Have a word with yourself!
“Change your thoughts, and you can change your destiny.” (Anon)
Have you ever had a negative thought about yourself? Perhaps your eating disorder has taken over and nothing anyone tells you seems to be right in your own mind.
Some of our Young Ambassadors and those waiting for Young Ambassador training have come up with some negative thoughts they have had about themselves and have come up with some ideas for turning negative thoughts into positive ones.
If you find any of the comments below ring true, then try repeating the positive comment to yourself until you change your way of thinking to a more positive one. These approaches follow Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques to make your thought process a lot more helpful to your general wellbeing.
Eating disorder thoughts
Negative: I hate my body since I've gained weight.
Positive: I respect and protect my body because my health is important to me.
Negative: Today is going to be such a failure and a disaster, I just know it.
Positive: today is my stepping stone to new awareness and greater glory.
Negative: I can’t do this, I’m always a failure.
Positive: I can do this, it doesn’t matter if I don’t succeed as well as I had hoped and it does not make me a failure. At least I tried, and the more I try, the easier it will get!
Negative: They think I am a fat, worthless person.
Positive: It doesn’t matter what they think of me! I am my own person who is neither fat nor worthless.
Negative: Those successes were easy, so they don’t really count.
Positive: Every success is a valuable step towards recovery.
Negative: Everyone else is more successful than me.
Positive: Not everyone is more successful than me. Perhaps if I ate a little more I would have more energy to do things more successfully and make me feel better.
Negative: What if...I fail/I get fat/I get too anxious from eating?
Positive: I need to banish ‘what if’ thoughts. They are negative and only prevent my recovery.
Negative: Anorexic thoughts are taking over my mind.
Positive: I am allowing these anorexic thoughts to take over my mind.
Negative: I always fail at everything, so there is no point trying to recover.
Positive: I’ll never beat this eating disorder if I don’t try. The more I try, the less likely I am to fail.
Negative: I am losing control. This is terrifying.
Positive: I am in control of my eating disorder, I will not let it beat me. It may be frightening, but I have the support to help me through the fear.
Negative: I had a little slip with my meal plan, I can’t ever do anything right, I’ve got no hope! Positive: I made small isolated mistake, as everyone does. Recovery is a journey, not a destination and I can learn from this and carry on.
Negative: I am fat and greedy and do not deserve to eat what is best for me.
Positive: I am not fat and greedy, that is an irrational generalisation. I have an illness which distorts my body image, I should not trust and pay attention to these thoughts. I need to eat well to be healthy and I deserve to.
Negative: I am really fat.
Positive: I'm not, my ED is just saying I am. I believe my family over you. I am going to go see my friends to distract me.
Negative: I don't want to eat this as it's not necessary, it will only make me fat and it means I won't be able to eat later.
Positive: ED doesn't want me to eat this, ED thinks it's not necessary and will only make me fat. But ED's wrong I do need it and it means that later I can use this to remember I could do it now and so can do it later.
Negative: I don't feel close to my mum anymore, the lying has meant she doesn’t trust me like before.
Positive: I am going to write a letter to my mum explaining that lying is part of my ED but that I want us to work together to fight it and that will help us get closer again.
Negative: I can’t ever seem to keep warm anymore, feeling so cold all the time gets me down.
Positive: I will ask my friends to come shopping with me to buy some warm clothes, plus they can help me choose things that will make me feel more confident in myself - I deserve a treat!
Negative: Eating makes me feel bad.
Positive: Eating food gives me lots of energy and will benefit me.
Negative: I can't eat today otherwise I'll gain weight.
Positive: If I eat healthily today I'll have more energy to do things
Negative: I look fat.
Positive: I look healthier than I did a few months ago and I am not fat I am still smaller than some of my friends.
Negative: I can’t eat today. I’m never can. I’m just stupid.
Positive: In the past I haven’t been as successful as I would have hoped. Everyone needs practice and persistence when attempting something challenging. It is going to be hard because these behaviours have been with me a long time but I have the power to change the future.
Negative: I'm so fat. I look disgusting and horrible.
Positive: I actually only feel fat and 'x' said I look really nice today.
Negative: I don’t deserve to recover.
Positive: If others deserve to recover what makes me so different?
Negative: I can't go out to the restaurant today as I feel I cannot eat.
Positive: I can go out for an hour to socialise and at least have a snack.
Negative: I don’t want to go to therapy, it’s just a waste of time.
Positive: It’s not for long, and something good may come out of it to help me. And after it I’m going to treat myself and do something nice like go shopping.
Negative: I don’t want to go out today
Positive: If I stay indoors today I'll only feel worse and more lonely so I'll go out with my friends and have a good day.
Negative: I don't feel motivated to do anything anymore.
Positive: Even if I make an effort to see a friend, it is a starting point.
Anxiety and worry
Negative: I hate looking back on my past, why is it so hard to let go ?
Positive: I view all past experiences as opportunities for me to learn and grow to be a better, healthier person today, releasing and let go has managed this.
Negative: Somebody acted a bit off with me; I sometimes wonder whether anyone likes or values me at all!
Positive: I may be overreacting and overanalysing the situation- it may not exist! I am valued by many people, I have a number of friends and nobody gets through life without any conflict at all.
Negative: I am so worried about what will happen today/ tomorrow/ next week; I can’t focus on anything or anyone because I am so anxious.
Positive: Worrying will just make me more worried! I need to take each second at a time and enjoy the moment. Talking to others and doing things I enjoy or activities that help me to relax will lessen my anxious thoughts.
Negative: I am so ugly
Positive: I'm just being silly, going to do my hair to make me feel better, and who cares what I look like anyway. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Negative: I feel isolated from my friends as I keep avoiding the things we used to do together.
Positive: I will ring my closest friend ask them to plan some events that I feel more comfortable with.
Negative: I keep having difficulty sleeping, my mind just won't shut off, it means I'm constantly tired.
Positive: I will spend time relaxing before bed, having a bath and reading a book will help be wind down for the night.
Negative: No-one likes me.
Positive: I have my family, friends and boyfriend who are all sticking around, so that must mean they like something about me.
School / college pressures
Negative: I'm such a failure, I can't do my work.
Positive: Ok it might be a bit slower today, but I have done really well in the past few pieces of work I have done, so it will be ok in the end.
Negative: I am useless at school work.
Positive: I just find certain things difficult like most people but i can ask for help at work hard to get better at it.
Negative: Oh no, so much school work, exams coming in no time, I’m never going to pass, I’m so stressed.
Positive: Going to take a breath, sit and listen to some music and then spend some time doing school work during which I’ll have a drink to keep me hydrated and grab a cereal bar to give me the boost I need. After a few questions, I’m feeling a lot more confident and believe I can do well if I stay calm and put my mind to it.
Negative: I can’t concentrate in lessons and it means I'm falling behind with my coursework.
Positive: I can ask my friends to help me catch up, spending time with them will be good too. I will also make an effort to eat more regularly to help my brain work better.