You are what you think
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You Are What You Think. You Are What You Think By Michael D. Morrello , M.S. Licensed Psychologist. You Are What You Think. You may not be conscious of it, but you always have a thought before you eat. Permission giving thoughts allow you to rationalize what you eat.

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You Are What You Think

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You are what you think

You Are What You Think

You Are What You Think

By Michael D. Morrello, M.S.

Licensed Psychologist


You are what you think1

You Are What You Think.

You may not be conscious of it, but you always have a thought before you eat.

Permission giving thoughts allow you to rationalize what you eat.

They usually begin with the phrase, “I know I shouldn’t eat this, but it’s okay because….”


You are what you think2

You Are What You Think.

Sabotaging Thoughts undermine your confidence.

Example: “It’s so terrible that I ate that…I’m so weak…I’m just not going to be able to lose weight.”

Helpful Response: “Okay, I made a mistake…I shouldn’t have eaten that, but I can start eating in a better way right now.”


You are what you think3

You Are What You Think

Sabotaging Thoughts allow you to disregard advice you get in this program.

Example: “I don’t really have to do this task.

Helpful Response: “I should really carry out every task in the program so I’ll have the greatest chance of success


You are what you think4

You Are What You Think

Sabotaging Thoughts increase your general level of stress.

Example: “I should always do things perfectly.”

Helpful Response: “It’s okay to have strengths and weaknesses. I am human.”


You are what you think5

You Are What You Think

Sabotaging thoughts arise when you’re confronted with a trigger, a situation that stimulates your thinking.

  • Environmental

  • Biological

  • Mental

  • Emotional

  • Social

    If you can identify the triggers that evoke sabotaging thoughts and lead you to eat in unhelpful ways, you can minimize your exposure to them or change your response to them.


You are what you think6

You Are What You Think

From Trigger To Eating

You encounter a trigger: Someone offers you cake

You have a thought: That cake looks good

You make a choice: I think I’ll have it

You act: You eat the cake


You are what you think7

You Are What You Think

Now it is time to strengthen your resistance thinking and weaken your permission-giving thinking.

Carry your diet notebook with you or other device to record your sabotaging thoughts.

If you notice that you’re tempted to eat something you’re not supposed to eat, ask yourself, “What was just going through my mind?” or “What was I just thinking?”


You are what you think8

You Are What You Think

Sometimes, you’ll be able to identify your thoughts easily.

If your not sure what you were thinking, review the Common Diet Related Sabotaging Thought List to attempt to jog your memory.

If this doesn’t jog your memory, try to figure out what you were not thinking:

  • How unappetizing the foods look and smell?

  • How glad you are that you’re not supposed to eat this?

  • How easy it will be to resist it?


You are what you think9

You Are What You Think

You’ll undoubtedly answer in the negative, followed by your actual thought: “I really want to eat it!”

Write your thoughts down in your diet notebook.


You are what you think10

You Are What You Think

It is important to recognize that thoughts are just ideas not truths.

Common Thinking Errors

1. Thinking Mistake: All or Nothing Thinking

You see things in only two categories when there’s

really a middle ground.

Either I am completely on my diet or I’m off my

diet.”

or


You are what you think11

You Are What You Think

2. Thinking Mistake: Negative Fortune Telling

You predict the future negatively, without

considering possible other outcomes.

“Since I didn’t lose weight this week, I’ll never be

able to lose weight.”


You are what you think12

You Are What You Think

3. Thinking Mistake: Overly Positive Fortune Telling

You predict the future too positively, without

considering other possible outcomes.

“I’ll be able to eat just a little bit of this food I

crave, feel satisfied, and stop.”


You are what you think13

You Are What You Think

4. Thinking Mistake: Emotional Reasoning

You think your ideas must be true even though

objective evidence proves them to be false.

“Since I feel like a failure for having strayed, I

really must be a failure.”


You are what you think14

You Are What You Think

5. Thinking Mistake: Mind Reading

You’re sure of what others are thinking, even in the

absence of compelling evidence.

“People will think I am strange if I don’t drink

alcohol at the party.”


You are what you think15

You Are What You Think

6. Thinking Mistake: Self-Deluding Thinking

You rationalize by telling yourself things you don’t

really believe at other times.

“If no one sees me eating, it doesn’t count.”


You are what you think16

You Are What You Think

7. Thinking Mistake: Unhelpful Rules

You mandate actions without taking circumstances

into consideration.

“I can’t waste food.”


You are what you think17

You Are What You Think

8. Thinking Mistake: Justification

You link two unrelated concepts (to justify your

eating).

“I deserve to eat this because I’m so stressed out.”


You are what you think18

You Are What You Think

9. Thinking Mistake: Exaggerated Thinking

You make a situation seem greater or worse than it

really is.

“I can’t stand this craving.”

The sky is falling


You are what you think19

You Are What You Think

Today, you will make additional response cards to help you more effectively reply to these thoughts. You use these cards just like the first cards.

Over time, as you practice these ideas again and again, you’ll begin to automatically respond to your sabotaging thoughts, even without the cards.

When you look at your thoughts in your diet notebook, ask yourself what you wish you could remember the next time you have this thought?


You are what you think20

You Are What You Think

Write down your thoughts to the questions below:

  • What evidence is there for this thought?

  • Does this thought make me feel the way I want to feel?

  • Does this thought help me reach my goal of weight loss?

  • What kind of thinking error could I be making?

  • Is there another way of thinking about this?

  • What is the effect of believing this thought, and what is the effect of changing this thought?


You are what you think21

You Are What You Think

7. What would I tell a close friend or family member if

if he/she were in this situation and had this thought?

8. What should I do now?

At other times, it might be helpful just to read short,

direct statements, such as:

I’d rather be thin.

Get out of the kitchen—now!

No excuses!

This is just a craving! It’ll go away! Don’t eat!


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