Nutrition Health Review


Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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Page 17 of 27

S elf-talk is what goes on inside your head automatically. What you say to yourself will either put you in control of your life or give you a passive role in your own health and success achieving your lifestyle goals. Controlling your self-talk is key to sticking with your New Year's resolution. Most people are unaware of the conversation that goes on inside their own heads all day, every day, and are, therefore, unaware of the great effect it has on how they feel and act. In order to control your self-talk, you must first become aware of its existence. Here you'll learn how self talk can be used to help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Let's look at some examples. LISTENING TO THE ExCuSES When it comes to behavior modification, self-talk can determine success or failure. People start a diet, exercise, or smoking cessation program full of hope and motivation, but often that determination disappears by the third or fourth day. The culprit is usually self-defeating self-talk. How many times have you been on a diet and said to yourself, "I deserve a treat. I've been good all day." Before you know it, you've eaten something you did not plan to eat. Or how about when you say, "Today was so stressful at work. I just can't face working out tonight. I will do it tomorrow." The self-talk continues to something like, "I've already blown it today, so I'll just start again tomorrow." The next day you find your motivation has greatly decreased and you blow your diet, skip exercise, or smoke a cigarette again. By the following day, you are off your plan completely. The next usual step is to say, "I'll just start again Monday," but when Monday arrives, your motivation has completely disappeared. If this same person had said something like, "I'll exercise for 45 minutes today, and then I can have that treat," or "I know going for a walk will make me feel better than sitting on the couch," that person might not have fallen off the plan. TRY THIS SELF-TALK ACTIvITY Self-talk is not necessarily what we say out loud, but what we think and say to ourselves inside our heads. Try saying something positive to yourself, and you will find that you instantly feel better than when you say something negative to yourself. For example, say, "This is going to be a good day." You will feel better than if you say, "Here comes another terrible day." This internal dialogue takes place constantly, but most of us are not even aware of it and operate on "automatic." Think back to when you learned a new skill, such as using a computer, riding a bicycle, or playing a sport. If you said to yourself, "This is fun. I know I can do it," chances are you did. If you said to yourself, "I'll never be able to do this," chances are you had difficulty. Everyone has self-talk and can learn to control it. It's just a matter of learning to recognize it. (See sidebar on next page on talking to yourself in 3rd person.) A THEORY REGARDING DIET AND ExERCISE Evolutionary psychologists have a theory. Human beings have been around for many thousands of years. For most of the history of our human existence, food was scarce and we learned to eat whenever possible. With the exception of the last few hundred years, people often did not know when they might be able to Nutrition Health Review 18 Self-talk— What is it and how can it help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals? Continued on page 20 *

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