We have a bad habit of using self-criticism as a motivational tool, especially when it comes to weight loss, but not only does it not motivate, it could actually sabotage your efforts, says Vanessa Scotto, a life coach specializing in behavioral changes. "When we kick into self-critical mode, we are actually engaging the portion of our brain that's linked into our fight-flight survival reflex," she says. This increases our cortisol secretion (the "stress hormone") which in turn causes cravings for fatty and sweet foods.
Next time you find yourself in critique mode, place your hand on your heart. Just holding it there and taking a few deep breaths can help change your physiological state, silence the negativity, and allow you to look in the mirror and have a fresh experience, she says.