On Intuition, Part 2

In my last post, I stated that one of the most powerful ways to block access to inner guidance is by adhering to a too-rigid idea of what ‘counts’ as intuition. Obviously, I learned this the hard way. Another surefire way to turn our backs on intuition is by resisting the messages we do receive… or by fearing those that we might receive. As Lauren Aletta of Inner Hue states: 

“When we deny our intuitive insight and guidance we are weakening our entire being. We are also actively distrusting ourselves. This begins to create “walls” between ourselves and our higher guidance, blocking further supportive information and insight.”  –Lauren Aletta, Soul School Monthly (February 2015– p. 5), my emphasis added

Um… I have also learned this the hard way.

My cosmic radio dial of attunement!

My cosmic radio dial of attunement!

Etched on my soul somewhere is a figurative radio dial. Let’s pretend that I can turn this dial and consciously tune into whichever energetic station I choose. Let’s also imagine that The Intuition Station is at the far end of the frequencies, meaning I have to turn my dial through a whole lot of other stations before I can reach my preferred, clear and clairvoyant channel.

For many reasons and countless years, in spite of my best intentions, I couldn’t bring myself to turn that dial all the way. Instead, I stayed stuck on the Static, Confusion, and Resistance channels, publicly bemoaning how horrible it was (the noise!), but secretly fearing what might be in store for me if I ever mustered enough courage to tune in fully to my Intuition.

Like many people, I was decidedly scared of what my Intuition might say to me or ‘tell me to do’.

What if it made me shirk all of my worldly possessions (not to mention my beloved husband) and live a life of chastity and monastic poverty? That would be terrible! What if I needed to become a university professor and, for inexplicable reasons, conduct research experiments involving fruit flies and standard deviations? Oh, the horrors! What if my Intuition told me (gulp) to move back to Calgary, Alberta? Ack– I couldn’t handle that! And so– all joking aside– fear kept my radio dial firmly in place, blocking me from receiving my intuitive guidance for decades…

I finally resolved to face my Intuition with bravery– ‘finally’ as in ‘just this January’– choosing to trust that it operates only for my benefit and highest good, nuns and fruit flies notwithstanding. It helped that I had already selected Trust as my word of the year, because I started to ask myself with curiosity, How can I attune myself to the frequency of ‘Trust’? How can I align my actions and my very cells with ‘Trusting’? Part of what came to me through this exploration was the idea of inviting my intuition back in and taking small, resonant actions on the inner guidance I received.

IMG_0318I certainly didn’t want to perpetuate a state of active distrust within myself or to continue rejecting my intuition with force, so I took a deep breath, found some stillness within my heart, and told my Intuition:

I’m ready.

After years of putting up a shield in misguided defense against my intuition, clairvoyant insights didn’t suddenly flood in to my consciousness with a Whooosh! (I might need a little warming up, too, if I was your friend Intuition and I hadn’t been confided in, consulted, or actually listened to for years.) Hazy sensations started to come through relatively quickly, though, and I resolved to heed them as best I could.

One of the biggest nudges I received was to start writing on my blog again. (Also: Consistently.) I was coaxed to ‘pick a topic’ and– after some melodramatic, full-body resistance on my part– I settled on the one theme that actually frightened me the most: conscious weight loss. (Honestly, venturing to write about weight at all represented a gigantic leap of faith on my part, let alone positioning myself as someone who had anything of value to offer in that regard. But I did it, and through the complimentary coaching sessions I’ve led so far, I’ve realized that ‘hey! I can actually be supportive and helpful to women on this path. Who knew?’)

Intuition isn’t static energy, though.

One of the steepest learning curves I’ve encountered on this budding intuitive journey of mine is the need to stay open and flexible to course corrections along the way.

I’m not going to lie: this has not been easy for me. Academically Trained Me is accustomed to setting goals, making plans, and then sticking to the program, come hell or high water. Changing course, to Academic Me, has a bitter flavor to it– a subtle undercurrent of ‘failure’ or ‘being incorrect’, both of which conditions Academic Me fears and abhors.

