When I started my post-pregnancy weight loss journey, there were a lot of thoughts that I needed to change. In particular, one of those changes was my view of “treats”. By treats I mean, sweets of all kinds. Chocolate, cake, pie, cheesecake…pretty much anything that is a calorie explosion ready to happen.
From a very young age, I believed that I was bad for wanting a treat. I know it may sound strange to connect being bad with a treat but these are the thoughts that often make weight loss or change so challenging. I was a very overweight child and my parents made it very clear that I shouldn’t eat the same things as my not overweight older brother. This is absolutely at no fault to them. In their way, they were doing what they thought was best for me.
However, my parents didn’t realize that this approach was cultivating my relationship with food. Eating treats became a guilty pleasure for me. Truth be told, it became a “f**k you” approach that I had no idea I was doing. When my parents denied me access to a certain food or told me I could only have a limited amount, I would find a way to eat it and then some.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally realized what I was doing. I finally truly understood how my childhood had impacted my view of food. There was actually a specific moment while I was chatting with a friend, when this realization dawned on me. It took my entire childhood and 20’s to realize how I had been sabotaging myself. What was wilder to me, was that it had actually taken me that long to take a step back and see what I had been doing. At that moment, I made an aware decision to change the way I viewed food.
Instead of eliminating treats from my diet (as I had tried in my past), I decided that I needed to reframe my thoughts and change my perspective. As a counselor, I had learned about this idea and decided to dive in deeper. Psychology today has many posts dedicated to reframing the mind. This one in particular struck a chord with me since my weightloss and self-acceptance began the moment I decided to see myself differently.
So how does the reframing begin?
It starts with taking your current thoughts or feelings about something or a situation and placing in a new thought or feeling. For example, when it came to my view of treats I had to redefine how I felt.
Old thoughts: I am bad for wanting this…I have to eat it all otherwise there will not be another opportunity.
New thoughts: I am neither good or bad for wanting this. There is always more, eat what feels right.
I had to stop the mental battle that I had going on between my thoughts and the food itself. Growing up, eating a sweet item was almost always associated with guilt. This guilt meant that I was bad, I wasn’t being healthy, I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t care and I wasn’t/wouldn’t be lovable enough for anyone.
I believe it’s safe to say, that in some form, we have all dealt with this kind of negative thinking. These are the types of ideas and feelings that often hold us back from changing in any way. Unfortunately, like me, many of us don’t even realize the way our mind is processing our experiences. This makes it even harder to become the people we want to be.
Making this mental shift takes reinforcing. I had to remind myself that a treat was meant to be fun and that I could feel good while eating it. I had to remind myself that eating too much of something sweet (or anything for that matter) never actually felt fun because of the way my body felt afterwards. I even started thinking of my favorite fruit as a treat. It felt empowering to make decisions for myself based on love and acceptance rather than guilt and turmoil.
After doing this time and time again, I gradually stopped needing a treat and instead started to eat according to what felt right. Now, I feel completely comfortable saying no or yes to all sweets without the nagging feeling of guilt. I no longer feel bad about my decisions because my view of food and my body has changed. I finally know how much and how often feels good.
Give yourself a mental hug and know that you too can reframe your thoughts. You are deserving, you are loveable and you can become the person you want to be.
Comment “yes” below if you are ready to release the guilt and start empowering yourself.