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Unconscious Negative Thinking

Today I wanted to talk about how to recognize unconscious negative thinking patterns. This is actually a really big subject and frankly, I still catch myself ALL THE TIME!!

We don’t realize it, but negative thoughts are a big problem for us. Why? Because our thoughts create our reality. When we think a thought, and we think it often enough, our brain believes it to be true. The thought becomes a belief. And our brain will search high and low for evidence that what we believe to be true is actually true.

If you want lasting weight loss, you likely have some negative beliefs that are in your way. Tune in to discover how to find them and what to do about them!

Episode Highlights:

1:14 Our thoughts create our reality. When we think a thought and we think it often enough, our brain actually believes that it's true. The thought becomes a belief and then our brain is going to search high and low for evidence that what we believe to be true is actually true.

16:20 And always just remember that you're not one thing or another. You're everything. Your brain will just focus on whatever you tell it to focus on.

19:51 Your brain can only notice a few things. You're giving it instructions all the time. The instructions you are giving your brain to think about - that is what your beliefs are. Your beliefs are basically instructions for what to notice about the world.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:00):

You are listening to the Keep The Weight Off podcast with Dr. Angela, episode number 52.

Introduction (00:06):

Welcome to The Keep The Weight Off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discover not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27):

Hey, welcome to this week's podcast. Everyone's so glad to have you here with us. How's it going for you Marchelle?

Marchelle (00:35):

Going good. Thanks for asking. yeah. Yeah. Hi everybody.  

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:40):

Well, well today I have kind of an interesting topic. I wanted to talk about how to recognize all the unconscious negative thinking patterns that are going on in our brain. This is actually like a really big subject. And frankly, I still catch myself all the time. I think I'm like one of the, I like to, you know, I like to wear this little halo around my head and think, oh, I always just think positive thoughts, but no, we, I don't mm-hmm so you know, we don't really realize it, but negative thoughts are actually a big problem for us. Why would I say that? The reason is because our thoughts create our reality. When we think a thought and we think it often enough, our brain actually believes that it's true. And so the thought becomes a belief and then our brain is gonna search high and low for evidence that what we believe to be true is actually true.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:47):

So this is really, really interesting. I'm gonna give you an example. And then Marchelle, maybe you can give us an example from your life if you recognized it. It happens like this. So let's say that you have a coworker and you have decided your brain has told you based on what you've noticed, that your coworker is lazy. They're not a team player. They're always leaving work for other people to do. They're they come late and they leave early and they don't do their fair share of the work. So your brain believe that this coworker is lazy. So when you have a belief like this, your brain is gonna search for any kind of behavior in this person to demonstrate their laziness. See, look there she is again, showing up late, see, look there. She is again, leaving work on done. And now I have to clean up the mess.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (02:47):

And so this is what our brain is gonna show us. The truth is this person is actually both motivated and lazy because we are all, all of it. But your brain can't see that your brain can only see the lazy parts of her, because that's what you've trained your brain to look for. And then when this coworker is lazy and leaves work for you, you feel frustrated. And when you feel frustrated all the time, what do you do? You eat? Or you drink, or you ruminate. You need to do something to escape, this horrible emotion that you're feeling because of their behavior. This is what your brain's telling you, right? It's all their fault. How can you possibly lose weight when you have this coworker that's causing you so much frustration and anger, we hear these kinds of stories all the time in the clinic, right Marchelle?

Marchelle (03:38):

We do.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:41):

We do. We hear it a lot. And you know, I, oh, I was, I was gonna give you an opportunity to, do you recognize yourself in any of this? I have a, another story about this.

Marchelle (03:50):

Myself. I was gonna go a little bit deep with this, because as you were thinking about this, I started to think on I'm gonna give you an example. This is this pretty personal to me. Okay. It just happened pretty recently. Okay. And, and this is, I'm just telling this because it's how far, you know, negative self-talk can go. Ah, so my son, he recently had some issues with some depression and I noticed that a lot of what was going on with him was a lot of negative self-talk and mm-hmm, it was taking him into a really, really dark place because he believed it to be true. Mm-Hmm and I kept telling him it's not true. You're telling here's something, that's not yourself. Something that is absolutely not true. Mm-Hmm and I don't, I mean, I don't know how many of you have teenagers out there that, of course, that of been living, you know, in the last couple years or year and a half with, you know, that pandemic rules and regulations and yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:48):

It's been tough. Mm-Hmm .

