Posted : May 30, 2017 By : Hope Epert
Ahhh, weight loss. Everybody is interested in it. It must be a billion dollar industry. There are a million different diets to try and a thousand different workouts to do. But what if the answer to your weight management was not about trying this program or that program, but more about your internal program? I’m here to suggest that the first and most important program is the one sitting on top of your two shoulders, and that we must start by deprogramming it.
If you are overweight and bothered by it, I invite you to listen to your internal dialog around your body and eating habits. Notice what negative self-talk surrounds your eating habits. Notice the judgments you place on yourself around when you eat, what you eat and how much you eat. To start with, don’t try to change anything, just observe. Sometimes witnessing our behavior is the easiest, most natural way to change it, because a good percentage of the time our negative behavior is unconscious. When we are consciously aware of our habits, thoughts, behaviors and choices then we have the power to simply choose differently, no will power needed.
Your conversations with yourself could sound something like this…
“I shouldn’t be eating this”
“I’m such a fat pig”
“I’ll never lose any weight”
After you have observed your self-talk long enough to be shocked by the way you actually talk to yourself, then it is time to decide what it is you truly want. What will losing weight get you? What’s the pay off? Is it to have more self-confidence? To have a healthy body? To feel comfortable in your own skin? To be more attractive to the opposite sex? The what and the why are the most important factors in changing undesirable behavior. You gotta want it. You gotta be hungry for it. Relentless in your focus upon it. You have to want it more than your brain wants to stay in the same comfortable pattern of powerless victim.
Once you have decided on what it is you want, you live it as if it is already your reality. You choose thoughts and self-talk that supports you in your new view of yourself. Your new internal dialog might sound something like this…
“I am always choosing the best choices for my health”
“Every decision I make gets me closer to my goal”
“I’m so proud of the person I choose to be”
You may be surprised at what a huge difference such a little mindset change can make. The brain is an incredible computer that is always looking to get you what you want. The key is sending it a clear signal to your desires. Negative self-talk will keep you stuck in a self-defeating circle. Don’t let your unconscious programming run the show.
Eating is something we need to give very little attention to in order to perform it successfully. We do it every day, usually 3 times a day. Most people can complete the task with eyes closed and their attention completely checked out. Like breathing, it is on automatic pilot.
Would being more mindful around meal times have any benefit for you? Try a few mindfulness practices for a week to see if they make a difference worth incorporating into your daily habits.
- Be aware of yourself as you sit down for a meal.
Are you hunched over your food? Do you shovel your food in as fast as you can? Do you wait until you are starving before you allow yourself to eat?
- Take a moment to check in with yourself before you begin eating.
How do you feel, physically, mentally, emotionally? Are you eating out of boredom, sadness or anger? Can you take your mind off the rest of your day and be present while you eat? Does the food that you choose for yourself give you the energy you need for the day?
- Incorporate a moment of gratitude.
How does it feel to give thanks for the food that sits in front of you? How does it feel to mentally give thanks to all the people who had a hand in getting this food to your table? The farmers, the grocery clerks, the truck drivers, the distributors.
- Meal time prayer…
‘In this food I see the whole universe support me.’ Experiment with your own prayer. Choose a prayer that feels good to you and supports your intended goal. Keep it short and sweet.
- Engage your senses.
Take in the pleasures of the food in front of you. How does it smell, look, taste? Do you enjoy the colors of your food? Does the quality of your food bring you joy?