Thursday, October 22, 2009

Susan Albers - Addressing Your Inner Critic

Ah yes, my old friend the Inner Critic (see the sidebar for some posts involving me and my critic, we go waaay back).

In this article, the topic is the critic that always tells you that you weigh too much or too little, or whatever else it might say.

Addressing Your Inner Critic

No Fat Talk Week: How to Quiet Your Inner Critic

We all have it. It's that little critical voice in your head that just won't be quiet. The inner voice questions and nit-picks, gives unfavorable commentary and has the ability to make you feel about the size of a pea.

This inner voice becomes pretty obvious the moment you slip into an outfit and stand in front of the mirror. Suddenly, the voice pipes up out of nowhere. It has a lot to say about the shape of your thighs and your nose.

What does this voice sound like? It has a similar tone to Chelsea Handler, the quick-witted, late night E! comic, who is infamous for celebrity bashing. She targets the usual topics. She pokes at their weight, makes jabs at their wardrobe and critically critiques their choice in romantic partners. While most of her commentary is tongue-in-cheek and just sarcastic in nature, you have to wonder about the poor celebrity on the other end. Chelsea has just said out loud, on TV, what that inner critical voice might be saying in the privacy of their own head (on their worst day!).

If this voice sounds familiar to you, this is a good week to start addressing it. It's national No Fat Talk Week. It begins on October 19th and ends on October 23rd. It is launched by the international sorority Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta). The purpose is to create public awareness of the damaging effect of fat talk, or talk about weight. Unfortunately, the inner critical voice loves to use the "F" word. This week is your opportunity to finally hush up the critical voice whenever it tries to slip the "f" word into the conversation. See previous blog for 5 Tips to End Fat Talk

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had an Oprah like inner voice that was compassionate, encouraging and accepting? Imagine stepping in front of the mirror and instead of hearing critical comments about your weight or the "f" word immediately jumping into your head, you accept who you are. Sure, Oprah has had weight battles. But, she doesn't judge herself for this or use the "F" word as a weapon toward herself or other people.

How to get there? We can't control when the voice pops up, but what we can take charge of is how we respond to it. Instead of nodding in agreement with the critical inner voice, begin to ask yourself, in a nonjudgmental way, why you feel that way. Notice how Oprah phrases questions toward guests. The questions are nonjudgmental and simply push people to think deeper, particularly about things that would be an easy target for judgment. She begins questions with words like this: "I'm wondering," or, "I'm curious," or, "Help me understand," or, "Explain to me."

What if you already notice the presence of your critical inner voice and want to take it one step further? The good news is that self-affirmations can help. Affirmations are positive self-statements. Yes, it may feel silly and forced. But, they are about rewiring your inner critic. It's as easy as writing down five positive self-statements and repeating them silently to yourself throughout the day. In general, repetition will help turn these thoughts into automatic statements that will bring them to mind effortlessly. You are creating a shield to help defect critical thoughts.

Does this take practice? Yes. But, in the long run you will be on your way to quieting your critical inner voice.

In honor of No Fat Talk Week, try writing out five positive self-statements to combat the inner critic when the "F" word creeps into your inner dialogue. For examples see, or 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Then, go to to sign your promise to end Fat Talk this week. They will send you daily challenges throughout this week.

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