In my blog article 'No Diets Allowed - Just Stay Mindful' I wrote about my 5 'internal guidelines' for staying at a stable weight and feeling great about myself.
- Keep it simple!
- Set your own limits
- Notice the effects
- Create windows
- Clear your stuff
In that article I talked about the first four...here now is the 5th, which is possibly the most important.
5. Clear your stuff
In other words, start to recognise whether your hunger (and subsequent eating) is physical or 'just' emotional.
I would say that it is becoming more and more mainstream to recognise the mind-body connection and that maintaining a healthy weight is about a lot more than counting calories and upping your exercise.
Do any of these ring true for you?
‘I can’t diet – I’ll feel so deprived and miserable.’
‘Everyone in my family has a weight problem – it must be genetic.’
‘I haven’t got the time or the energy to exercise.’
‘I’ve tried losing weight before. Nothing works.’
If you rate yourself on a scale of 0-10 (0 being 'Not true at all, not my problem' and, 10- 'BINGO!!') you will start to get an inkling of what your limiting beliefs are around weight loss and maintaining a healthy, fit body. These are just a very few of the infinite number of beliefs that we can have in this area.
Sometimes these beliefs can feel so true it is as if they are set in stone or are one of the 10 Commandments;
‘Laws which cannot be broken’.
We have masses of evidence to back them up, all the way through our past.
Our friends and family will confirm them for us, happily jumping on the ‘Consolation Through Shared Misery’ bandwagon which we all know and love.
If you read my book ‘The Music Inside’ you will know that I turned a number of my limiting beliefs (specifically around success in my musical career) into what I term ‘Liberating Beliefs’.
I didn’t do so overnight and I wasn’t able to do it just by hammering the point home to try to convince myself.
No, it was a combination of ‘clearing my stuff’ and then setting up my new experiences on a daily basis with the use of meditation and intentioning, and goalsetting and planning.
For 'Clearing my stuff' my #1 aid is not ‘Mister Clean’ but EFT.
This stands for Emotional Freedom Technique(s) and is a kind of therapy which works at a body-mind-energetic-spiritual level…oh, and emotional too.
This is one heck of a product!
It is an excellent way to clear the difficult feelings which can lead us to out of control eating.
It is also great for getting rid of cravings, clearing long standing fears and beliefs, and for helping to recognize old programs and patterns.
I love acronyms (otherwise how does anyone ever remember anything at all?) so here’s one for using EFT to clear your limiting beliefs around weight, fitness and maintaining a healthy body.
It is F.A.T. (sorry! Irresistible!)
F.A.T. stands for ‘Face the facts’, ‘Allow new possibilities’ and ‘Turn it around’.
Here’s how it works.
In the EFT basic recipe (yum, calorie-free and very satisfying) you start by identifying your problem or issue or a part of it.
So, for example, here’s one I had for years:
‘It’s such an endless struggle to lose weight and then stay at my goal weight.'
First of all we rate the problem on our 0-10 scale. (This is so we can see how far we progress as we go through the tapping process.)
For the example above I am now at a zero on this (wow, just realized that!) but I used to be at a 10.
Now to apply the F.A.T. technique.
F: Face the Facts
One thing I love with using EFT is what I loathed about saying affirmations – you know, those positive, idealistic statements which sound at best like wishful thinking and at worst like self-delusional, ridiculous B.S.
You get the picture. I would say (preferably in front of a mirror) ‘I am slim and fit and look fantastic.’
And then I would look hard at myself, at the tops of my thighs or my bulging stomach, and would think ‘Who the heck are you trying to kid? You are fat and look awful.’ (only using stronger language, this is child-friendly)…and then I would feel much, much worse.
But when you use EFT you start by acknowledging the negative, accepting where you are right now, and then start tapping to clear all the stress, negative emotions and blocked energy around this.
And, BTW, no need to even believe in it, not with the research and many scientific tests which have proved how it reduces cortisol, activates feel-good hormones and changes your brain waves.
You can treat it how you would use your microwave – I don’t actually know fully how it works, just that it successfully heats up my frozen low-cal Weight Watchers dinner! (Nah, just kidding. Past life stuff. )
So we continue to ‘Face the facts’ with what is called our ‘set-up phrase.’
‘Even though it is such a struggle to lose weight and then stay at my goal weight, I choose to deeply and completely love, forgive and accept myself.’
If you can’t yet bring yourself to say the second part of that sentence try a ‘lighter’ version, something more believable, like ‘I’m doing the best I can’ or ‘I’m working on loving and accepting myself’.
Repeat the set-up phrase three times tapping on the Karate chop point. (The side of the hand below the little finger.) Then we’re off tapping around the points:
Eyebrow point: Losing weight is such a struggle.
Side of the eye: Losing weight is such a struggle.
Under the eye: And keeping it off is even harder.
Under the nose: I won’t be able to maintain my goal weight even if I get there.
Chin: And it’s going to be such a struggle to get there.
Collarbone: I’m going to feel deprived and miserable…
Under the arm: …and it won’t work anyway, not long-term.
Top of the head: All this struggle to lose weight.
As you see, you can stick to the same initial phrase or get a little creative as ideas, events, memories (‘My PE teacher said I was fat and lazy’).
Just keep tapping.
Then when you’ve done a round or two check in with your scale once again. See if the simple act of tapping the points has brought down the negative emotions and stuck beliefs a little.
IMPORTANT: If at any point you feel overwhelmed, keep tapping.
Usually this will be enough to help you move through the emotions.
But if things are really rough and you suspect you are sitting on a time-bomb here you might consider waiting until you can have someone with you for support and/or guidance on this.
Remember to take full responsibility for your emotional well-being and safety at all times.
After a few rounds you can move on to
A: Allow New Possibilities
A statement like ‘Some people find it really easy to stay slim – maybe that could one day be possible for me too.’
Or: ‘I am successful at many other things I put my mind to, why not with my weight as well?’
And then, once again, rate yourself on how much you can believe that new possibility.
Tap around the points again (no need for the set-up phrase this time unless you want to) using similar words and tapping on the feelings (physical and emotional) and thoughts that come up.
Then check in with your rating once again. (BTW, all of this doesn’t need to take too long. Just go with what feels good and doable and inspiring.)
As we clear the limitations in our thinking and our ties to those limitations we can eventually move onto…
T: Turn it Around
And do what is known as a ‘positive round’.
Now say: ‘I choose to believe that it is easy for me to reach my goal weight and stay there without any sense of deprivation or struggle.'
Finally rate where you are now on the original statement (‘It’s such an endless struggle to lose weight and then stay at my goal weight.’)
You may be down to a zero by now – or have dropped from an 8 to a 7.5. Any way…it’s all nice work!
When working on changing these engrained limiting beliefs be very patient and kind and compassionate with yourself...
and with the others who helped program them into you.
We really are all doing the best we can with what we know right now – and the beauty of that is that we can change and grow and strive towards more peace and happiness and joy. T
hink sunflower turning towards the sun, its source of energy and light, and growing upwards and getting stronger.
Or you might want to work one on one with an EFT practitioner or weight-loss coach (myself included)...the choice is yours.
And some final food for thought....
"The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years..."- Deepak Chopra
- Nowadays there is a recognised mind-body connection when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight
- Our limiting beliefs can feel completely true and we will back them up with evidence and other people's agreement
- Use EFT to start shifting those limiting beliefs and turn them into liberating beliefs which work for you
- Use the F.A.T. technique to move into successful thinking; Face the facts, Allow new possibilites and Turn it around
- Seek outside help if you have overwhelming emotional or physical challenges or if you could do with guidance and support