Dr. Judith Beck (an American psychologist and daughter of Dr Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) identifies nine common thinking traps that will sabotage your weight loss.
They are as follows, with an example of what each trap sounds like:
1. All or nothing thinking
You see things in only two categories and ignore the fact that there is a middle ground.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I’m either successful at losing weight or I’m a failure.”
2. Overly negative future prediction
You predict the future in an overly pessimistic way without considering other possible outcomes.
SOUNDS LIKE: “Since I didn’t lose weight this week, I’ll never be able to lose weight.”
3. Overly positive future prediction
You predict the future in an overly optimistic way without considering other possible outcomes.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I’ll be able to eat these cookies that I’m craving and then stop.”
4. Emotional reasoning
Drawing conclusions about the nature of the world based on your emotional state.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I feel so angry about eating that ice cream — I must really be a failure.”
5. Mind reading
You’re sure you know what others are thinking, and you expect them to know what you’re thinking.
SOUNDS LIKE: ”My co—worker will think I’m rude if I don’t eat that cake she brought for her birthday.”
6. Self-deluding thinking
You rationalise by telling yourself something that you really wouldn’t believe at other times.
SOUNDS LIKE: “If I eat this cake on my birthday, then the calories don’t count.”
7. Rules that don’t help
Mandating actions without taking circumstances into consideration.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I can’t inconvenience my kids by removing all of the junk food in the house.”
You connect unrelated concepts to justify your eating.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I deserve to eat this because I’m tired and stressed out.”
9. Exaggerated thinking
You blow a situation out of proportion.
SOUNDS LIKE: “I have no willpower.”
The key is noticing which traps you fall into, and whether there are any patterns in your thinking. As you get better at doing this, the next step becomes replacing the sabotaging thought with a more helpful one.
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