New Speaker (04:49):

Yeah. And so, you know, he, he graduated from high school this last year and spent about a year and a half in, you know, isolated as mm-hmm did you know, all the kids school mm-hmm mm-hmm and started to tell himself, you know, like what really, what's the point of all of this and then started kind of turning that inward and became really fearful of, you know, growing up and transitioning, you know, from the, the, the youth to the adult, you know, type of living and mm-hmm comparing himself to other people or what he thought other people's life was like. And mm-hmm and constantly self judging and self judging and self judging. And like I said, and, and he believed it mm-hmm , even though, you know, you could tell him that's not true, but when that voice, that negative voice inside your head becomes reality, it can take you into a really dark place.

Marchelle (05:47):

And mm-hmm . And so it's, yeah, this is a really important subject because it's, it is, you know, it's, it goes far beyond, you know, just weight loss or mm-hmm , you know, don't eat that donut mm-hmm we, you know, we constantly judge ourselves, which, and a lot of us women do that. Mm-Hmm you know, like your, your nose is too big, you know, your hair is too short. Your face is too this, your body's too that and which, you know, also sometimes leads to eating disorders. Mm-Hmm because we listen to that negative self-talk and so this is a really important subject. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:25):

Yeah. So it's really interesting because we don't recognize that we're doing this it's sort of unconscious, and we don't really recognize that we have a choice. So none of us knows that we're thinking these things, we just think that this is just the way it is. Right. But then we are actually creating this reality for ourselves because of the thoughts that we're thinking and the things that we tell our brain to focus on, and then we'll end up blaming the circumstances for our struggle. Instead of recognizing that it wasn't the circumstance per se, it was our thoughts and the direction that we gave our brain to be focused in that is what's creating our results. So I wanna just presence right away that it takes a lot of courage to be willing to look at this. And we talked last week about doing hard things. This is one of those hard things that it takes courage to look at this. It's not easy to imagine that really I'm creating a reality for myself that I don't like. And I can't really believe that I would do this to myself, but we do, we do it all the time. Right. And so it's so interesting now I've never had…

Marchelle (07:46):

It. Yeah. It's very, oh, sorry. I'm no, it's fine. Go ahead to you. I was gonna say, and I, and I don't, it's interesting that it's so hard to to, to talk to yourself positively. rather than negative, that being negative comes very natural. I mean, for me, at least mm-hmm and turning that around it's it's work. Yeah. And you have to be like really conscious in, of what's going on in your mind because mm-hmm , it is so breezy for me to automatically, oh, you didn't do that good enough. Yeah. Or, oh, you could have done that better.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:20):

Well, you know, some of that is our survival brain, our survival brain. The reason that we survived was because we were making constant judgements and constant judgements about ourselves and, and that's what kept us safe. So you don't wanna feel bad about it. Just, just recognize It. It''s like, whoa, oh, wait a minute. There goes my, yeah. I can see survival brain

Marchelle (08:43):

Yeah. Sometimes even some patients come into the clinic and they they do so well. And, but because, you know, cause you ask, 'em not to get on the scale. Right. Mm-hmm and so they really have no idea, you know, like how well they've done mm-hmm but they come into the clinic automatically thinking that they didn't do good enough. Yeah. Without even knowing first, you know, mm-hmm and they, they immediately start to get defensive or start to make excuses, you know, mm-hmm well, you know, I had this, the struggle that struggle, and then they then they get on the scale and they did really, really well. And it's shocking to them. Mm-Hmm because they're so used to putting such high standards on themselves that they automatically think they failed. They automatically didn't do good enough. And yeah. And yeah, and it's, it's just interesting how we do that so easily.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:37):

We do!

Marchelle (09:38):

But we wouldn't do it to other people. Like, you know, you wouldn't do that to your best friend. No. You know, you're all, you know, like you want, you give your friend support if they, you know, if they don't do so well at, at something and they talk to you about it, you know, but at least I do. I'm like, oh no, it's, you're good. You know, and you try to give them support and you know, and comfort and love. And yet we have a hard time doing that with ourselves.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:03):

I know , I, I notice a lot of negative thinking in myself and it was interesting, you know, because I've never had an issue with a lazy coworker, but, but I was coaching one of our students in the membership the other day. And frankly, I could have been talking to myself when I was talking to her, she was telling me about all the things she had to do, all the things she wanted to do, all the things she had to do. And she said, she felt completely ineffective at getting any of it done. And it's so interesting because I feel that, I feel that way, a lot myself, is this feeling of just like being constantly overwhelmed and ineffective. It's a really awful feeling to have. So here I am judging myself, right? Just like what you were talking about. Mm-Hmm remember that our thoughts create our feelings.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:53):

