Overcoming Negative Self Talk

July 31, 2017 by Kathleen Renner, L.C.S.W.

Health Concerns: Food Addiction

Stop your inner critic from sabotaging your weight loss goal

Often, we allow negative self-talk to become our own worst enemy. Unjustified, exaggerated or even irrational thoughts causes self-doubt, anxiety and even depression.  Eventually this inner negative self-criticism snowballs into making wrong choices, not accomplishing what you set out to do and disappointment. Negative self-talk is stressful and even bad for your health.

Especially in the arena of weight loss, it is vital to learn to banish negative internal thoughts that hamper your goal of reaching your desired weight. In fact, when you develop cravings for bad foods, this is often a signal that your inner self critic is probably at work.

Examples of negative self-talk.:

  • Black or white thinking: “I messed up my diet by eating bagels for breakfast,  what’s the point, I’ll never be able to keep to my healthy diet to lose weight, so I might as well go back to eating bread”
  • Jumping to unwarranted conclusions: You see an acquaintance walking down the street. You wave, they do not wave back. You immediately think that the person is snubbing you — and so you feel bad about yourself, and eat to make yourself feel better,  of course, there were any number of other possible reasons the person didn’t wave back? Perhaps they were in a hurry; maybe they didn’t see you, etc.
  • Blaming: “It’s all his fault that I ate the pizza”  Your husband brings home pizza. You think you don’t have the willpower to stick to your Nutritarian diet if everyone doesn’t support you. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and choices. No one can make you change, you are in total control of what you will or will not eat.
  • Overgeneralization:  If something doesn’t go your way, you say to yourself, “I always fail.” It is important to embrace the positive things you have done, and stay in the present. The past is gone, and the future isn’t here yet. Every day is a new day in your journey to accomplish your goals.

Tips to overcome negative self-thinking:

  • Start your day with saying five positive things about your life and the world around you. This enables your day to start on a positive note.
  • Talk to yourself as you would to encourage a friend who is trying to lose weight and you are trying to help. If you said half of the negative, mean things you say to yourself, you would have no friends. Try to view yourself as a separate person — and be comforting, motivating, and helpful to that person. It may feel strange at first, but soon you will find it helping to keep negative self-criticism at bay.  Think of negative self-thoughts for what they are: unwanted guests in your head.
  • Ask yourself what am I really telling myself right now? Why is it making me feel helpless or bad?  Can I do anything about this situation or is it out of my hands? If it is, let it go!   Especially at the beginning of this process, the negative thought is not going to easily submit to being dismissed. It wants to fight back. Don’t allow yourself to get pulled into the struggle. Negative thoughts typically are either centered in the past or in the future. Practice mindfulness, and be in the moment. Remember, every day is a new day, so there is much you can accomplish each day towards reaching your goals!

Kathleen Renner, L.C.S.W. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with significant clinical experience working in the mental health and substance abuse fields. After undergoing further training with Dr. Fuhrman and his clinical team, Ms. Renner has developed a specialty in food addiction counseling. She also has completed Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritional Education Trainer Program (NET). She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, motivating individuals to improve their health. Kathleen has worked with addiction in all age groups and in various settings, including individuals and groups. She holds the title of Food Addictions Counselor in Dr. Fuhrman's SUCCESS Program.


Comments (0):



08/03/2017 05:01 PM

Excellent stuff! Thanks!

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:28 PM

my pleasure!


08/03/2017 07:24 PM

Thanks, I really needed this.  Lately my depression has gotten in my way.  Happy to say that I am soldiering on.

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:28 PM

good for you! take it one day at a time :)


08/03/2017 07:49 PM

This is very true for me! Especially the blaming part: "if everyone else in the family eats poorly than I have no choice but to fall off my nutritarian lifestyle." Thanks for the kick in the pants! I will start following this advice immediately. 

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:29 PM

good for you! all about getting re-motivated!

Joss Di

08/03/2017 08:46 PM

Great article and something that a lot of us struggle with. 

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:29 PM

thank you!


08/03/2017 09:06 PM

This is an excellent article! So often middle aged women that have struggled with their weight for years begin to criticize themselves by saying negative things about their bodies. I've been guilty of this and have found that it is much more helpful to accept my body because it is a reflection of what I've gone through in life. It's important to love ourselves in whatever place we are in life. That doesn't mean that we accept our bad eating habits. Daily we have to work on creating new habits that become our new selves. In our journey towards excellent health, we must celebrate all of our victiories along the way. This creates a positive environment for us to change. Sometimes we will be our only cheerleader. That is ok because we are creating our new selves and our new life. Our new healthier life which will enable us to do all of the things that we haven't been able to because of lack of energy or because our bodies were to big to do it. Anyone that puts their mind to change can do it. And you will reach your goal even if you have some setbacks. Just be determined and decide to never give up.

mbalut replies:

08/03/2017 09:22 PM

This is so true . Such an inner fight with ourselves. I like the idea of starting day with 5 positive things!!

