All women that go on a diet and try to get fitter, usually fool themselves that they are the only once facing a certain challenge – that nobody else goes through the same thing. They think that the problem is just in them and that it is always them that do things in the wrong way. This is so far from the truth and if more people could realize that the path we walk on is similar and that we all go through the same things – it is just the scenario and the actors that are different – the faster we would be free from the self-blame.
I work, online, with a woman who used to tell me how she can’t do it; how she is not persistent and that she even wonders why she asked me for help, when she knows her own self. I encouraged her to try, because I’ve seen her train in the IFS gym and I used to know that she is capable, yet she has a twisted view on herself – i.e. she doesn’t see how much she can and instead she often tells herself that she is not enough. I wanted to be the observer that will reflect her capabilities and that will show her that she actually can. A month went by and she has pretty good results and every time she says she can’t believe it is happening. Yesterday, she wrote me the message below – there we go – the doubts are back again. The doubts that often visit when we reach a certain level of progress. The doubts that are trying to make us quit the new and the unknown and take us back to the security of the old habits.
“Now is probably the toughest moment on the path of change… I’ve been here before. The visible results are here. People start congratulating me and telling me that I have lost weight and here starts the biggest problem. I start calming down and instead of getting motivated even more, I allow the old habits to cripple back and I am scared that I will once again slip back.
And I need to get more conscious and not give in right now. Please, give me an advice how to not let the old habits come back.”- E.T.
I am using her words, because they reflect precisely what is happening in the life of so many people. I wanted to use the reply to her, in order o answer all of you who are going through the same thing and having guilt for it. The reply is to all of you, who still haven’t found a way to deal with doubts and the echo of the old habits, which is fooling you and directing you falsely.
Going through something similar is completely normal. We need to realize that an old habit is just a mean/ a tool of the mind to deal with something in the present. Habits are the structure on which we build our day. Habits give us security and for the mind, the body and survival, security is need number one. It takes time, a certain amount of effort and consciousness, to calm down the mind and the body that the new lifestyle and the change are not a threat and they are something that will help us feel even better.
In moments like this, self- analyzes help a lot, yet most people do not do them. It seems funny, and you have no idea how much it helps – when you write something and you shape it in words, as if you can see “the enemy and the friend.” t feels as if, they materialize and they are no longer the imaginary fears and desires, that you fight without result, but they are already something real.
In moments like this, it is time to sit down and write some things – really write them down. Take a list of paper and divide it in two. On one side write “healthy” and on the other “unhealthy”. Then, every line divide in two. On one side, write “the positives and the negatives” and on the other “positives and negatives”. It is really important to write your own positives and negatives – just the way you feel and think them, and not the positives and negatives that society, media and text books impose on us.
Then ask yourself “What is it that stops me from having more variety with healthy eating and how could I add more choices to the healthy lifestyle?”
Then answer and you will find a lot of answers and real opportunities that you didn’t suggest you had. Because, few people realize how important it is, how you formulate the questions. Good questions, contain half of the answer. If you ask yourself: “Why I do not like healthy eating?”, then your brain will take out the reasons why you do not like healthy things. If you ask “how could I start liking healthy eating”, then your brain will start looking for possibilities. It is just the same as the search tool on your computer – what you search for is what you find.
Another “positive”: “When I eat unhealthy, I can socialize more.”
The question: “How could I socialize more, even when I eat healthy?”
Another “positive”: “I love desserts.”
The question: “Could I eat desserts, when I eat healthy?” And here you could answer – “Yes, I just need to prepare it by myself and include real and healthy ingredients.”
Keep on going like that and you will see that the 20-30 minutes you take to do this, will show you a lot of opportunities that you didn’t know you had. You will find out what are the convictions that are stopping you and then you will traverse them.
For example, we often have the conviction that healthy eating is boring, plane, deprives us and so forth. All of this sounds like a threat in the brain and it is normal to have a constant fight with it. But if you decide that this is wrong and that there is a way to be different, then you can start finding opportunities and realizing that change towards a healthier lifestyle, does not deprive you, but instead it just makes you feel better.
Do not postpone it. Take out the list and you will see that you will find some convictions that are making you slip back. Everything is in the mind and you need to understand how your old self, in one way or another is just a strategy of your mind to cope with something you fear. Thank you, E.T. for inspiring me to write this post.