Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Are you encountering mental roadblocks that get in the way of you improving your relationship with food? Or having an effect on bettering your body image?
Well, you might find that some of your thought patterns are actually limiting beliefs. Let me tell you more:
What are limiting beliefs you ask?! Well, they are a false belief or a story we tell ourselves, that tends to get in the way of pursuing our goals or desire for betterment by disempowering us, and creating uncertainty in our own abilities or likelihood of succeeding.
Below are 5 different limiting beliefs that may be similar to what you’ve encountered when trying to better your relationship with food and/or your body:
1 – “I can’t keep chocolate in the house, or else I’ll eat it all!”
2 – “I need to lose weight in order to feel more confident/book that holiday/wear that outfit”
3 – “If I listen to my body and eat what I’m craving, I’d never eat anything healthy and end up living off pizza!”
4 – “I’ll never be able to stop binge eating, I’ve done it all my life”
5 – “Being hard on myself will motivate me to work harder – if I let myself eat what I want or skip the gym I’ll be lazy forever!”
Do any of those sound familiar? Our brains are hard-wired to lean towards confirmation bias (the tendency to search for and recall information in a way that confirms or supports your pre-existing beliefs or values). The more you feed these negative thought patterns, the more you’re going to act in alignment with confirming these thoughts.
The key to changing your beliefs and knocking down that mental roadblock is to challenge the validity of these thought patterns. Some questions to ask yourself along the way (you might even want to use these as journal prompts) are:
- Where/who did this belief come from, or what’s my earliest memory of hearing/believing it?
- How true is this belief/does it actually apply to my circumstances?
- By holding on to this belief, what positives might I be missing out on?
- By letting go of this belief, what am I scared will happen?
- Is this belief an all-or-nothing/extremely black and white view? What might be a grey area in the middle as another possible alternative?
Let’s unpack – “I can’t keep chocolate in the house, or else I’ll eat it all!”
How true is this? Do you eat the entire block of chocolate every single time you start, or have there been times in the past where you’ve felt satisfied with less? See if you can think of some examples of when this has not been the case, even if it’s a while ago.
- What do you think is the reason you currently struggle to stop eating chocolate once you start?
- Is it because at the moment, you think about it alllll week and hold yourself back, and the moment you open the floodgates and let yourself have a few squares, you suddenly find yourself eating the whole block before vowing to be “good” again tomorrow?
If you let go of the belief and allow yourself to have chocolate every day for a week, do you think it’s a 100% chance you’d still want to eat a whole block every time, or is it possible you might eventually get sick of it or be satisfied with a smaller amount?
It can be tough to challenge beliefs that you’ve held for some time, especially when it’s tied to a strong fear of weight gain, or lack of trust in your body’s cues. However, if you truly listened to your body, and I don’t mean that once-off craving, but as an ongoing attunement, it’s likely that it would eventually not be so all-or-nothing.
When you actually give yourself FULL permission to eat the foods you love without the promise of restricting it again the next day/week, it becomes less urgent/obsessive. You can then start to really get a feel for what amount genuinely feels good for you, knowing you can come back and eat more any other day, if you want to, as well as checking in with what other foods you want to include in your diet that help you feel your best, physically and mentally.
This is just one example, and you can go into more detail based on your own thoughts + limiting beliefs, but I’d encourage you to start challenging some of those stories you’ve told yourself that are holding you back – if you want help with this, feel free to reach out and I’d love to guide you through it!
I hope this can help you along your journey!
“Don’t let your mind bully your body.”– June Tomaso Wood