Every time I start working with a new client, I like to ask them a lot of questions to get a full understanding of their relationship with food and their goals. I ask them things like “How would you describe your relationship with food?”, “How do you respond to your hunger cues?”, “What are the foods that cause you fear and anxiety?”. While each client’s answers are different, there is one common theme that comes up every time.
This engrained thought pattern is the first block that I always work on with my clients in order to clear the way to progress, healing, and success in their health journey. Without addressing this first block, they simply cannot move forward and start working towards their goals.
This pattern is: self judgment.
Oftentimes, I hear self judgment come through in the form of justification or explanation: “I know this is bad, but…” or “I know it doesn’t make sense, but…” or “I know I shouldn’t, but…”.
This preemptive clause is super common and super harmful. Why? By speaking this judgment, you’re essentially telling yourself that your actions, emotions, and thoughts are wrong, bad, or weird. This justification creates a huge block that is quite difficult to get over, unless the judgment is dissolved.
Now, it makes total sense that most people start sentences with these self judgments because they’re ashamed, embarrassed, or disappointed by what they are about to say next. We judge ourselves first to protect ourselves from the judgment of others. This judgment is simply a protection mechanism. Instead of someone else telling you your habits are bad, illogical, or wrong, you start the sentence off with that judgment to essentially get it out of the way. It feels safer to speak it outloud than to hear it spoken to you.
However, this form of protection is actually not serving your highest good or your health in the long run. When you repeat these thoughts, they become beliefs and truths for you. Your mind gets filled with ideas that you are “bad” and that you “don’t make sense” and that you “shouldn’t” do this or that. It’s no wonder then that you lack complete trust, respect, and confidence in your body!
Rather than using this defense mechanism to protect yourself from judgment or pain, this self judgment is preventing you from becoming aware of your habits, working through the struggles, forgiving yourself, and implementing new healthy habits that will empower you to reach your health goals. So, start noticing when you begin to judge yourself. Instead of justifying or explaining, just allow your emotions and thoughts and pain points to be what they are. Just allow them to be. In this state of neutrality, you can begin to see your current habits and beliefs with more clarity, objectivity, and forgiveness. This is where the healing truly begins!