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:30 PM

yes all very true!! you are worth it!

ssmiami replies:

08/04/2017 08:08 PM

Well said.  I know I have to adjust my body self-image.  Your post is very helpful.  Thanks


08/03/2017 09:18 PM

This is very helpful

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:30 PM



08/03/2017 10:29 PM

Thank you.  I am saving this post.  These are words I need to reread as I find myself falling into a unproductive thought cycle.  Very timely.

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:30 PM

Absolutely. Do the best you can one day at a time


08/03/2017 10:32 PM

Awesome post 

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:29 PM



08/03/2017 10:51 PM

As my yoga teacher Marydale says, "cultivate a sense of sincere confidence in yourself through the recognition of how capable, creative and wonderful you truly are"

Krenner replies:

08/03/2017 11:29 PM

your yoga teacher is very wise!

Marietta Goldman

08/04/2017 07:52 AM

Thanks Kathleen - I love the reminder to focus on self-love and shift my thoughts to positive ones. It has taken me a long time to re-write my story around food and I am forever a work in progress!

Krenner replies:

08/04/2017 06:47 PM

yes! we are all a work in progress


08/04/2017 11:15 AM

So true!


08/04/2017 11:58 AM

Love the article. The last doctor Weight loss program I used, I expected to get lots of support. Unfortunately, nobody listened to my particular circumstances. I could not digest the amount of proteins they wanted me to because it caused me to get so bound up that I could not have a bowel movement.  My nutritionist was supposed to change me over to a vegan diet but took 4 weeks to gather information. I had to quite because I didn't feel supported. 


Krenner replies:

08/04/2017 06:48 PM

feeling supported is everything..changing your lifestyle can feel like a very loney overwhelming process otherwise


08/05/2017 11:22 AM

Thank you for these wonderful suggestions! Exactly what I need. 

Gratitude has helped me stay on track. I spend some time in gratitude. For Dr. Furhman, researchers, research participants, presenters, the wonderful food, and the opportunity for a better life, etc. There is so much to be grateful for, isn't there?

Now, I will add you to the list! 

Thank you, Ms Renner.


Krenner replies:

08/05/2017 04:38 PM

my pleasure!



08/06/2017 12:15 PM

Excellent timing for this.  Challenging time of year for me and your words resonated.  

Krenner replies:

08/07/2017 04:53 PM



08/07/2017 09:21 AM

Thank you for this reminder. I really needed this today, and it showed up! I traveled a couple of days and then had company yesterday. I was strictly on my nutritarian eating plan since April and was feeling and doing great. I lost 16 lbs but then got stuck weight wise and I have been struggling and wondering why. I have always been an exerciser so that isn't a problem. But I have felt discouraged and down. This article helped so much. I have to remain confident and dwell on how good I have been feeling. Thanks for the support. Truly needed. I also thank everyone else who shares! It helps! We can do this together! So grateful!

Krenner replies:

08/07/2017 03:27 PM

my pleasure, good luck to you!


08/25/2017 02:56 PM

Is weight loss always the answer?  What if you don't lose anymore weight Jfarw?  Maybe the plateau is your setpoint weight.  Can someone address this and set point weight scientfically?


11/12/2017 12:52 AM

I find it quite ironic, I read both Eat to Live (twice) and Eat for Health (just started my second time) , I've taken a nutrition class at the community college and I am techniacally considered a peronal trainer. HOWEVER, I have fallen off the wagon big time. I hardly want to go to the gym, I've gained ten pounds in 3 months. I have the knowledge, but seriously lack the motivation. My family sees me struggle. My husband is an amazing support system with his healthy lifestyle, and I continue to sulk in my pity party. I just don't know how to get our of it. I'm stuck! Please help. I just became a member about a month ago, hoping this would help and I do read up and look at recipes. I think to myself Mr. Fuhrman is my BFF, but here I am, drowning in Las Vegas.

Krenner replies:

11/13/2017 09:27 AM

Hi efanciullo! You are not alone in this struggle and so glad you reached out. Have you ever though about signing up for our Food Addictions Program (FAR)? Call the office at #908-237-0200 for more information. So glad your spouse is a support. I believe accountability and planning is key with this way of eating. Have you planned out your meals and gotten all standard american diet SAD food out of your house?