Triggers, we all have them.
The important thing is, what do you do with them? Grab a stack of index cards and use the card template below to help you change your sabotaging thoughts to more positive ones. Brainstorm your most sabotaging thought. If you need help, see our Top 15 below. Once you have identified your top sabotaging thought, create a response card. Write your sabotaging thought on the front of the card and on the back, your new healthy response.
Does this sound like you?
Situation (Trigger): Jane ate an unplanned cupcake.
Automatic (Sabotaging) Thoughts: I have really blown it, I might as well eat whatever I want and start again tomorrow.
Reaction: Jane overeats for the rest of the day.
Let’s change that Automatic thought and put a positive one in its place!
What did you say to yourself just before you ate _________?
This “Sabotaging Thought” goes on the front of the card.
What would you like to be able to tell your self next time?
This “response” goes on the flip side of the card.
Adopt a problem‐solving orientation
Try using the 3 Question Technique:
1. What was the situation? What happened?
2. What sabotaging thoughts did I have?
3. What can I say and do differently the next time?
Top Sabotaging Thoughts and Responses
Sabotaging Thought: This food is not on my diet, but I really want it NOW.
Response: I’ll get a few moments of pleasure, but I’ll feel badly and guilty for much longer.
Sabotaging Thought: I want to eat whatever I want!
Response: I can eat whatever I want OR I can be thinner. I can’t have it both ways.
Sabotaging Thought: I don’t have time to read my WHY card this morning.
Response: It will take less than a minute to read my WHY card and it’s worth one minute if it helps me lose weight.
Sabotaging Thought: I don’t deserve to give myself credit for doing the right thing – it should be easy to follow Ideal Protein.
Response: No, it’s not easy. If it was easy, nobody would be overweight. It’s important to give myself credit to build my confidence and then dieting will become easier.
Sabotaging Thought: I can’t keep snacks out of the house and make my kids and family suffer for my weight problem.
Response: I’m entitled to ask my family to make temporary changes to help me stick to my program more successfully. These snacks are not as important as our health.
Sabotaging Thought: I’m craving that food!
Response: Food cravings go away when I DECIDE to not give in. Cravings do not get worse and worse.
Sabotaging Thought: This is too hard today. I’ll get back on the diet tomorrow.
Response: While it feels hard, it’s not impossible and I can do it! If I give in now, it will make it harder to resist next time. I want to exercise my Resistance Muscle and weaken my Giving In Muscle.
Sabotaging Thought: If I’m upset, the only thing that will make me feel better is food.
Response: If I’m upset, I’m entitled to feel better. But, I’m also entitled to achieve my weight loss goals so the comfort I need cannot come from food.
Sabotaging Thought: I’ve already blown it for the day so I might as well just keep eating and get back on track tomorrow.
Response: As soon as I stop “blowing it,” I’ll feel better. Every single bite I eat today matters. When I’m on track I feel great about myself, so the sooner I’m on track, the better.
Sabotaging Thought: If I recognize my progress, I’ll get too confident and start to loosen up.
Response: I will be able to catch myself and give myself credit. I will strengthen my Resistance Muscle.
Sabotaging Thought: Oh no, I wont have control over food while I am on vacation. What if I gain a lot of weight?
Response: I have developed my vacation diet strategy. I can and will stick to my plan.
Sabotaging Thought: The people I am with will think I am no fun if I don’t drink.
Response: That may or may not be true. What’s more important to me anyway? What they think or that I am doing what it takes to lose the weight.
Sabotaging Thought: This is a special occasion, I deserve to treat myself.
Response: If I want to lose weight and keep it off forever, I have to learn to celebrate in different ways. If I keep celebrating with food, I’ll put myself at risk of gaining weight. It isn’t worth it!
Sabotaging Thought: I have to please others by eating, no matter what the cost is to me.
Response: I have to work toward my goal, especially since the cost to others is momentary and minor. My not eating won't spoil their entire year. It’s good for me to say no.
Sabotaging Thought: I have always thought this way. I don’t think I can change my thinking.
Response: This is a skill I can learn. It wasn’t easy learning how to drive a car or to ride a bike, but I eventually got good at those things. If I practice and use my coaching, I can get good at responding to my sabotaging thinking.