inner critic causing weight gain

If you struggle with your weight, you may have labeled yourself as “good” or “bad” based on the food you eat or your weight. That’s your inner critic talking!

You might say things like:

  • I was SO bad this week. I ate a ton of cookies.
  • I was really bad this week, I’m up a couple pounds.
  • I was so good this week, all I ate was vegetables.
  • I was good this week, I lost a pound.

It might seem like no big deal to talk like this about yourself, but the truth is that judging yourself as good or bad based on the food you eat, or the number on the scale, can sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Your Thoughts and Words Affect Your Emotions

Imagine yourself as a small child.

Next, imagine you just ate something that your adult self would consider “bad.” Maybe it was several cookies, or a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream.

Now, imagine your adult-self telling your child-self how “bad” she is. Go ahead and be a little harsh with your words. You might say things like:

  • Wow, I can’t believe you ate all that. You were pretty bad today.
  • Don’t you know you shouldn’t eat chocolate? What’s wrong with you?
  • You know you shouldn’t be eating that, right? It’s just going to show up on the scale.
  • You blew it. Why did you do that?

How did this make you feel? How did it make your child-self feel?

Chances are neither of you are feeling very good about this. You might feel sad, angry, ashamed and defensive. And you’re probably NOT inspired to eat a carrot right about now!

If you’re judging yourself as “bad” based on your food choices, either consciously or subconsciously, you’re likely stirring up some emotions that feel uncomfortable. The next thing you know you’re in the pantry or raiding the fridge, looking for “something” to help you feel better.

Your Emotions Also Affect Your Physical Body

In addition to feeling bad and causing you to eat to feel better, your emotions can also trigger what is called the stress response that causes you to gain weight.

Emotional stress affects your physiology by triggering the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline contribute to weight gain, digestive issues, memory and concentration problems, and anxiety.

I tell my clients that eating food under the influence of guilt and shame, which is what happens when you tell yourself you are “bad” because of your food choices, is a recipe for disaster.

The extra cortisol and adrenaline make it nearly impossible to lose weight and they actually cause weight gain.

How Can We Change This Behavior?

Doing the above visualization with your child-self gave you some valuable insight into how much your thoughts and words can affect your body and your ability to lose weight.

This is a great first step!

Now, let’s use some positive words so you can experience what it feels like to be more kind to yourself.

Try saying these positive phrases below, even if they don’t feel true just yet.

  • I’m a really good person, regardless of what I eat.
  • My food choices don’t define my worthiness.
  • Food is just food, and what I eat doesn’t make me good or bad.

What did you notice?

Maybe you felt peaceful. Or calm. Or loved.

Most likely you did not feel the same negative emotions you felt when you were being critical of yourself.

The truth is that you’ve got to silence your inner critic to lose weight. It takes some practice, but it’s definitely possible!

My clients who “turn off” their inner critic and “turn on” their inner coach are losing weight and you can do this too!

If you want to learn how to be your best inner coach so you can lose weight, watch this short 4-minute video.  


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you always struggled to silence your inner critic? What does this voice tell you? Have you tried to be more kind to yourself?