We hear it all the time from friends, family and co-workers telling us there is power in “positive thinking.” And when you’re dieting and trying to reach your weight loss goal, thinking positive is great advice. It helps keep us upbeat when our goal seems far away and helps us to envision how good we’re going to feel when we reach a healthy weight.
Positive thinking leads to a positive attitude, and when making a major life change, we need to have a good mental outlook.
But you don’t hear much about how to manage your weight loss with “negative thinking.” This mindset can be a powerful tool in our weight loss arsenal to help keep us motivated and strong willed.
After I was diagnosed with non-diabetic insulin resistance as one of the main causes behind my trouble losing weight, I asked Dr. Sam what sort of diet I should be on. He gave me some fairly general guidelines, allowing me the latitude to make my own menus and food plans. But one guideline he gave me was the hardest to wrap my head around: No starches and no carb-heavy foods.
That meant I would have to give up bread, rice, potatoes, chips, pretzels, candy, sugary pop and a whole list of other foods that, let’s face it, are really great to eat and snack on. And the carbs I did allow myself to have had to come only from vegetables and low sugar fruits. But when you’re diagnosed with insulin resistance, high carb foods are completely counter to the medication you’re taking and will push back against all your diet and exercise plans.
The first few days after I gave up carbs were terrible! I felt deprived and angry. It felt unfair, especially watching other people around me enjoying “normal” foods without a care in the world.
But then I had a realization about how I needed to change my attitude about carbs, an attitude which would put some perspective on my new reality: an obese man with a dangerous disease that could kill me if left uncontrolled.
I needed to have a negative attitude about high carb foods and see them for what they truly were to me – TOXIC. I resolved to think about high-carb foods in exactly those terms.
From that point on, every time I saw a basket of bread, cake, pie or loaded baked potato, I thought to myself, “That’s toxic… if you eat that stuff, it’s as deadly to you as eating rat poison. Don’t do it!”
It may sound harsh to think like that, but it was also a very empowering. It allowed me to quickly push away temptations to snack on chips, or eat candy, or even think about making a sandwich with bread. It made those foods feel dangerous and risky to eat, which they are when you’re trying to control your blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Every meal I ate with no high carbs made it easier to eat my next meal without heavy starchy foods. Every day that went by that I succeeded in keeping my total carbs low, it became easier and easier, until I didn’t even think of carb-rich foods as anything I would want to eat regularly.
It’s not easy to live a low carb life in a world filled with high carb foods, but with the right negative attitude, you can put those carb-heavy foods in their place and give yourself the power to control what you eat and how you manage the food choices you make.
Have feedback or questions for me on how to manage your weight loss with negative thinking? Share in the comments.