Filtering is when you pay attention to negative messages about yourself and discount positive ones. You filter out information into two categories: acceptance or rejection. When you filter, you accept negative messages and reject positive information. Filtering strengthens negative beliefs because the critical part of you uses this information to confirm characteristics you feel are bad. For example, when you look at a record of your weekly progress, you focus on the weights that went up or stayed the same, while ignoring the weights that went down, the increased energy you feel, or the inches that disappeared so that clothing is fitting better/looser.

When you only focus on poor results, you reinforce that belief that you are not capable of reaching your weight loss goals. Such self-criticism distorts your perception of reality. Of course you should be capable of reaching your goals! But if you think you can’t, your actions and results will most likely reflect it. Changes need to be made in your thinking to prevent filtering. You need to get to know your critical voice. Try to catch negative self-statements on an ongoing basis. When you hear one, create a realistic, accepting statement to replace it. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t resist sweets,” you should think, “There are healthy foods I can consume that will satisfy my sweet tooth!”

As you introduce healthier, more balanced statements and accept your perceived flaws as part of being human, your positive self-statements will become automatic. Instead of developing distorted beliefs about yourself, you can learn to accept the positive truth that you’re capable of weight loss success!