Emotional eating is an unhealthy (and ineffective) coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. To heal emotional eating, we need to learn healthy and effective tools to help us cope. One useful tool is positive self-talk – positive affirmations to shift your mindset. These positive affirmations can manage negative emotions, boost self-confidence and improve body image, which can heal your relationship with your body and with food.
Most people don’t realize it, but we constantly have an inner dialogue as we go about our daily lives. Our inner voice or ‘self-talk’ includes our conscious thoughts as well as our unconscious beliefs. Some people are naturally more optimistic, while others tend to think more negatively. If you struggle with body image or self-esteem issues, then chances are your self-talk is often negative. Even if you aren’t aware of this now, with practice, you will learn to recognize negative self-talk when it happens.
Why Negative Self-Talk is Harmful
Think of a child or young person that you care about – whether its your own kid or someone you know (or even a young version of yourself). Imagine they are upset. How do you speak to them? Most likely you would speak to them in a loving and kind way. You would be gentle and understanding. You would never set conditions around your love for them or say overly critical things to them.
Now think of how you speak to yourself. Are your words gentle and encouraging? Are you critical of your body? Are you giving yourself the love you deserve – just like you give to others you care for? If you continue to let yourself have negative and self-destructive thoughts, you’re developing and holding onto toxic conscious and unconscious beliefs that keep you in a negative mindset.
If you can master positive self-talk, you will change your negative mindset which can help you achieve inner peace with your emotions, your body, and with food.
Challenge the Self-Talk
To challenge negative self-talk, we first need to recognize when it happens. Most likely, our negative thoughts are more prominent when we find ourselves feeling angry, stressed, anxious or depressed. Use these feelings to reflect on your thoughts.
Are these thoughts true? Is there another way to look at the situation? Is there anything good to focus on? Can I learn from this?
Asking these questions can help you recognize your negative self talk and give you the opportunity to replace it with positive self-talk! With practice, you may even recognize the exaggeration or inaccuracy of your negative self-talk.
Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive Affirmations
Take a look at the chart below for some ideas on how you can change your inner dialogue:
Remember that building up your self-confidence and relationship with yourself takes time. Practice being aware of how you are thinking about yourself and your body. When you catch yourself with a negative thought, challenge it with a positive affirmation. Repeat these positive affirmations over and over again – until you start to believe them! Over time, you will start to see a shift from negative to more positive thinking. Having a more positive mindset will have huge benefits for your relationship with body and your relationship with food!