Yesterday, Caitlin blogged about a post by Kelly about default thinking. Kelly asked her readers if they have one thing that they tend to think about when they aren’t busy doing something.
Such a simple question, but also a very telling question depending on your answer.
Kelly said that she tends to default to running, while Caitlin said that she thinks about blogging.
Some of the reader responses were:
- Men (husband, boyfriend, etc)
- Food (What to eat, etc)
Of course, it made me question my own thoughts…
And then it hit me!
My mind is no longer consumed by negative thoughts about my body, weight, food, and deprivation.
My jaw hit the floor.
I had a huge light bulb moment.
When I was fully consumed by my disordered eating, 99% of my thoughts were negative thoughts about myself. Any time I wasn’t occupied by something else, my thoughts defaulted to things like:
- How many calories did you eat so far today?
- How could you not have lost any weight? I need to lose x pounds by Friday!
- I need to stop eating so much
- How can I occupy myself so I am not tempted to snack
- I look so huge in this/my clothes don’t look right/etc
- I am ashamed to go out and have people see me like this
Even when my mind should have been occupied by other things like school and work, my thoughts still tended to come back to the negative mindset. I couldn’t focus on studying. I couldn’t focus on my relationships. All I could focus on was those negative ‘default’ thoughts.
I had become so accustomed to defaulting to this negativity about myself, I didn’t even question it anymore.
When you tell yourself something for long enough you start to believe it.
I knew no other way. I also said that I would never be able to give up calorie counting because it was so ingrained in my head.
Well, today I realized just how far I have come.
When I set on my journey to free myself from the disorder, I also started to free my heart.
Yes, free my heart.
With each positive thing that I told myself, my heart started to beat stronger again.
I started to feel emotions again.
I started to love myself again.
With each passing week that I chose to be good to myself, I felt free. My mind, body, heart, and soul felt more free than it had for a long time.
With a lot of work, patience, and dedication I was able to slowly replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. For a long time I thought I was fighting a losing battle, but here I am today, sitting here in amazement with how far I have come.
I now know what it is like to have a free mind and to be able to dream, think, ponder, hypothesize, study, analyze, and wonder. And damn it feels GOOD.
Here are some of my favourite default things to think about:
All day long I commit parts of my day to memory and store it in my mental ‘blog file’. Note to self: Must write these down because 99% of them are forgotten! I write down some of them, but most of the time I am not near a paper and pen. I need to reintroduce my voice recorder into my life ASAP! lol.
2. Loved ones
Family, friends, Eric, Sketchie. I often find myself thinking about conversations we had. I laugh about inside jokes. I miss loved ones that I do not get to see often. I spend a lot of time thinking about people that have made a positive impact in my life. And yes that includes some people I have never met! I have been touched by so many kind people in the blog world and I think about their words often.
My upcoming half marathon has been taking up much of my mental space lately. I think about when my next run is, how long it will be, and how running makes me feel. I think about how awesome it is that I have found a sport that I love so much. I also always remind myself who I am racing for: Chris and all others who have been touched by cancer in some way.
I spend a lot of time creating recipes for Glo Bakery. I am always dreaming up something new that I want to make. I think about the nutrition, ingredients, packaging, cost, etc. I love, love, love creating and testing new ideas. I have so many ideas scribbled down that I have yet to try out.
On occasion, I still struggle with thinking about food too much, especially if my hormones are out of whack and I find myself just wanting to eat a bunch of junk food. Things like this are a trigger for me because they make me feel vulnerable like I used to in the past. I see this as more of a blip on the radar than anything to be really concerned about. Even people who are so called ‘normal’ eaters go through this on occasion.
I think the point of it is that my mind is now free from the obsession and I can think about all of the things that make me happy!
Eric used to tell me that I didn’t have any hobbies. He would always encourage me to find a hobby. He’d say, ‘Ange, you need to find something that you enjoy.’
The thing is, for years, my disordered mindset was my hobby.
It took up all of my free time. I literally had no other time in my life for real hobbies!!!!
Until now, it never occurred to me why I didn’t have any hobbies. But now I see it so clearly.
Now that I have given up the obsession, I have all of these hobbies and passions in my life:
I have running, racing, fundraising, blogging, writing, baking, advocating, helping, educating. My life is now so much fuller than it was for years.
Free your heart and your mind will follow.
That is my new mantra.
I encourage all of you who are currently trapped in a negative mindset to take steps to free yourself from it.
How does one free their mind?
This is something that I will save to talk about in another post. But, here is a good trick that helped me:
- List all of your negative thoughts on paper, cross them out, and write positive ones to replace them. Do it first thing in the morning and right before bed. I strongly suggest that you do this twice a day because when you write your list at night time, you can look and see what was worrying you in the morning. Often, you will realize that your negative thoughts had no basis whatsoever.
So now I ask you…
What are your default thoughts?
Have you ever experienced a change in your default thinking?
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson
PS. Ironically I always DID have a hobby- but it never stopped me thinking of food :-D
Angela – I really cannot wait to read your freeing the mind post. I thought I had moved past my problems with eating, but honestly my mind is still consumed often with thoughts such as what I should eat next, when I should eat, if I felt I had eaten too much that day, trying to tally up how many calories I’d eaten (even though I don’t exactly count calories). Thank you so much for that list approach. I’m trying it starting tonight.
You have found some great replacement thoughts to take the place of your old negative self talk! Sometimes it take a very conscious effort to stop a negative thought and replace it with something more productive. But it’s worth the effort.
Thank you for this amazing post! It is just what i needed to read right now.
What really resonated with me was the part about your negative thinking being your hobby – that is how things have been for me.
Very inspiring and challenging post! Thanks!
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