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What's Your Explanatory Style?
March 26, 2013

thinnerisms wave

There are no losers in life, only people who think they are.

Change is hard. Human beings are hardwired to resist change. Once patterns like emotional eating are established, they can be hard to break. The longer a pattern has been in our lives, the harder it is to change it because it becomes an automatic reaction. The original reason why we began to overeat may be long gone, but once it has become a default pattern in our lives, it takes time and patience to undo it.

We have to be determined to continue moving forward because setbacks and relapses are common in the beginning. This can be discouraging. This is why real commitment is needed. Otherwise, we will give up as soon as we have a relapse or a setback.

Life has a way of meeting our expectations. In order to succeed, we need to develop the right mindset. If we think we can succeed, we’re often right. If we think we can’t, we’re usually right as well.

Weight loss masters are people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off for over 3 years. They are a minority. One thing that weight loss masters share is that they do not get discouraged easily, they tend to be optimistic about their chances for success. The major difference between the losers and the winners in the weight loss game is that the winners keep going after setbacks; they pick themselves up and get back on track. Action, optimism, persistence and consistency are the keys to winning this game!

Unsuccessful losers get discouraged easily and tell themselves they are failing, so why bother to try. They are masters at shooting themselves in the foot before they can build the momentum that keeps moving them towards the finish line of success. They take obstacles and setbacks personally, and view it as evidence they are failures which injures their fragile egos and makes them feel so badly that they decide to give up.

These people have a pessimistic explanatory style. An explanatory style is what you tell yourself when things go wrong in your world. People with this negative style take setbacks and mistakes personally, meaning it’s all about them. Obstacles, mistakes, and setbacks are seen as proof of their defectiveness, not something outside of themselves that they can learn to manage or learn from. People with this style are prone to depression and other illnesses.

They are often perfectionists who can’t live up to their own unrealistic standards. No one could. This just makes them even more pessimistic about their chances to succeed. Then they tell themselves, “Why bother?” “What’s the point?” “I’m no good at this!”

They are left at the starting gate or in the middle of the race whimpering and wounded. They cry, “What’s wrong with me?” “I’m such a failure!”  Filled with shame and guilt, they are caught in the downward spiral of failure.

The truth is they have what it takes; all they lack is an understanding of the dynamics of change and the process of personal growth and transformation. Frustrated, they quit too soon and never get to experience a sense of mastery. Once they learn how to weather a few setbacks successfully, they can easily develop the confidence and momentum to keep going in the right direction.

If you recognize yourself in any of this, you will need to change your explanatory style so that you too can become a successful weight loss master.

Do you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong? Do you lament, “If only I _________, or “It’s all my fault.” “Why didn’t I?” or “What’s wrong with me?” or “I’m so stupid, fat, pathetic or  ___________.”

A successful weight loss master has an optimistic explanatory style and sees failure as simple feedback. They use it to alter their course by asking these questions:

What can I learn from this?

How can I do better next time?

Are my goals and thinking realistic?

Am I setting my sights too high or too low?

How can I reframe this so that I can see it in a positive light?

These are empowering questions to ask. These questions lead to solutions, not feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy and failure.

Begin to notice what you tell yourself when you slip, make a mistake, encounter obstacles, or have a temporary setback. What kind of story do you tell yourself? Is it empowering or is it negative, victimizing and self-defeating?

Reframe negatives into positives. Each time you catch yourself, turn it around. You will feel so much better and you will develop the momentum and courage to keep moving forward.

You can’t let setbacks, obstacles and relapses stop you. It is not evidence that you are failing; it’s evidence that you are imperfect, human, and in the learning curve, like everyone else.

The only real failure in life is not to try. The weight loss winners struggle just as much, it’s just they just tell themselves it’s ok to stumble and make mistakes, because it is part of the process; everyone slips up now and then. Then they get back on track.

Successful people don’t sit around and whine about how hard it is, they look for solutions and then they implement them. They are focused on the path ahead of them, not what they did or didn’t do in the past. They learn from their mistakes.

Now that you’ve identified your explanatory style, you’ve got some explaining to do!

Are you ready to ditch the stinkin' thinking and develop the right mindset for weight loss and emotional eating recovery? If you can successfully overcome your eating and weight challenge, you can master any challenge in life. How you do food is how you do life!®  Contact me for a free consultation!


Feast For the Eyes - Photo by Catherine L. Taylor

Inspirational Quotes, Reflective Questions and Thoughts by Catherine L. Taylor

  • Each day and every moment is another chance to start over and get it right.

  • The problem is in the past, the solution is in the present; the future will take care of itself as long as you live fully in the present.

  • The next right step is the one right in front of you. Let the rest go. Looking too far ahead will stop you in your tracks.

  • Wallowing in what you did or didn’t do just keeps you stuck in the problem, and for many people that is actually preferable over moving forward.

  • Why do we self-sabotage? Because then we get to be right about ourselves.  When we change our expectations, our lives change!

Want daily weight loss, wellness inspiration and affirmations? Follow me on twitter and Facebook!

Weekly Affirmations

I expect to win this game.  

I am open and optimistic

I have staying power.

I can endure any obstacle and setback.

I learn from my mistakes.

I am open to feedback.

Read more about affirmations here.

Is emotional eating keeping you from losing weight and living the life you want? Are you ready to master your weight and your life?

If so, you may be a candidate for coaching. Coaching can make the difference between success and failure.

I have found that people who struggle with food and emotional eating are released from that prison once they learn the skills of mindful awareness and mindful eating, emotional self-nurturing, developing a spiritual or meditation practice, and learning to set appropriate limits and goals.

This turns off the urge to overeat and engage in other compulsive behaviors. When you feel better, you eat better! I have walked this path myself, and it has led me to peace and freedom.

The goal of my coaching is to create a lighter, balanced, healthier, nourishing and joy-filled life. You will begin to see results in all areas of your life because How You do Food is How You do Life!®

I coach and mentor people in the areas of: permanent weight loss, food addiction, compulsive, emotional overeating, binge eating recovery, creative self expression, spiritual direction, mindfulness, meditation, self care and stress management, self esteem and body image issues.

Note: My work is spiritually focused, not religious, and fits with any belief system you may have, even agnostic. My work assumes that you have all the wisdom and answers you need inside of you.

What you call this place -- God, intuition, Higher Power, inner wisdom, or True Self -- is up to you. I am simply a guide bringing you back to the truths that are already inside of you.

If you want to know more about why and how coaching works click


Contact me for a free consultation!

I hope you have enjoyed my newsletter. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I love to hear what's working for you and read about your success stories.

Many Blessings,


Catherine L. Taylor's
How You do Food is How You do Life!®

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