If you are what you eat, then you are also what you think. In my former career with the US Department of Defense, I studied Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), the science of the effect of language–verbal and non-verbal–on the brain and nervous system. NLP is used for a variety of problems, namely phobias, depression, breaking bad habits, psychosomatic illness, and learning disorders. So what does NLP have to do with weight loss and fitness? I’m glad you asked!
How many times have you caught yourself thinking these thoughts during a workout: Why is this so hard? Why don’t I ever run faster? Why am I running anyway? I’m not an athlete! And I’m not losing weight anyway so what’s the point? These are all examples of negative self-talk. They are nonverbal bullets we all experience. This stream of negativity contributes to self-sabotage. Start observing your own self-talk–both positive and negative. Write down common themes. Here are seven strategies to reprogram your inner dialogue so that you are successful in your fitness, nutrition, and pretty much everything in life!
Squelch it: Inhibit your own ability to self-talk. As soon as you hear the beginning of negative sabotage, squelch it.
Replace it: similar to squelching. Replace one stream of self-talk with another. Such as: I can control my weight and lower it at will. I enjoy exercising. I can improve my health. I am in control of my own body.
Inhibit it: Observe which activities do not require self talk. These activities would most likely be an area of your life where you exhibit confidence such as your career, as a parent, or a hobby.
Negotiate: Using an advanced NLP technique, engage in dialogue with your self playing the devil’s advocate. You will realize you are making excuses and blocking your own success.
Modulate it: Change the manner in which you talk to yourself so that it has a supportive and calming effect. Such as: I love how I feel after running. I am faster than I was a few months ago. I may not finish first but I always finish strong.
Manage it: Decide not to indulge certain trains of thought. When you hear, “I don’t have time to exercise,” think instead: “I don’t want to make time for health problems later as a result of not exercising.”
Own it: Recognize it as something you do. Just like making better food choices, you can do it differently. You can engage in self-talk that will help you succeed. As Bob Harper always says, “Believe in yourself. Trust the process. Watch yourself change.”
Stop drowning in a self-created sea of I can’t and join the ranks of those who want it bad enough and who prove to themselves and everyone around them that they can. Generate positive self-talk or be at the mercy of negative self-talk.