Banishing Negative Mindsets
Ever since the day I became ashamed of my physical appearance, I've spent countless days beating myself up over eating too much. Thankfully, these days are way more spread out from each other than they used to be, but they still definitely do occur.
As I write this, I am a bit uncomfortably full. I cannot stop thinking about what I've eaten so far today, if I have been "healthy," if I worked out enough... and once I get in my head, I have a really difficult time getting out (just ask anyone I know). But regardless of these questions running through my mind, regardless of their answers, I have to take a step back and remember that this is completely normal and that next time, I should just be a bit more mindful when I eat.
There is no denying that these past few weeks I have been a bit "off track" when it comes to healthy eating. This is not to say that I haven't been eating well- I honestly think I have been eating better than I have in a long time and truly enjoying it for once because I've been making what I love and crave- but rather that I have been eating just a bit too much at certain moments.
For example, before I go to bed, I always always always crave toaster waffles. Now, I prefer the whole wheat kind, even though my parents tell me they taste like cardboard. Well, then, I guess I like cardboard. Anyway, I have started to eat one before I go to bed, sometimes even when I am still satisfied from the food I ate for dinner. When this happens, I end up beating myself up because I momentarily feel full and visions of lingering carbs dance in my head.
I am tired of beating myself up for eating one little toaster waffle before I go to sleep! I crave it, and isn't that better than depriving myself and cutting it out of my life entirely? Yes! A million times yes! I am not over eating either, just eating one waffle. But, that doesn't mean I can't continue to practice mindfulness and ask myself if I really am desirous of a waffle in that moment.
So why do I beat myself up? Because I am human and when I feel full and see a bloated tummy, it is so hard to not think something is wrong. I immediately wonder whether I have reversed my hard work and if my healthy eating just went down the drain. But that's not true! One waffle is not going to ruin my life! One ice cream sundae won't either. Or fries. Or hamburger. Or anything.
We have to learn to balance- I am still learning, and I am getting so much better at it, but isn't it crazy how one little thing can throw us over the edge at times? How one toaster waffle can make me question everything I have done and how far I have come?
When I feel a bit full, it may be because I go to bed right after nibbling on something. But when I wake up in the morning, I look no different than I did from the morning before. Or the morning before that. I haven't automatically gained twenty pounds. And the days that it looks like I have? Well, that's natural too. Your body isn't going to dramatically gain weight over the course of one evening. Water retention, salt retention… there are so many different reasons why it may look like you have gained weight, but that is not the case.
Whenever I feel upset with myself and start beating myself up, I take out my journal, text a friend, or write a post on this site and remind myself of the amazing things I have done. For me, journaling makes me feel ten times better. It allows me to take a step back, figure out why I am so upset, and remember why I am so awesome. Many of these posts were written in response to negative mindsets I have momentarily had and they have truly helped me move forward.
So I am going to enjoy my toaster waffle. I am going to remain mindful through all my meals and snacks during the day, allowing myself to stop when I am full and not feel guilt if I leave any on my plate- another eating habit we are taught to feel ashamed of (um, hello, leftovers?). I will not pressure myself to skip a meal or snack if I am hungry because of an idealized image, and I will not eat something I do not want to eat, just because others are. I will be my true and authentic self and eat all the bland, cardboard, toaster waffles that my body craves! Say it with me! (key takeaway: listen to your body and try not to beat yourself up!)
What do you do when you get stuck in a negative mindset? Let’s start a community- leave your answers below and hopefully we can inspire one another to leave self-doubt behind.