Watch Your Language: Positive Self-Talk

As the year winds to a close and many of us are reflecting on the year almost behind us, we want to talk about an important topic comes up often when we’re working with our private practice clients. That topic is self-talk.

The way you talk to yourself, that inner dialogue that happens between you and you all day, everyday, matters. It matters more than you might think. Self-talk affects how you feel about yourself and that in turn affects how you relate to the people and world around you. We hear certain negative diet-related statements repeated so often that they’re normalized to the extent that most of us don’t think they’re damaging to our relationships with food. Here are five we hear most, and simple ways to start to change your inner dialogue to make it more positive.

  1. “I was so bad, I ate XX and XX.” or “I was so good, I ate/didn’t eat XX and XX.”

Instead try: “Certain foods/amounts make me feel really great, and I try to eat those most often. Other foods/amounts don’t make me feel so great and I try to skip those. No food is off limits. I deserve to feel good and I let that be my guide.”

2. “This food is guilt-free.”

Instead try: “I eat food that I enjoy and that makes me feel good. There’s no such thing as guilt-free food because there’s no such thing as guilt-laden food. Food doesn’t carry guilt with it or have the power to make me guilty.”

3. “I can eat that because I’m cheating today.”

Instead try: “I would never cheat my body because it does so much for me. I can eat anything I want to. I eat foods and amounts that make me feel great on a daily basis. Sometimes that’s a plate of veggies, sometimes it’s a plate of fries. I listen to by body and make choices based on what keeps me feeling good consistently.”

4. “I shouldn’t eat that.”

Instead try: “If a food looks great and I’m hungry and I want some, I will have some. If I’m not hungry/not really into the food, I will skip it. I decide.”

5. “I worked out extra this morning so I could eat XX.”

Instead try: “Whether I exercise or not has nothing to do with my food choices and vice versa. I exercise to keep my body strong, my heart healthy, and my mood elevated. I eat to keep my energy level high and stable all day and to make my tastebuds happy.”


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