Unhealthy thought patterns can send our lives spiraling out of control. If you use food as a coping mechanism in your life, recognizing the thought patterns and dealing with them can help to control your out of control eating patterns. Remember, this unhealthy relationship with food is more than just physical. It is much more complex than that.

As I stated in Thoughts are like Airplanes, we should not listen to or identify with all of the thoughts that circle in our heads.

Thoughts can be so random, but sometimes there is a pattern to them, and labeling them can help you to recognize them quickly for what they are and dismiss them. Often, it is these thoughts that we may not even be aware of that cause our self-esteem to plummet.

Actions are driven by our emotions and feelings. But the emotions and feelings come first from thoughts. So, the first step to changing your actions is to recognize the thought patterns that are ultimately causing them. Let’s expose some possibilities.

10 ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) to look for

  1. Mindreading ANT – You believe you can interpret what other people are thinking about you.
  2. Labeling ANT – You attribute negative character traits to yourself.
  3. Fortunetelling ANT – You predict negative outcomes based on no or faulty evidence.
  4. Catastrophizing ANT – You consider the worst case scenario when considering outcomes.
  5. Unfair Comparisons ANT – You set unfair or unrealistic standards, by which to judge yourself, and compare yourself to others who you perceive are doing better than you, and consistently rate yourself as inferior to them.
  6. Dichotomous (all or nothing) Thinking ANT – You engage in all or nothing thinking.
  7. Discounting the Positive ANT – You trivialize or diminish any positive feedback relative to your performance or character.
  8. Emotional Reasoning – Using your feelings about a situation to make incorrect inferences.
  9. Personalization – You believe that you are personally to blame for events beyond your control.
  10. Overgeneralization – You draw overly broad conclusions based on stand-alone events.

Repel the ANTs!

I am including a useful exercise for you to download to help you to become more aware of these thought patterns in your life and to learn how to deal with them.

To recap the exercise – you must first become aware of the negative thought patterns and name them. Then, you must tame them – exhale, let them go, don’t associate with them! Finally, you must reframe them – redirect to something positive.

Be consistent and intentional about this.

I encourage you to try the experiment mentioned in the download – Set the intention to practice this 3 times a day for the next 7 days. I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

I have no doubt that your efforts of consistent practice will pay off, but if you find that you still need extra support, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to partner with you on this journey to create inner calm that will move your toward freedom from food addictions.


Own Your Greatness: Overcome Impostor Syndrome, Beat Self-Doubt, and Succeed in Life by Drs. Lisa and Richard Orbé-Austin

Kresser Institute (Chris Kresser ADAPT program)

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