The true challenge on this path to intuition has been trusting: fiercely, earnestly, and continually. (Go figure, right? I must have intuitively selected Trust as my word of the year after all…) Many of the intuitive nudges I receive either don’t seem to make (logical) sense or they actively fly in the face of conventional wisdom… or both. But I am staying open and being flexible in my approach. (Trying to, at least!)

header 1260 x 240On a practical level, here are three ways that I have chosen to re-align myself and my budding business, based on the inner guidance I have received:

1. I am expanding my area of focus beyond conscious weight loss in coaching sessions. It didn’t take long (at all) to realize that my soul was feeling boxed in by this singular topic of expertise, so I am now offering coaching on big dreams and gigantic goals in general. (Weight loss is still included in this broader category, just so you know. And yeah. Even though every single business class and book in the world tells you to zero in on a very specific niche, and even though my mind is slightly horrified at the idea of ‘not doing what the teachers recommend’, my spirit needs to fly higher and freer than that. I’d love for you to join me, if this feels like a fit.)

2. As somebody who thrives on communication and soulful connections with others, I can’t believe I am actually saying this next thing: I have decided to close comments on all new posts and pages, at least for the time being. (!!) During meditation, I kept receiving an image of an electrical circuit (a la junior high science class)– but it was one that was leaking energy in a big way. If you showed me an actual electrical circuit diagram today– even a painfully simple one– I doubt I could correctly interpret it, but the message of the image I saw in my mind was clear: I need to close this circuit in order for the energetic current to flow optimally between us. By closing comments on my posts, there will be no pressure or leaks on either end. As a reader, you won’t have to ‘prove’ that you’ve stopped by or feel compelled to validate my words with a comment or a ‘Like’. Ahhhhh….. Feels good, right? As a writer as well, I can express myself more freely and openly, not panning to the comment count or some equally ridiculous measure of ‘success’. Ahhhhhh….. Feels better already. So… yes. Comments are now closed until my intuition lets me know otherwise. :)

3. I’m going to start charging for my services! A novel concept, yes? I will still honor complimentary coaching sessions until the end of March for people who’d like to test the waters without necessarily taking the plunge of financial investment. Starting in April, however, I’ll be sticking a big ol’ price tag on my coaching, EFT sessions, and oracle card readings, as a way of honoring myself and the value I’m providing.

Whew! See what happens when you let intuition back in? To summarize, this is what ‘being intuitive’ looks like for me:

  • having the courage to open my intuitive channels, even if I am apprehensive about the guidance I might receive
  • trusting! (myself, the universe, the process, everything.)
  • committing to honoring the messages I receive from my inner guidance, even those (and perhaps especially those) that don’t seem to make ‘sense’ on a logical level
  • taking small, aligned actions in the direction of my guidance
  • being willing to course-correct as needed

Thank you for being a part of this journey with me! Although comments on new posts are now closed, if you feel compelled to reach out, you can still do so via e-mail, Instagram, or Facebook. Much love to you! xx

The Power of Negative Thinking

AffirmationAre you familiar with affirmations? I’m assuming that you are, but in the unlikely event that you have been immune to a little something known as the Self Help Movement for the past three decades, affirmations are succinct statements that reflect positive conditions, qualities, and circumstances we wish to be true in our lives. They are usually worded in the first-person and present-tense, e.g. I am healthy, wealthy, and wise. More often than not, affirmations are written down, spoken aloud, stuck on post-it notes around the house, and repeated frequently. Some other examples of affirmations include: It’s easy and natural for me to weigh 125lbs. I attract loving relationships into my life. My income is constantly increasing.

Using affirmations can bring about powerful healing and personal transformation, no doubt… but this is not always the case. Many people who try affirmations end up frustrated (and with a lot of dusty post-it notes to toss in the recycling bin, too) when those magical sentences don’t seem to bring equally magical results, no matter how many times they are repeated with earnest in front of the mirror.

Why do affirmations work sometimes but not always? Why do some people succeed with affirmations but other people do not?

The answer boils down to one simple factor: what we (truly) believe.

What do you truly believe?

What do you truly believe?

