Live Blog: Using Your Words to Change Your Life

This session was led by Alexandra Williams, MA. @AlexandraFunfit // // //IG: AlexandraFunFit


Cognitive Therapy has an apporach called ABC that is a way of analyzing and seperating behaviors from emotions, then creating more helpful response patterns.

A: Activating Event – What happens BEFORE the belief? What triggered your response? Many times your immediate, interpretaion of the event is such a habit that it’s not longer obvious and you have to consciously try to track back to link the actual event to your immediate interpretation.

B: Beliefs – Do you have a rational or irrational belief and evaluation of the event?

C: Consequences – How you feel and what you do as a consequence of your beliefs and interpretations of the event.


According to cognitvie theory, our thinking can be distorted in 10 ways:

1. Black-and-White – Thinking or either / or thinking
2. Making Unfair Comparisons – usualy in the negative
3. Filtering – honing in on the negative, forgetting the positive.
4. Personalizing – The Self-Blame Game
5. Mind-Reading – thinking we know what others think (negatively)
6. Catastrophising – imagining the worst case scenerio
7. Overgeneralizing – “I always mess up…”
8. Confusing Fact with Feeling – “If I think or feel this way when my thoughts/feelings must be correct.”
9. Labelling – I’m a loser vs. I made a mistake.
10. “Can’t Standitis” – being unnecessarily intolerant

A does not cause C. B is the missing link, and is also the part that’s on autopilot. Identifying B will help you change your irrational beliefs to rational ones to create a new C.

According to this counseling theory, we have 3 “MUSTs” that lead us to irrational thinking:

* I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.
* Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.
*I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.


Real life example: Someone comes up to you saying, “you look different!” What do you assume they mean? Crap, I’ve gained weight, I look worse, I’m old, I’m tired, It’s been so long and I’ve changed for the worse / not succeeded. 
The key is to look at the actual facts, vs reality. Why do we automatically assume the worse? We’ve established these automatic patterns and beliefs in our mind. We’ve possibly experineced negative situations in the past, and now play out those patterns and beliefs because we believe them to be true. The good news: Our reactions and patterns are not set; they are changeable and moveable! (So let’s work on reframing our patterns and reactions!)
On reframing your thoughts:
– The world does not exist in black and white. We often swing on the thoughts of “I’m either a winner or  loser.”
– Don’t confuse facts with feelings. Example: I feel tired vs. I am a lazy person.
– Overgeneralizing: having a bad 10 minutes doesn’t mean you have a bad LIFE, you just had a bad ten minutes.
– The Always/Never trap: “I must do well, or else I’m no good.” “I must get what I want, or it’s a crap day.”
Open floor discussion:
Robbie : Fat Girl vs World
My landlord tried to evict me, and I automatically went to this RAWR place. My friends tried asking: Are you sure you want to be mad about that? I started having emotional reactions to people who didn’t immediately take “my side,” and I assigned them to teams in my head. I was geared up to fight, and fighting people who were trying to help me.
Breaking down Robbie’s response:
Activating event: being evicted
Belief: “bad person,” because of trying to fight the situation, but also that people aren’t behind you. (not the obvious b) Fear and abandonment of people in your life. Loss of a support system.
Consequence: putting friends into teams – pushing them away, being angry because they weren’t right there. New C: my friends are trying to help me, react more graciously. Let yourself say
I asked my husband “Hey, do you like shirt?” His response was, “I like you in other shirts better.” This automatically lead to the belief that “Well, I must look like crap in every shirt I ever wear. No one will like me in this shirt. Why do you hate me?” (laughs)
I find myself always making excuses for my health. When exaplining my journey, I always follow up with jokes or justification. This whole year I’ve made an effort to make a shift myself, to invest in myself and be healthy, and not just a number on the scale. When it comes up in conversation I end my response with “clearly I have a long way to go.”
I think we’re predisposed to dull our shine when engaging with other people, out of a fear of judgement.
Why do you need to justify? This is the whole other issue. I never see someone and feel the need to justify myself or explain myself. It would never occur to some, to say “I have a long way to go.” Weight and health expectations should not go hand in hand. We all know they are not nessicarily linked.
Reframing tips for when you feel yourself starting change your “but, ___” to a positive “and” statement. Make it an “i’m doing this AND I am working hard on my journey.” We have that urge and need to get in front of the judgement. We publicly judge ourselves before others can, to make it “okay.” Thousands of times a day we repeat our opinions of ourselves. You can’t move forward if you keep repeating the same old patters and words to yourself.
When talking to Margo (Nacho Mama) on the car ride down here, I asked her: How do you see yourself, since you’ve spent your life overweight? Her answer is very different than an outsider’s perspective. She’s been overweight longer than “normal” weight. The automatic beliefs from that time and those struggles are still very strong. It takes time and effort to restructure your beliefs.
One of my coworkers has 13 or 14 of her bibs in her cube, and has lost a lot of weight. A coworker, after seeing the bibs, said: “Well, if you keep running like that, you’d might lose some weight.” I was so impressed with how she handled herself/him. She didn’t react back negatively, but didn’t excuse him either.
And that guy’s reaction is his own A-B-C. Something triggered him to have that response, it has nothing to do with her. I think hat’s the hardest for us to remember: that other people have their own issues. We don’t need to personalize everything. 
You teach people how to treat you. When you say “I have a long way to go,” you’re teaching someone that it’s okay to belittle your success. Your coworker shut him down and taught him. Like Robbie said, when you shine, people will be triggered by that, and try to bring you down
Where does the line end? It’s hard to know your boundary – how much can you take on from someone before you realize “it was about you.” 
You have to have that belief, first. Like, “I lost 100lbs! You can’t say that about me, because I know this truth about myself.”
When they ask you a nosey question, answer it with a question. You can also smile and say “say more about that.” (jump in the hole you just dug!) It’s hard to being treated poorly and going into defense mode. “What do you mean? oh, let me hear more about that?”
Sometimes for me, it makes me feel worse for attacking, made me even more mad. I get comments from “How could you feel self-conscious?” to “How are you a trainer with all those stretch marks?” I let my success makes the noise. Having those confrontations/discussions was fueling my anger, ad making my drive (to succeed) be to get back at other people. It was out of the wrong place, feeling like I have to defend from the RAWR. If that’s how you feel, I can walk away. I can show you and let the actions speak for me.
It takes a lot of patience and wisdom to learn the difference between responding and reacting.
When I’m my most sensitive and feeling raw, is when my own mind is doing that to other people. Not only am I judging myself but judging other people. In my own personal growth, I’ve had to change my thoughts on other people. I have to start thinking more positive things about other people; be nicer, more open. It actually helped me a lot with my weight loss, once I shifted.
REFRAME your thoughts about yourself and others. GO OUT – when something occurs and you have an automatic emotional reaction. Here’s what they actually said, I just now had this reaction, what’s that missing piece, and then reframe it with the new words. Other challenge: today or tomorrow, make one of your tweets positive about yourself. Overly awesome tweets about yourself. When someone says “You look good, today!” Say “YES, I look adorable!” Say the things that affirm new patterns and beliefs about yourself. You CAN reframe your thoughts and beliefs.

 (Live blogged/transcribed by Emily,