In my last blog post “The most powerful weight loss tool”, I talked about changing the way you think about things as a way to permanent success with food and weight.
This week I’m going to help you do that.
You need to start with observing your mind and “thinking about what you think about”.
Essentially, become aware of your automatic thoughts and thought processes around food and your body. These may be so automatic and so ingrained you don’t even realize you are thinking them. They may be so deep in your mind that they’ve become unconscious beliefs. Beliefs that run your life and go against your conscious desires and goals, without you even realizing it.
We all have them.
The good news is once you become aware of them you can change them; you can reinstall new thoughts and new beliefs that serve your dreams and goals.
So how do you become aware of them?
Look at your behavior patterns that you don’t like. Those habits around food, weight, or exercise that you are always trying to change. Reflect on what thoughts, ideas, or beliefs may have started them. Then, reflect on what thoughts, ideas, beliefs keep them going.
Perhaps start a journal just for this purpose.
Often, it’s not a clear thought, but just a feeling you get.
It could be a certain time of day or situation where you always feel a certain feeling that causes you to think a certain way or do a certain action. However, preceding a feeling is always a thought. When routine thoughts get so ingrained into your unconscious you don’t really “think” them anymore, rather your body has memorized the feeling associated with the thought. A feeling is just a chemical release in the brain from a thought, which releases a certain energy (emotion; energy in motion) and we sense that energy in the body as pleasant or unpleasant.
Somewhere way back, that memorized feeling in your body was created by a thought process.
Your work is to reflect, journal, and meditate on the feelings that cause you to do certain things, and let thoughts rise to your awareness so that you can examine them.
Once you have your list of thoughts or beliefs around food, weight, and your body, ask yourself “Is this absolutely a fact?”
The majority of the time it’s not a fact, but merely an idea or opinion that you chose to hold onto.
Then ask yourself “Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t believe this anymore?” …and… “What if there is a different way, a different belief I can take to get me to where I want to be?”
So start with awareness first, then open your mind to the possibility of a new thought and belief.
To walk you through the process, suppose in your reflection time you discover you have the belief “If I don’t skip meals, I will gain weight”. What feelings come up when you think the thought?
Also, reflect on how the thought or belief may be holding you back, and causing you unwanted behaviors and actions in your life.
Finally, open your mind and reframe the thought to something from your rational & reasoning mind that is more powerful. Something that SUPPORTS YOU and your freedom with food, such as: “If I skip meals, I might lose weight but I might even gain weight…what I know for sure is skipping meals causes me to get really hungry and I don’t get the nutrients I need. My body doesn’t like that and it rebels.”
What feelings come up when you think the new thought?
Could the new thought serve you and your long-term goals better?
Changing your mind (i.e. your thoughts and beliefs) can be uncomfortable. The brain is designed to conserve energy (glucose) by sticking to automatic habits and patterns, even if those patterns are bad for us. That is why anything new is a little bit uncomfortable.
Think back to a time in your life where you were learning something new, perhaps an instrument or a sport, or driving a car for the first time. It was probably a little frustrating at first, and maybe even scary, but because you saw the value and reward that would come by sticking with it, you kept practicing. Today you are so practiced with driving the car that it’s automatic, it doesn’t take much conscious thought.
The same for changing your thinking and beliefs, at first it takes conscious effort. But stick with it and they will become automatic and you will receive great rewards from new habits and ways of being.
New powerful thoughts and beliefs, create amazing new feelings, which create new actions that serve you, which overtime become automatic healthy habits that lead you to your dreams and goals.
P.S. If this is helpful or interesting to you, please share! : )
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