Consciously, we might really want to be slender and gorgeous. (Who wouldn’t, right?) Consciously, we might burn with excitement at the thought of rolling in money and enjoying outrageous levels of wealth. (Yeah, hello!) Consciously, it makes total, perfect sense to wish for vibrant health, a soulmate who practically shimmers with angelic perfection, and maybe a well-behaved Golden Retriever to boot. (Look at how picture-perfect my life is!) Health, wealth, family, career, confidence, relationships, spirituality– check. Our conscious, rational minds deem all of these things to be desire-worthy.

But what about our subconscious minds?

Are they also on board the luxury yacht of our conscious intentions, dreams, and goals for ourselves? Do our subconscious minds really believe it’s possible for us to attain washboard abs, a golden tan, a private jet, a jaw-dropping partner, and an adorable dog?

Well, if your day-to-day existence isn’t quite a carbon copy of your lofty affirmations, then the answer is, ah… no. (I’m sorry to break your heart.)

Like a giant refrigerator humming in the background of our lives, our subconscious minds run up to 95% of our cognitive activities and programs each day, at a rate that is up to a million times more powerful than our conscious minds. All of this happens on auto-pilot, too, or just barely in the periphery of our awareness. Our subconscious programs develop very early on in life, usually settling into distinctive patterns by the time we are six or seven years old. (See Bruce Lipton’s mind-blowing work on epigenetics for more stats.) What this means is that our subconscious beliefs and programs totally trump our conscious intentions, at a rate and a magnitude that is almost embarrassing. So much for “intelligent beings”, right?

Going back to affirmations now– these are consciously crafted, carefully worded statements, unfortunately setting up camp in the 5 percent/one million times less powerful section of the brain. (Gotta live somewhere.) If these affirmations don’t align with what our dominant, subconscious programs have to say about life, it’s easy to see how they can be dismissed as inconsequential and how, ultimately, nothing will change. Our bad habits will persist, and even worse– we’ll have an added layer of disappointment to deal with when affirmations don’t prove to be the magic bullet we hoped they would be.

(Don’t worry– this post will get less depressing shortly. I promise.)

Here are some typical (conscious mind) affirmations about our bodies and weight:

  • My body is fit, graceful, and slender!
  • It’s natural for me to weigh ___________lbs/kgs!
  • Losing weight is easy!
  • I enjoy being at my perfect weight, effortlessly!
  • My body craves healthy, fresh foods!
  • I love moving my body every day!
  • I am a picture of perfect health!

For clues about what our subconscious minds have to say in response, refer to your journaling exercise and the themes you teased out of your personal story:

  • Losing weight is hard.
  • Nothing ever works for me.
  • I hate exercising.
  • I’m a horrid, sloppy, fat, good-for-nothing excuse of a woman.
  • I have no willpower or self-discipline.
  • I’m a failure for eating _______________.
  • This is hopeless, nothing will ever change.

No matter how many times you try to convince yourself: Gosh! Losing weight sure is easy and fun! -or- Whee! Exercise is my favorite thing to do EVER!, if your subconscious mind is running the Yeah Effin’ Right soundtrack on repeat, you’re facing an uphill battle, sister. This is why “willpower” will only take you so far before you find your face inexplicably stuffed into a box of cookies. It’s also why positive affirmations, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, sometimes don’t seem to work.

The subconscious mind is much, MUCH more powerful than the conscious mind.

Your conscious mind is the ship at sea. Your subconscious mind is the laser-wielding mega walrus. Make sense?

Your conscious mind is like the ship at sea. Your subconscious mind is like the laser-wielding mega walrus. Make sense?

Subconscious beliefs don’t respond very well to being over-written with oppositely-worded, conscious affirmations. That’s like trying to play soft, classical music over pounding heavy metal music and still expecting to be able to enjoy your favorite symphony– it’s just not going to happen.

However, one of the easiest ways around the brute force of your subconscious programming is to effectively trick your mind (both the conscious and subconscious parts) into doing what it naturally does best: searching for relevant information and gathering evidence. How can you do this, you might be wondering? Well, asking yourself questions instead of affirming statements to yourself activates your innate curiosity, and your mind simply can’t resist trying to answer questions. #Fact.

