Are you a “What If” thinker, constantly thinking “what if this happens” or “what if that happens”?
Do you find that your scary, what if thoughts propel you towards food in an attempt to quell your fears about the future?
Week Eight of Attacking Anxiety & Depression
Welcome to week eight in my 15-week series of my self-experiment using Lucinda Bassett’s Attacking Anxiety and Depression program. If you’ve already read my introduction to this series you’ve got the full details already on why I am doing this experiment but if this is your first time happening upon my series, please go back and read the intro. It will explain why I’m doing this, one of the main reasons being that I have met way too many people who are not only overweight and emotional eaters, but who are also anxious, stressed, and depressed.
What Is “What If” Thinking?
“What If” thinking is that negative thinking you project into the future. It’s those thoughts that you think to get yourself all riled up and scared! When you start thinking things like:
- What if I lose my job?
- What if my spouse leaves me? (or dies?)
- What if I lose my house?
- What if I fail?
- What if I fail again at weight loss?
Remember my series on emotional eating? If you aren’t familiar with that term, what emotional eating is is eating to try to make yourself feel better or in other words, using food as a drug. When you feel anxious, stressed, depressed, angry, frustrated, or even happy (and you feel uncomfortable with that) and then you turn to food to quell those feelings, that is emotional eating.
Well do you think that when you think all of those scary, what if thoughts that you’re going to feel good? No way!
Anticipatory Anxiety = What If Thinking
What If thinking leads to anticipatory anxiety – you anticipate the absolute worst outcome for a future event and get yourself all worked up and anxious, the perfect lead-in to an emotional eating episode!
What if thinking is all about catastrophe; seeing the worst possible future outcome. Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Well hey, if you’re doing this to yourself you sure are causing yourself a ton of grief and you’re not treating yourself like your own best friend. Think about this: would you ever feed your best friend such scary, catastrophic thoughts, telling your best friend that this super scary thing may happen in the future? Of course you wouldn’t! Instead you would tell your best friend that everything always works out for the best and that it will all be ok.
Well guess what? You can tell yourself the same thing.
“What If” Puts You In The Future
You may have been noticing a theme here at Fearless Fat Loss recently and that is the importance I’ve been putting on staying in the present moment. I’ve written several posts about this topic lately because it is vitally important that you keep yourself in the here and now.
There’s absolutely nothing you can do about your overeating and lack of exercise in the past and if you project your fears into the future, fears that you might regain the weight, that you might not be able to keep up, will those fears help you or hurt you today? Those fears sure aren’t going to help you and the more you can stay in the present moment and focus on your commitment to take consistent, healthy, action the better off you will be.
What I Learned
What I learned in week eight was simply the reinforcement that staying in the present moment is where it’s at – not only when it comes to reaching your weight loss goals but also in every area of life.
If you find you’re regretting your actions you are living in the past and if you are worried and anxious because you’re thinking all of those “what ifs” then you are living in the future. You can only live in this moment so take advantage of it and put your best foot forward. Every step you take can either lead you closer to your end goal of health and fitness or it can lead you further away from it – the choice is up to you.
If you are struggling with loads of stress and anxiety and/or if you’ve got so much anxiety that you’ve become depressed I definitely recommend the Attacking Anxiety and Depression 15-week home course. It gives you practical information that you can apply as soon as you listen to each week’s lesson and your homework lessons will help you reinforce your new habits.
The better handle you get on dealing with chronic stress and anxiety the easier time you will have reaching your weight loss and fitness goals. And remember what I covered in week five, that dropping the sugar from your diet will reduce your stress greatly. So this program definitely fits with helping you create a complete, healthy lifestyle because if you’re stressed out all the time, you’re not living as healthy a lifestyle that you could be.
How “What If” Thinking Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss