistake #4: Discounting the positive
You reject positive experiences by insisting they don’t count. If you do a good job, you tell yourself that anyone could have done as well.
- Negative thought example: “After 3 days of eating well, I binged again. I am hopeless.
Food Mindset Mistake #5: Magnification
You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize your desirable qualities. Also called falling victim to “the binocular trick.”
- Negative thought example: “I consistently followed through with my workouts all month and fueled my body well, but on Wednesday I ate from my emotional rather than physical hunger. I’ll never reach my fitness goals.”
Food Mindset Mistake #6: Emotional reasoning
You assume your negative emotions reflect reality. Coincidentally, you continue to focus on these negative emotions instead of your positive actions.
- Negative thought example: “Things will never get better. I’ll always struggle with food.”
Food Mindset Mistake #7: Should statements
You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. Many people try to motivate themselves with should’s and shouldn’ts. But this mindset acts as if punishment can lead to success. IT DOES NOT!
- Negative thought example: “I should exercise for X amount of time every day and should never eat Y.”
Food Mindset Mistake #8: Labeling
This extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking makes women label themselves as failures and losers. Instead of allowing for mistakes, you attach negative, absolute labels to yourself.
- Negative thought example: “I am a failure.”
Food Mindset Mistake #9: Personalization and blame
You hold yourself personally responsible for events that aren’t entirely under your control.
- Negative thought example: “If only I had been a better daughter, my dad wouldn’t have had a heart attack”
Can you relate to any of the distorted thinking patterns mentioned above? If so, consider diving deeper into this topic of food freedom and developing a healthier relationship with food.
Challenge: When you notice a negative thought, address and reframe the negative thinking into positive thoughts about food. Noticing the patterns used and choosing not to act on them or, better yet, to replace them with more positive or realistic ways of thinking, puts you one step closer towards a healthier food mindset!
P.S. It’s time that we change unproductive behaviors and DITCH the DIET once and for all!
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