A gentleman named Noah St. John has written entire books around bypassing affirmations in favor of what he calls “aformmations“. Essentially, an afformation is a question worded in such a way that assumes what we want is already true. (Like a question-format affirmation.) Afformations, like all questions, activate your mind to search for “answers” or evidence to confirm what we assume is already true.

Confused? I thought so. Let’s try some examples. Looking back at the themes you uncovered from your journaling exercise, first try flipping the negative phrases back into positive, standard-format affirmations:

  • e.g., “Losing weight is hard” becomes “Losing weight is easy for me”
  • e.g., “I’ll never succeed at keeping the weight off” becomes “I’m successful at maintaining my slender weight.”
  • e.g., “I’m a bad person for eating bad foods” becomes “I’m a good person, no matter what I eat”

(You might have to play around with the wording of some of them, but the next step is the more critical one, anyway.)

Now, take your positively-worded affirmations and phrase them as questions (afformations), asking why they already exist for you in the present tense:

  • e.g., “Why is losing weight so easy for me?”
  • e.g., “Why am I successful at maintaining my slender weight?”
  • e.g., “Why am I a good person, no matter what I eat?”

Then what happens? Magic!

Rather than trying to wrestle your subconscious mind and your deepest, programmed beliefs to the ground, you “sneak through the back door”, as my teacher likes to say. Suddenly, your mind (on both the conscious and subconscious level) is busily occupied, trying to collect evidence to effectively and convincingly answer your questions about why losing weight is so easy, maintaining a slender weight is no big deal, and you are essentially a good person, through and through.

I know this sounds a little ridiculous,

and I realize that you might feel skeptical, if not flat-out hostile, to the idea that asking yourself simple questions can really help you where no diet, program, or exercise routine has been able to so far. It does seem silly, yes, but what have you got to lose by trying it out? (Um… aside from weight?)

Clearly, conventional diets and sheer willpower haven’t worked. Neither has being overly critical of yourself. Maybe even Louise Hay-style affirmations haven’t yielded your desired results yet, either. Try using afformations for the next week and see what shifts for you. Remember, to create your customized afformations:

  1. Refer to the themes you teased out of your journaling exercise.
  2. Change the negatively-worded beliefs into positively-worded statements (affirmations).
  3. Put a “Why” in front of your affirmations, place a question mark at the end, and transform them into powerful afformations.

You can engage with your afformations by writing them down, reading them silently to yourself, or speaking them out loud. I like to coax myself into an exaggerated state of wonder when I use afformations, partly because I am a giant nerd, but mostly to communicate clearly to my brain that I’m genuinely curious about these questions and excited to discover the answers. (Picture your mind as a playful puppy and you as the one asking, Who’s a good dog?)

Speaking of good dogs, I LOVED meeting "Achilles" in San Diego. CUTE!

Speaking of good dogs, I LOVED meeting “Achilles” in San Diego. CUTE!

If nothing else, by creating and using afformations, you’ll be training your conscious mind to open up to curiosity and wonder more. You’ll also be encouraging your subconscious mind to loosen its death grip on programs and beliefs that might have served you well when you were five, but that are outdated and incompatible with your needs as an adult now. Try it out. See how you feel. And let me know how afformations work out for you. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

 

A Few Words About Resistance

DSCN1400

Graffiti in San Francisco

Do you ever wonder if you’re normal, or worry that you’re not?

Does it ever feel like everyone else has uncovered a crucial piece of the Puzzle of Life, but that somehow, this piece will never be made known to you, because you are inherently and fatally flawed in some way?

Luckily, there is a simple, totally objective way to determine how normal you really are:

Step #1: Read this post and take note of the journaling exercise it suggests.

Step #2: React to the prescribed activity in one of the following ways:

a) With violent, full-body resistance! Examples of this reaction include declaring with force that this exercise, in no way, applies to you whatsoever and/or dismissing the author as a total lunatic. (Bonus points for both.)

b) With coolness, mild curiosity, and a vague, fleeting “I should do this… someday” thought. (Note: this is also resistance). Examples of this reaction include ‘getting it!’ on a purely intellectual level, seeing the value of the journaling exercise in an abstract concept kind of way, and even feeling really excited about the exercise but then… not writing down a solitary word.