And so what we did was we trace her thoughts back to the root thought. Now we all have a lot of thoughts. We have like 60,000 thoughts a day. And this is where a coach can really help you to look objectively at your own brain to figure out what exactly is this brain of yours thinking. And when we traced her thoughts back, her root thought was, I can't seem to get organized. And her brain was constantly thinking this thought, I can't seem to get organized. I can't seem to get organized. And you know, I have to be really honest here because I think this thought a lot, like I consider myself to be a pretty positive person, but when we're not getting the results we want, you can bet there's some sort of unconscious negative thought pattern that's in the way. And for her, and for me, it's this thought that I just can't seem to get organized.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (11:46):

I can't, no matter what I do, I can't get organized. So we think this thought and without even realizing it, and we give our brains, the instructions go find all the ways that show that I can't seem to get organized. oh, look, there's a stack of papers on that desk. See, I can't get organized. Oh, wait, I missed another yoga class. See, I can't get organized or look, I just got a past due notice on bill. See, I can't seem to get organized and on and on and on it goes. And your brain is not gonna show you all the times that you were organized all the times that you got to an appointment on time, all the bills that you did pay on time, all the projects that you got done at work, it's only gonna show you all the ways that you can't seem to get organized. Well, isn't that interesting how our brain does this?

Marchelle (12:37):

yeah. It's this is a really, really deep subject. I mean like yeah. You know, I was, I, I just started counseling and I'll put it out there. I just started counseling just specifically for this type of issue. It's it's trying get past the negative self talk and yeah. Kind of dig deeper and figure out, you know, where it comes from. Yeah. And learn how to, cause I mean, I, I mean, I have no idea it, but I don't necessarily know why. Right. And I've struggled with it and you know, also, you know, to just follow up on this so my son started counseling for, for that same thing. Mm-Hmm and he sat, you, you know, hates sad to do some work just to even recognize what was going on. Cause you know, he's, he's still youngster and well,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:22):

If his brain is saying, I'm not good enough, if his brain is telling him I'm not good enough, he's gonna look for all the ways to show, to prove that to himself.

Marchelle (13:29):

Right. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So so we're, so we're doing deeper work and you know, cause we're trying to figure out yeah. Where it comes from. Mm-Hmm how we can change it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:41):

Yeah, exactly. You know? It's interesting because you can watch your brain do this. You can watch other people's brains doing this on social media all the time.  

Marchelle (13:52):

So yeah. It's so funny too. Cause if you were to do to somebody else, like how I talk to myself, if I was to talk to somebody else like that, like one of my friends. Yeah. I, I would be the biggest jerk. Yeah. You know, people would think I was such a jerk because you just don't treat someone else like that and you don't talk to somebody else like that, but I don't have a single problem talking to myself like that every day.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:14):

Yeah. Yeah. And well, and then, you know, like if you're on social media and you what will happen on social media is your brain is looking for evidence to prove itself, right? And then the social media algorithms will notice what you focus on. And they're only gonna you posts or ads that agree with the things that you've already shown interest in. So like social media algorithms are like these these filters as well, that will just filter out out of all the possible things that they can show you. They're just gonna show you those things that, that you have told it that you are interested in seeing. So mm-hmm, , it's very, very interesting. I think that awareness of how your brain works is going to reap huge benefits. So if you are experiencing things in your life that you don't wanna experience, it might help to see what you can do to discover the root thought, the instructions that you're giving your brain, as it filters through all the possible things that there are to show you in the world, what are you training it to focus on?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (15:30):

Okay. Now, one thing I have to say here is that as you start thinking about this and noticing these thought patterns, it's really, really easy to judge ourselves when we notice how much negative thinking we're doing. So here's some powerful advice for you. Don't do that. remember that it's perfectly normal. It's not really helpful, but it's a normal human brain at work. So no self-judgment about negative thinking is allowed. Just, you just wanna notice what your brain is doing. If you start judging yourself, then you're gonna just tell your brain to focus on a new thought. Like I'm a, a negative thinker and your brain's gonna find evidence for that too. right. So your brain's always gonna just find evidence to prove what you tell it is true. Okay. And always just remember that you're not one thing or another you're everything. You're all of it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:26):

Sometimes you're lazy. Sometimes you're motivated sometimes you're enthusiastic. Sometimes you are not, you know, so everybody's all of it. Sometimes you're depressed. Sometimes you're happy. Everybody's all of it. So your brain will just focus on whatever you tell it to focus on. Now here's another hint. When you discover that you're eating something that you didn't plan to eat and off plan is called buffering. We're using food or alcohol as a distraction so that we don't have to feel our negative emotions and that's called buffering. So when you're buffering, this is an excellent opportunity to do some work. What negative emotion might you be trying to avoid? And then go deeper thought is causing that negative emotion. Cause remember that your thoughts create emotion and emotion, dries behavior. If you're buffering the root cause of your buffering is a thought error. And you need to figure out what that thought is so that you can notice it and correct it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (17:31):

Does that make sense?

