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How does negative self talk affect me?

Sudeepta Varma, MD
Psychiatry
Negative self-talk, or cognitive distortions, can cause someone to sabotage their own weight loss efforts. In this video, I will discuss how negative self talk can make it difficult to stay motivated to lose weight.
Negative self talk effects people by making them feel bad about themselves because they hear the negativity over and over, and it reinforces itself. For example, I am too fat to exercise. Imagine hearing that on a CD over and over. This reinforces that the person is fat, that they can't exercise and that they should feel bad about themselves. Negative self talk increases anxiety, fear and again supports that you can't do something. Negative self talk leads to tense muscles and physically inhibits people from moving because their muscles are tense. The result of negative self talk is the inability to think positively ("I can do this") and physically walk, jog or cycle. Try this exercise. Stand up, tense all your muscles and try walking. This is the result of negativity on your exercise.

Negative self talk is a self fulfilling prophecy. It provides negative messages to your brain: I can't, I won't, I am fat, I am not attractive, etc. What we think and feel about ourselves comes through in thoughts and actions. We believe it and others start to believe it.

Negative self talk not only makes it impossible to do the opposite but it also makes it challenging to do anything. For example, if you say to yourself I can't workout your muscles with tense, your breathing might get shallow and your heart rate will increase making it physically difficult to move. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.