If these steps apply to you in any way,

Congratulate yourself for being normal. Resistance = Totally Natural. I love it! Then:

Step #3: Read the follow-up post and let some of the core concepts sink in.

Step #4: React to the follow-up post in one of the following ways:

a) Listing 1,001 logical, bulletproof reasons about why these posts supremely, superly-duperly do not apply to you. At all. Whatsoever. Bonus points for scoffing in disgust and/or swiftly hitting the “delete” button in your inbox. Bam!

b) Hedging: Accepting the possibility that these posts might have something valuable or insightful to offer, but then lamenting that you are currently too busy, too stressed, too out of paper and pens, too wanting to buy the perfect journal before you write anything down, and too preoccupied with planning the menu for next year’s Christmas dinner to actually do the writing exercise now. So sorry– my hands are tied! Ahem.

c) Deciding that you are too overweight and too far gone for a stupid journal entry to make a difference, anyway.

d) Confirming internally that you’re not overweight enough to merit worrying about your weight or doing some silly journaling exercise in the first place.  “This is for people who are morbidly obese. That’s totally not me.”

e) Realizing with triumph that the author of these posts is not at her all-time thinnest, and therefore dismissing her ideas as crap. If that journaling exercise worked so well, then why does she still weigh more than 100lbs? AM I RIGHT??! Huh??!

f) Discovering with bitterness that the author of these posts might, in fact, already weigh less than you could even dream about weighing yourself… and therefore dismissing her ideas as crap. Why does *she* care about her weight, anyway? God, I would kill to look like her! We obviously have nothing in common. She can’t help me.

If any of the above scenarios resonate with you, even in the slightest,

Congratulate yourself wholeheartedly for being completely and utterly normal. Hello, Resistance! What a relief!

Resistance is a tricky beast, my dear– one that continually eludes capture and avoids being slain. In contrast to issues that truly have no relevance or personal connection to you, Resistance can easily be identified by the telltale energetic charge it carries within your psyche. Denying something takes energy: that’s a charge. Likewise, suppressing something takes energy. Ignoring something takes energy. Justifying something takes energy. Rationalizing or explaining something away takes energy. Pretending that something doesn’t apply to you (when it does) takes energy. Projecting onto other people takes energy. (In contrast, things that really, honestly, cross-your-heart don’t relate to you simply don’t relate, without you having to push, pull, or otherwise expend energy to fashion them into a desired shape. You simply report on these things, like a meteorologist reports on today’s weather. “Is it raining outside?” “Yup.” No charge of resistance, see?)  

You might have experienced some Resistance when reading my two previous posts (which are here and here, in case you resisted clicking on the links I inserted earlier in this post. Heh.) This Resistance might have been directed outward– wondering why I’m posting these sorts of essays now and longing for the amusing, easily digestible tales I used to post. (I just want to read about cats and rainbows, OK? Is that too much to ask?) Or, this Resistance might have been directed inward, my words landing close to home and more than a little too close for comfort. Yikes, I don’t even want to go there. That’s okay, too.

Resistance seems to make so much darn sense most of the time, especially when it comes to exploring intimate and personal topics such as our bodies and what they weigh. Gulp. Resistance cautions us: Wait. Why would we put ourselves out there? Why would we risk being hurt? How can we know for sure that this Dana girl knows what she’s talking about? How can we guarantee that this journaling exercise even works? We’ve all been burned before– over-trusting, over-sharing, over-laying-our-hearts-on-the-line and over-having-them-crushed-by-people-we-thought-would-never-hurt-us. We’ve tried so many things. We’ve been disappointed so many times. And why should this so-called “journaling exercise” be any different?

I get it.

Listen. If a part of you connects with what I’ve been saying about weight (even a small, timid part of you), but another (BIG) part of you feels resistant, worried, overwhelmed, or even scared about moving in the direction of a more intuitive, self-exploratory, non-dieting approach to your body, please be gentle with yourself. There is no need to make yourself wrong for feeling a totally normal emotion, and that’s all Resistance is. First of all, you’re not the only person who feels this way or has ever felt this way. You’re normal, remember? Hooray! And secondly, it might be helpful to know that I had my own experiences feeling eleventeen hundred shades of resistance when I started this conscious weight loss journey, too. (You can read about my “Oh sh*t!” moment here.)

