Do you sometimes feel as if you’re standing in your own way when it comes to losing weight? That could be a sign that you’re doing what’s known as ‘crooked thinking’.
Recognising crooked thoughts
Do you ever…
- Catastrophise, making mountains out of molehills?
- Take things personally?
- See things in a black and white, ‘all-or-nothing’ way?
- Take responsibility when it’s not yours to take?
- Globalise, drawing sweeping conclusions?
- Do a spot of fortune telling, predicting what will happen?
- Mind-read, second-guess what other people are thinking?
- Label yourself in an unflattering way?
- Make unrealistic, rigid demands of yourself or other people?
These are all types of crooked thinking – extreme, exaggerated or unhelpful thoughts which could stop you from seeing things in a clear and balanced way.
In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), ‘crooked thinking’ means thinking in a way that’s extreme, unhelpful, exaggerated, irrational and unrealistic. For example, a crooked thought could be ‘this always happens to me. I’m useless’.
Everyone makes these thinking errors, but no one plans to. They tend to pop into your head automatically, almost outside your awareness, so they’re sometimes also called ‘automatic thoughts’.
Crooked thoughts can lead to mood swings and uncomfortable feelings, which might end up with you doing the kinds of things that lead to weight gain – like eating too much, exercising too little, or drinking too much.
The trick is learning to recognise your crooked thoughts, challenge them and come up with more balanced thoughts. The CBT tools you practice in your LighterLife group sessions can help you do this.
Balanced thinking is realistic and matches the facts. It can help you move from living by imposed, external rules, to living with your own preferences that you are responsible for. More balanced thinking means more stable moods and a clearer head to make healthier choices.