Attempting to change your behaviors can be emotionally difficult, especially when it comes to your health, your well-being, and food. You have tried many diets and have tried to start many new exercise routines, only to find after a few weeks you determine; it’s not working for me, I can’t do this, and I end up feeling like a failure. It makes it hard to try another program or attempt to make changes, yet again. I’ll let you in on a secret; it’s not you that failed in the past. The old rules of deprivation, willpower, counting calories, and moderation don’t work for you. What isn’t working is that you are not addressing the underlying issue.
What is the real block to moving forward and accomplishing your goals?
What eventually crops up and keeps you from following through with your best laid plans?
Fear? Anxiety (same as fear).
You find yourself struggling, not knowing what to do or where to turn. And what you perceive as your failure only moves you toward food to lessen the pain, and the cycle continues. You learned that food will comfort you. Food will make you feel better. Or maybe you don’t even notice you are reaching for food and before you realize it you just completed the entire bag or box. Either consciously or unconsciously, we all have one version of this or another. The fear that is locked inside that holds you back.
What I’d like to offer is that you need to bring awareness, support, and compassion to your underlying beliefs in order to move through this and forward. Ignoring, having judgment against, or trying to change your belief with affirmations won’t allow the shift to occur.
Try an experiment: Make your list of what you would like to see for yourself in your life. Dream your dreams. How you would like to see yourself in three years, ten years? Take a few minutes and think about this. Write it all down. Really dream big! This is your life; you get to decide what you want it to look like.
Now sit back, take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing, nothing else, just the life force that flows inside you.
What comes up when you dream your dreams? When you put your goals to paper?
A nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach? Or a surge of profound ecstasy? Is your heart pounding or aching. Is there a voice inside your head telling you:
“I never finish anything I start so why bother.”
“I’m not good enough or have enough time to make healthy changes for myself.”
“I can’t lose weight,” “I can’t make changes,” “I’ll never change.”
“Who am I kidding; I will never be able to stick to a healthier diet or support system.”
Notice the message from whatever the source inside of you. This is key information. You won’t be able to move past the block that holds you back until you acknowledge these old tapes, thoughts, and feelings. If you continue to ignore these feelings and continue to squash them (swallow them, eat them, digest them) they will get bigger and stronger inside of you. If you continue to believe them or don’t even realize they exist they will continue to have power over you and this is when you give up. You reach for food.
When you begin to step outside of your comfort zone, when you begin to make progress in reaching your goals, your learned responses take over. Your old support system. Daily messages such as: “I really need ice cream right now,” “I need some comfort food,” “I’ve been good I deserve some goodies” … These are the old patterns that you’ve learned to replay to help you escape the negative emotions or of being out of your comfort zone. You’ve been conditioned to reach for food as your outlet. Or you have learned that eating, feeding yourself is your power.
Practice the awareness of these feelings and “the voice.” Acknowledge them. You don’t need to believe them just acknowledge them. They hold the key information to help you understand more about yourself, what drives you and controls your choices. Listen to it. Spend time exploring this? What is your underlying message that keeps you where you are and not allowing for you to move forward to where you want to be?
Stop and ask yourself: Am I really hungry? What do I really need right now? Will the ice cream/comfort food provide this for me? What will I receive from the ice cream/comfort food? What positive results will I receive from this?
Pay attention to your answer. That is the real message.
If you do decide to eat the food, that’s okay. Sit and eat it mindfully. No distractions. No driving while eating, no watching TV while eating. If you really want to eat your comfort food, just eat it and enjoy it. Taste it. Smell it. Then ask, “In the end, did I receive from this food what I thought I would?” or “After the five minutes of eating am I still where I was?” Notice, just notice.
Remember it is your life and you are the only one in charge of how it will turn out. This awareness practice is new. It will take time so be gentle with yourself. I want to invite you to continue to make your plans and follow through as best you can. You will make mistake, you will forget sometimes. You may even fall back into old patterns. This is the only way you learn and grow. This is how you learn to see how far you have come from your old self. Continue to make the changes you want for yourself, acknowledge the inner messages, know they do not have to be your truth any longer, learn to understand these messages, be human and grow.