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The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

Distorted Thinking and Your Weight

We all engage in distorted thinking at times. Distorted thoughts are exaggerated, erroneous or irrational thought patterns that result in us perceiving reality in a negative way. They lead us to believe that something is true when in fact it is not. These are inaccurate thoughts which reinforce, or strengthen, negative emotional states like sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger. They affect how we interpret the events in our lives, and result in us having a negative outlook on ourselves, our lives, and the future.

How we think – about food, weight, and ourselves – can have a significant impact on our eating behavior and, therefore, on our ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Here are some of the most common types of distorted thoughts (or errors in thinking):

Filtering – looking at only one aspect of a situation, to the exclusion of everything else. Example: “I won’t enjoy the vacation because I have to stick to my healthy eating plan”. (Common result: abandoning healthy eating for the duration of the vacation – and beyond.)

Polarized (or “black and white”) thinking – also known as “all or nothing” thinking – seeing everything at the extremes, with no gray zone. Example: “I ate a cookie, so I’ve blown my meal plan for the entire day”. (Common result: unhealthy eating for the rest of the day – and perhaps beyond.)

Overgeneralization – reaching a conclusion based on just one piece of evidence. Example: “I love chocolate, so I’ll never be able to maintain a healthy weight”. (Common result: giving up before trying.)

Emotional reasoning – believing that everything you feel must be true. Example: “I feel worthless, therefore I must be worthless”. (Common result: not believing that you are worth the effort, and so again giving up before trying.)

Discounting positives – ignoring good things that happen. Example: “I stayed on plan all week, but lost only half a pound”. (Common result: becoming discouraged and giving up.)

Blaming – assigning fault. Example: “I have issues with food because my mother is an alcoholic”. (Common result: not looking at your own issues and habits to determine what you could do differently.)

Do you find yourself engaging in any of these thinking styles?

What kind of impact do these kinds of thoughts have on your eating patterns and your ability to maintain a healthy weight? Please share your experience with me and other readers by commenting on this post.

In future posts I’ll be talking about how to combat distorted thinking.

With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.