Marchelle (17:33):

Yes, it does. Yeah.

New Speaker (17:36):

Well sometimes you need to do a thought download. So what that means is you just write everything down on a piece of paper, a thought, download, just write it all down. And once thoughts are on a piece of paper and I like to just take it line by line, why write one thought on one line and another thought on another line and just write all these thoughts down and you can look at them objectively it's and this is like a different part of your brain. That's gonna look at your thinking. You're gonna find all kinds of thoughts that are driving your negative emotion. You might have a thought I a competent, or I'm not good enough, or I should do this, or I shouldn't do that. Remember I talked in a previous podcast that I've got a lot of, I have to thoughts, right? Remember that I have to do this. I have to do that. Whatever it is, your buffering is your clue that you have some thought investigation to, does that make sense?

Marchelle (18:31):

Just so then what you're saying is that the more you work on this and do some thought modification, mm-hmm the less, you're probably gonna want to buffer.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:44):

Yeah. One of the secrets to lasting weight loss. .

Marchelle (18:49):

See, this is more than food choices people!

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:50):

Find the root cause!

Marchelle (18:52):

Huh? So this is more than just food choices. People. Yes. This is deep  

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:59):

Yep. One of the secrets to lasting weight loss is to stop buffering and learn how to manage your emotions without food and figure out what kinds of thoughts you're thinking that you don't even know. You're thinking a lot of us like, like that whole example of somebody, you know, with a lazy coworker, a lot of us have a lot of people in our lives that, you know, we just have negative thoughts about, and we just expect negative things from them. And you know, we think they trained us to think like this , but the truth is we trained our brains to think like this. So not everybody in the world sees the same thing in any other person. So there might be somebody that sees this person that you think is so awful and absolutely loves and adores them because they have different thoughts about them.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (19:51):

So it totally depends on what you're thinking and what instructions you're giving your brain to filter out out of all the things that your brain can can notice in the world. Your brain can only notice a few things. And so you're giving it instructions all the time. So what instructions are you giving your brain to think about and that what your beliefs are, your beliefs are basically instructions for what to notice about the world. And if you're noticing things that are causing you to feel negative emotion that you don't wanna feel anymore, then what you can do is go back and ask yourself. Well, do I wanna really, do I really wanna keep thinking this thought, do I really wanna keep thinking that my coworker's lazy when it causes me this much problem? Like maybe she's not as lazy as I think she is. Maybe there's more to her, right. So, right. So this is how we evolve. This is how we grow. And again, this is why I love the weight loss journey. And I love going deep on the weight loss journey and getting the food out of the way so that we can really understand what's happening in our brain. It's awesome.

Marchelle (21:00):

Yeah. This is good stuff. But if you're saying that one that you want us to, you know, do a thought download and start writing stuff down. If you see me carrying around a notebook at work. Yeah. From here on out. Cause I'm probably gonna have to do a lot of writing yeah,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:16):

Yeah, exactly. yeah. It's great. It's a great idea.

Marchelle (21:21):

Yeah. That's, that's a lot of thought because I have a lot of negative thoughts throughout the day that I don't realize I probably even have. mm-hmm  

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:28):

Yeah, yeah. Everybody does. It's so normal. Everybody does. So, you know, we help you with all of this in the membership. We're here for you. And if you want help join our empowered weight loss membership, it starts with the 30 day Done With Dieting Bootcamp. And, and we, I teach you everything that I teach our patients in terms of what to eat, how to eat, how to think about your weight loss, how to let go of dieting. Remember it's called Done With Dieting. So how to let go of all of that dieting, craziness, and start learning how to eat properly, how to fuel your body properly. And then we help you when you, you notice that you're eating things that actually aren't all that good for you. And then we help you figure out what are you thinking? And it's just, it's just such, such a transformative journey. So I would encourage you head over to and sign up and we will see you all in the membership. Okay. And any other comments Marchelle?

Marchelle (22:30):

I was gonna say, do yourself a favor, sign up, sign up, give, give yourself a chance to change your life. Exactly. And it's, I'm gonna do it again. This, this session. Yeah. I need to do it more than once cuz I'm so, oh yeah,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (22:46):

We all do. We all do. All right. Werll take care everyone. And we will see you next week. Bye now.

Marchelle (22:52):

All right. Bye everybody.

Conclusion (22:54):

Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way. Just head over to to sign up. Also, it would be awesome if you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes. Thanks! And we'll see you in Journey Beyond Weight Loss.

--- End of Transcription ---

Dr. Angela



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