Anyway. As promised, we will start exploring some simple ways to re-train and re-program our core (but limiting) beliefs about weight loss in the next post. I just wanted to take the time to reassure you in the off-chance that you were maybe experiencing some Resistance. (Totally normal!) In the meantime, gently and lovingly check in with your intuition and ask yourself with the utmost kindness,

  • Am I experiencing resistance to these concepts, or is there genuinely no energetic charge for me around my weight or body? (Note: Either option is totally fine– just don’t go forcing issues upon yourself if you don’t already have them, please.)
  • If I am feeling resistant, can I accept and forgive myself for feeling this way?
  • If I am feeling resistant, where in my body does the resistance reside? Can I describe its location, shape, color, temperature, smell, relative weight, or other properties?
  • Can I become curious about my resistance?
  • Can I open myself up… perhaps… to a different perspective?
  • What would support me in exploring a different perspective? How can I open myself up?

Until next time, xo. :)

Dana profile

Losing Weight is Hard

Hey there! I hope you found last week’s journal exercise illuminating and that you were able to dive deep into your own past experiences losing weight (or at least trying to lose weight). If you missed the last post, you can check it out here and enjoy some quality, free-flow writing time to yourself. It’s all good– I can wait. :)

IMG_0314In today’s post, we’re going to tease out some common themes and beliefs around dieting, losing weight, and being healthy in general. These themes popped up in my own example, for sure, but don’t be surprised to see them applying to your own situation as well. (That’s why they’re called “themes” as opposed to “strangely specific elements that apply only to Dana Machacek”. Heh.)

Here’s the deal: what we believe about dieting, weight loss, and health all have a huge impact on our actual experiences. If I believe to the core of my being that a certain food is “good” for me, guess what? My body will most likely process that food with relative ease when I consume it. Likewise, if you’re convinced that you must diet in order to lose weight, and that dieting inevitably means a life sentence of deprivation and sacrifice in the name of smaller pants, well… that’s probably what you’ll experience, too.

Anyway. The reason why it’s so useful to write out your story is because that written account uncovers many of the thoughts and beliefs you hold about food, diets, losing weight, your body, and being healthy in general.  (And those beliefs, in turn, significantly shape your real-life experiences.) It might take some practice and some figurative archaeology to get at the juicy bits of your core beliefs, but once you expose some of the big ideas that you simply take for granted as “truth” or “the way things are”, you’ll find yourself in extremely fertile, deliciously transformative ground.

Yes, even as delicious as this!

Yes, as delicious as this!

The first theme I’m going to highlight here applies to any and all answers regarding “the last time I lost weight”, so if you took the time to journal your personal experience, heads up: this core belief applies to you.

Belief #1: I’m not okay the way I am now.

It’s not necessarily an explicit or overt belief, meaning that you might not see those very words glaring out at you from the pages of your journal. However, the very act of going on a diet, trying to exercise more, deciding to count your calories, or vowing to cut out “bad” foods from your eating plan suggests that something needs to change in order for you to feel good about yourself. This also (obviously) implies a lack of self-acceptance or self-love for the way you are right now.

Deep breath. This feeling is natural. (Disheartening, yes, but totally natural.)

The theme of “I’m not okay” is an insidious one, because it’s often disguised under the glossy-haired, pearly white cloak of self-improvement, and what could possibly be wrong with wanting to be healthy or trying to manage diseases and health issues? Nothing! But if you withhold love, acceptance, and care from yourself until some indeterminate point in the future when you can finally prove to yourself that you’ve ‘earned it’– sweetheart, you’re setting yourself up for an ongoing war with yourself. And life is challenging enough without that cursed Self vs. Self battle.

Listen: it’s totally fine to want to make positive changes in your life, to learn, to grow, and to blossom into the most radiant, shimmering version of yourself. I want you to shine so brightly that you illuminate the entire galaxy with your glow! But it’s important to be kind and gentle with yourself from Step #1, too. Losing weight shouldn’t be punishment for your eternal shortcomings or a way to whip your pathetic ass into submission. (How well has that worked out so far?) Instead, think of yourself as a dazzling being already. You’re gorgeous, talented, warm, and magnetic right now, and you can only become more so with each loving step you take in the direction of health.

