close X
The Center for Medical Weight Loss uses cookies and similar technology to collect and analyze information about the users of this website. By continuing to use this site, you consent to the use of this technology. Visit our updated
Privacy Policy
for more information.
woman journaling to lose weight

Channeling Negative Thoughts Into Positive Action (The Craving Change Challenge, Week 1)

rate it:  

This week we ask you: Is your weight-loss glass half-empty or half-full? We all fall prey to less-than-sunny thoughts sometimes, so don't feel bad. It's identifying and addressing those thoughts that's key for staying successful on your medical weight loss program.

Welcome to Week 1 of the Craving Change Challenge! This week we ask you: Is your weight-loss glass half-empty or half-full? Are you able to move past slip-ups and get right back on track? Do you focus on the big picture when you’re feeling frustrated or a little down? We all fall prey to less-than-sunny thoughts sometimes, so don’t feel bad. It’s identifying and addressing those thoughts that’s key for staying successful on your medical weight loss program

The power of positive thinking goes beyond helping you lose weight, too. Studies show that negative thinking can depress your immune system and increase stress, which negatively impacts your health and well-being. And being stressed or sick certainly doesn’t make losing weight easier! This week’s challenge is designed to give you tools to combat negative thinking and turn it into positive action that’ll move you closer to your goals.

Last week we talked about the daily mini-challenge as a key component of each challenge week. Each week we’ll give you at least two mini-challenges. Here they are for this week:

Your Mini-Challenges for Week 1

Days 1-3: Identify negative self-talk. Self-talk is the ongoing pitter-patter of thoughts running through your brain every day. The first half of the week you’ll be doing some diagnostics to help you identify the forms of negative self-talk you indulge in. Here are a few types:

  • You always foresee disaster. You’re Chicken Little: always expecting the worst.  

    For example: You try on your jeans and they feel a bit snug. Rather than chalking it up to fluid shifts, you automatically assume you’ve plateaued on your weight loss plan and won’t lose any more weight, no matter how hard you try.
  • You filter. You block out all of the positive elements of a situation. Meanwhile, you magnify the negative until it overwhelms you.

    For example: You had a great day on your medical weight loss plan. You ate healthfully all day, took a walk after work, and drank lots of water. But then that evening you ate a cookie. At bedtime, all you can focus on is your lack of ‘willpower.’ You forget about all the great things you did and figure you should just throw in the towel.
  • You make it personal. You always place blame on yourself when something bad happens.

    For example: When your exercise buddy cancels on you two weeks in a row, you assume it’s because she doesn’t like you.
  • You see only black and white. Ms. (or Mr.) Perfect. Things can only be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to you, with no happy medium. If you’re not perfect, that means you're a total failure. 

    For example, you set a goal of losing 8 pounds per month. When one month you lose only 7 pounds, you berate yourself and become even stricter with your eating and exercise to get back into the ‘perfect’ category.


Start noticing the way you talk to yourself. When you find yourself engaging in one of the above, make a quick note of it. Each night, review your list and categorize your thoughts, adding additional negative thoughts you may not have noticed. (Note: Your list should include ALL your negative self-talk, not just related to your weight loss program.) Finally, reflect a bit: Are you surprised at how unconsciously negative some of your thoughts are? Why do you think you talk to yourself this way?

Days 4-7: Do the Positive Self-Talk Exercise. Your thoughts can make or break you, and the objective here is to make your self-talk as positive as possible. Research shows positive thinking can actually ‘rewire’ your brain, making you more optimistic and helping prevent depression. This in turn can help you stay more focused and positive on your medical weight loss program. Here’s what to do:

Practice positive self-talk. Follow just one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be kind to yourself! The key is to learn to reinvent your negative thoughts by channeling them into positive ones. Here are some examples of how to do that:


Negative self-talk

Positive reinterpretation

I've never been able to lose 50 pounds before.

This is a new weight loss plan, and an opportunity to learn and develop new skills.

I've failed at staying away from sweets.

I'll give it another try.

This recipe is too complicated to follow.

I'll see if my husband and I can work together on it.

I'm too lazy to exercise.

I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule but will work on making it a top priority.

It's too radical a change in my eating habits.

I’ve never tried this kind of change, and I’m giving it a chance.

I’m a total failure.

Like everyone else, there are areas of my life that are working well and others I’m working on changing.


Now, go back to your list from Days 1-3 and any additional times during the day when you engaged in negative self-talk. For each, list a positive reinterpretation. Keep your list handy and refer to it throughout the day when you find yourself negative self-talking. Spend time actively creating a positive affirmation every time you indulge in negativity. Over time, you’ll find that this becomes more natural to you, and more effective.

By Day 7, you should be far better at both identifying the negative self-talk you engage in, and how to instantly put a positive spin on it. Good luck! 

Don’t forget to check in at the end of every day. Refer to Craving Change Challenge: Are You Ready? for the questions to answer during your daily check-in. See you next week!


Next Steps:

Try these 3 simple tricks to managing portion size.
See why knowing your waist circumference can benefit you.
Find a center near you to schedule a consultation with a CMWL doctor.


 Recipes & Articles
 Recipes only
 Articles only



Get access to all the tracking tools you need to lose weight and keep it off!