Over the last few months, I’ve listened to many people tell me how they “just can’t stop snacking in the evening.” Or, they talk about how they “just can’t get back on track.”

These are challenging times. Many have felt the burden of added stress.  All of us are on different boats in the same storm.  However, the comments above reflect choices being made. When people make comments like this, they have pre-determined that they are unable to stop snacking. When you choose to see yourself as incompetent or incapable, you will experience incompetence and incapability. When you choose to see yourself as unable to control your choices, you will simply act in a way that confirms that reality.

How do we arrive at such self-defeating thinking?

Your abilities are unique. Maybe you cannot sing in perfect pitch or play professional soccer, or be an entrepreneur with a million-dollar income; but thinking of yourself as incapable ignores your strengths. You have many other things you do well; it may be in your area of work, your ability as a great mother or father, your creativity around your house. The trouble is we are especially focused on those imagined negative thoughts about ourselves in the evening. “I’m lonely;” “My life feels boring;” “I’m upset with my coworker;” “Why do I have to do everything for everyone and no one helps me?” So, we may turn to food to soothe. However, eating just re-enforces our self-loathing.

What if you could train your emotional mind to concentrate on all the great things in your life; all those things that make you a wonderful person? What if you perpetually focused on all the good things you have done, and focused on all the exciting things you want to do with your life? Choose to be in a positive frame of mind. Write down all the good qualities you have. Write down all the small things you want to do that would make you feel better.

If you focus on what you cannot do instead of what you can do, you create a picture of yourself that is narrow, and frankly, false. It is imaginary, not reality. You disregard your abilities and see yourself as unable or incompetent. So, focus on your strengths instead.

Choosing positive thoughts is an act of creation. Most people think carefully about moving, changing careers and getting married. They research, analyze, feel and use their intuition. We look at these situations as important, so we spend active time thinking about them. Yet the most important choices you make are the choices about how you see yourself, and how you see yourself in the world around you. Do not feel like a victim. You are much more than those imaginary thoughts. Look at your good qualities; choose to eat well because you deserve to feel better about yourself. When your mood is down, choose something other than food to bring you peace and joy. A moment outside; an uplifting piece of music; moving your body; a song sung; calling a friend; a journal entry about how powerful you are. Work hard at those times to develop a more positive frame of mind.

Who is it that you want to become? Do you want to be healthier, more vibrant, and more confident about your physical self? You can! Choose to be that person. The difficult times of day tend to be short-lived. There may be only 2 hours in the evening when you need to work at thinking positively to help yourself stay in awareness. If you can hurdle those few hours, you will find yourself less and less a victim of food.

During these times of uncertainty and unpredictability, you can make the powerful choice to fuel your body and mind in a healthy way.  Not just through healthy nutrition, but through healthy thinking, too.  This takes daily practice.  Forgive yourself and move on if something goes sideways.  You can re-set the very next moment.

You can do it. Keep on trying and don’t ever give up!

Dr. Doug