‘It’s all my sister’s fault I’ve gained weight. When I go out with her at the weekends I drink lots and end up bingeing on junk.’
This is an example of blame, where you take no personal responsibility for anything that goes wrong.
‘I only lost 2lb this week. I’m never going to lose the 4st I need to.’
This is an example of focusing on the negative, where you constantly see the downside to a situation or event and ignore the good stuff.
‘My husband Jim isn’t losing weight. It’s all my fault. I’m always piling his plate with food.’
This is an example of personalisation, where you take the burden of blame when something goes wrong – or you think it has gone wrong.
‘I ate a bag of crisps and undid all my good work.’
This is an example of magnification, when you blow an act, event or situation out of all proportion.
‘I must get to my goal weight in a month or I’m a failure.’
This is an example of unrealistic demands, where you have fixed, inflexible beliefs which lead to unrealistic expectations. These are usually expressed as ‘musts’, ‘shoulds’, ‘got to’ and ‘oughts’.
‘No matter what diet I do, I’m always going to be fat. I was built that way and things will never change.’
This is an example of all-or-nothing thinking, when you see things in extremes with no middle ground.
‘I cooked dinner for my friends. They said it was delicious but I know they were just being polite.’
This is an example of minimisation, where you downplay your skills and strengths.
Tips to handle crooked thoughts…
Catch them. Notice if you are falling into the trap of crooked thinking.
Befriend yourself. So often we beat ourselves up over situations. Challenge your inner critical voice.
Gain perspective. Try to stop thinking in extremes. Avoid catastrophic thinking. Find the middle ground and focus on the solutions.
Don’t assume. It’s all too easy to jump the gun and imagine the worst case scenario before it has happened. Instead, base your thoughts on evidence and avoid mind reading.