Millions of us go on diets and have weight loss surgery each year, but sometimes (often?!) do not have the level of success we expect. Why is this? Honestly, this article I lifted from Huffington Post via author Margaret Paul, Ph.D is a tough read. It makes me squirm a little, which probably means there's a bit too much truth in it and we should all go buy her books.
The answer is, as much as they say they want to lose weight, there is something they want even more -- something that is in direct conflict to weight loss.
If You REALLY Want to Lose Weight - (And, we do, don't we?! Why is it so HARD?!) via Huffington Post
- Step One: Willingness to Feel Pain and Take Responsibility for Your Feelings
In step one, you move into the present moment and focus within, tuning into your feelings and emotions. You make the choice to be mindful of all your feelings, including your painful feelings, rather than protect against them with any substance or process addictions. You make a conscious decision that you WANT to take responsibility for your feelings, which means that you want responsibility for learning how you are causing your own anxiety, depression, anger, guilt and shame with your own thoughts and actions, and that you want responsibility for learning how to lovingly manage and nurture the painful feelings of life -- the loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness over others and events, that are so challenging.
- Step Two: Move Into the Intent to Learn
In step two, you focus in your heart and invite the compassionate presence of your higher power into your heart -- the comforting presence that is always here for all of us when we open our heart. You cannot fill the emptiness and manage pain without the help of a spiritual source -- whatever this is for you.
Now you're ready to focus on "intent" -- your deepest desire, your primary motivation. There are only two possible intents you can have in any given moment:
- The intent to protect yourself from pain
- The intent to learn about loving yourself
When you are in the intent to learn, you are a loving adult. When you are in the intent to protect and avoid, you are operating from your shame-based, ego-wounded self.
This commitment to your intention to learn fully opens you up and allows you to connect with your feelings and with the love and wisdom of your higher power.
- Step Three: Dialogue With Your Wounded Self and Core Self
With kindness, gentleness and compassion toward yourself, you discover the thoughts/false beliefs from your ego-wounded self that may be causing your shame, fear and pain, and you learn how to release anger and pain in appropriate ways. You uncover false beliefs that were created in the past and have led to the self-abandonment that is causing your current pain and shame. You explore what may be happening with a person or event that is causing the core painful feelings of loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, helplessness or grief. You explore your core self -- your feeling self -- and discover what brings you joy.
Only when the unconscious false beliefs that have limited you for so long are understood and identified, can they be replaced by new and healthier truths that will nurture and heal you.
In step three, you ask yourself questions such as, "What am I telling myself and how am I treating myself that is causing me to feel alone, empty, anxious, depressed or angry?" "What am I trying to control with food?" "What am I avoiding feeling with food?"
- Step Four: Dialogue With Your Higher Power
In step four, you ask your spiritual guidance (whatever that is for you): "What is the truth about the thoughts/false beliefs I may have uncovered in step three?" and, "What is the loving behavior toward myself in this situation? What is in my highest good? What is kind to myself?" You open and allow the answers to come through you in words, pictures or feelings. The answers may not come immediately, but if you have a sincere desire to learn, they will come.
By staying open to learning, you experience that you are never alone. This is where fears fall away and you begin to receive all the love and wisdom you need to take loving action for yourself and with others.
- Step Five: Take Loving Action
Step five is about telling yourself the truth and taking the loving action based on the information that came through from your guidance in step four.
You have opened to your pain, moved into learning, started a dialogue with your wounded self and core self, and tapped into your spiritual guidance. In step five, you take the "loving action" that, over time, heals the shame, anxiety and depression that have been the result of your self-abandonment. This leads to feeling full rather than empty inside, which is what is necessary to lose weight and maintain weight loss.
- Step Six: Evaluate Your Action
Once you take the loving action, you check in to see if your pain, anger and shame are getting healed. If not, you go back through the steps until you discover the truth and actions that bring you peace, joy and a deep sense of intrinsic worth.
Turning this daily practice into a way of life is what will protect you from going back into the behaviors and patterns from the past. Much like attending to -- say -- a child's feelings, you learn to keep a loving relationship with yourself throughout your life, no matter the challenges that come at you. This loving relationship with yourself and your guidance fills you and empowers you to handle life's challenges with strength and equanimity, rather than with food.
Like anything worth learning, these steps take practice. By learning and practicing this powerful process, you CAN lose weight and maintain your weight loss.
- Connect with Margaret on Facebook.
- For more by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., click here.
- For more on emotional wellness, click here.