If you start and stop diets, the problem might not be the chips and cookies, it might be this thought crawling around your head.
You can distance yourself from negative people that don’t believe you can stick to your diet.
But what if that negative person is you?
The thoughts you think have the power to propel you to your ideal weight.
Your thoughts also have the power to make you quit your goal right now.
If you want to lose weight, you must learn how to exterminate the Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS) that crawl through your brain…
How negative thoughts destroy motivation centers in the brain
I never stick to a diet.
I am embarrassed about my weight.
I hate dieting.
I can’t do it.
Brain imaging technology shows that negative thoughts, like these, are literally goal killers.
Mark Waldman, who is the author of 13 books, including one on Oprah’s must-read list, conducted brain scans during negative thoughts.
The scans show that the moment you have a negative thought (i.e. fear, worry, doubt, etc.) the fear centers in the back of the brain light up.
At the same time the front of the brain, where you make decisions, get excited about your goals and create your plan of action go dark.
Your brain reacts to negative thoughts as if it is under attack, so it goes into survival mode.
Any center that is not directly related to you staying alive at that moment gets shuts down, including your motivation centers and pleasure centers.
Exterminating ANTS From Your Diet
Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANTS, is a term coined by Dr. Daniel Amen in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
If you are currently trying to lose weight, you might feel some ANTS crawling around your head right now.
Here’s a strategy for getting rid of them before they eat through your goal.
1. Learn to recognize negative thoughts.
Remember, ANTS are automatic thoughts. They appear because you created them based on past failures or negative experiences.
Have you dieted in the past and failed?
Well, your brain remembers that and does not want you to repeat the pain.
So, it is going to try to talk you out of dieting by triggering a negative thought.
It is your brain’s way of protecting you from the discomfort of change.
You will never stick with this diet; you have too far to go.
Did you hear that?
You need to get really good at hearing these negative thoughts.
2. Acknowledge the ANT
This is simple.
Say to yourself,
“Oh, there is that ANT trying to pull me back to my old ways.”
3. Remind yourself why you want to reach your goal.
This is a bit harder than it sounds.
You have to be crystal clear on what it is you want, and understand why you want it.
Going on a diet because you read about it in Reader’s Digest and it sounds doable, is never going to overcome your ANTS.
You need to know how reaching your ideal weight will improve your life. And you have to be able to visualize this down to the smallest detail.
Can you picture yourself walking into your next doctor’s office without fear of bad news?
Can you see yourself rejoicing with your spouse and kids after receiving a clean bill of health?
Can you feel how good it feels to be in control of your health?
Generating these positive thoughts reverses the process we talked about at the beginning, and pull you toward your goal.
When you focus on the positive things that weight loss will bring into your life, your fear centers go dark and the front of your brain lights up, which activates your motivation and pleasure centers.
Weight loss will happen for you. The trick is to get your mind and body working together.
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About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.