From now on, consider this your seat: XO, self. I love you already.

From now on, consider this your seat: XO, self. I love you already.

Belief #2: Losing weight is hard.

Chances are, your weight loss story featured some variation on the This is Hard! theme. Whether you’ve tried point systems, portion control, food combination rules, counting calories or grams, logging the number of steps you’ve taken, following lists of what’s allowed and what isn’t, skipping meals, breaking large meals into smaller and more frequent snacks, or eliminating entire food groups (carbohydrates, fats, fruits, etc.) from your diet before, you’ve likely bumped up against the belief that Being Healthy Ain’t Easy, Sister.

My personal experiences trying to lose weight definitely impressed upon me that an intricate, scientific, and exquisitely complicated system had to be followed in order to obtain my desired results. Significantly, this system was never something I invented on my own– it was always an external program that I selected and then applied to myself. Also, the idea that I could somehow deviate from the program was unheard of, unless I didn’t mind not losing any weight and therefore totally defeating the purpose of being on a diet in the first place. Ha.

Maybe your story highlighted one of these versions of the “Losing Weight is Hard” belief:

  • Dieting is complicated.
  • I need to do a whole lotta work in order to see even small changes in my weight.
  • There is no room for error when it comes to dieting.
  • I have to follow all the rules perfectly, all the time.
  • Losing weight is time consuming.
  • Dieting is expensive.
This basically sums up how hard it is-- dieting is like crawling your way out of your very own grave!

This basically sums up how hard it is– dieting is like crawling your way out of your very own grave!

Belief #3: My (in)ability to lose weight is directly tied to my value as a person.  

Here’s where it gets personal. This core belief is tied closely to the This is Hard! theme; however, rather than just dealing with the weight loss process itself, Belief #3 makes evaluations about ourselves based on how well we either adhere to a program or achieve results with that program… or both.

For example, we might feel frustrated with complicated and often contradictory lists of foods that are “good for us/allowed” and “bad for us/not allowed”. Belief #3 takes this a step further, judging us as good and worthy people when we eat the allowed foods but condemning us as bad and terrible people when we eat the foods that aren’t allowed.

Here are some other variations on Belief #3 that you might have noticed in your own answer:

  • There is a proven formula for losing weight, and if I can just try hard enough and follow that program correctly, I will see results.
  • If I’m not losing weight, I must be doing something wrong.
  • If I’m not losing weight, I must not be trying hard enough.
  • If I’m not losing weight, there must be something wrong with me.
  • I’m bad/stupid/lazy/wrong for eating ________________.
  • When the number on the scale goes down, I’m incredible and awesome!
  • When the number on the scale goes up, I’m a worthless, no-good, stupid-assed failure!

Keep ‘em coming now.

Revisit your story about the last time you lost weight, and try to uncover as many personal beliefs as you can about “what it takes” to lose weight or “the way things are” when it comes to your body, dieting, or being healthy. List them all out as though they were absolute facts or simple song titles:

Dieting is soooooo lame and superficial.

Feminists shouldn’t care about their weight or how they look.

Being overweight runs in my family: it’s genetic.

Being thin attracts unwanted attention.

Restaurants are off-limits when I’m on a diet.

Dieting spells disaster for my social life.

My body will be judged no matter what.

In the next post, we’re going to tackle what you can do with these core beliefs to either lessen their charge or to change and eliminate them completely. It’s usually not enough to just affirm the opposite of these beliefs to yourself. After all, you’re smart and extremely perceptive, and if– after years of believing that weight loss is hard– you suddenly start telling yourself, Losing weight is easy and natural for me!, your subconscious is going to call bullshit immediately. That’s okay– there are ways to work around that, and we’ll discuss some of those methods next week.

PS: Would you like some help distilling your themes and beliefs out of your personal story? If so, I’m happy to book a confidential session with you at no charge. All you need to do is e-mail me and we can set something up together. I’m excited to be working with several women already, but there’s always room for more. Thank you! :)