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I am devoted to helping people become more of what is possible for them. My commitment, actually my passion, is to help people become more fully alive.

A New Beginning

And now let us welcome the New Year full of things that have never been - Rainer Marie Rilke

Every New Year we make resolutions; to stick to an exercise program, to be more patient etc., telling ourselves this year will be different.  Studies have shown however that only about 40% of resolutions are successful after 6 months.  Wanting to change is not enough, relying on will power is not enough.  So what gets in our way?  Not knowing ourselves at a deep level is a major impediment to change.  Without this knowing we are unaware of the emotional triggers that keep us repeating our negative experiences.  Change takes time, it requires being realistic.  It takes planning, and making decisions regarding a positive replacement for that which you want to extinguish.

Let’s look more closely at a very familiar New Years resolution. It shows up on many peoples lists time and time again, that of weight loss.  Think about all the new industries that are preoccupied with weight loss, diets, weight loss supplements, exercise programs, health clubs etc. etc.  Those industries are successful and continue to expand because they promise hundreds of thousands of people they will lose weight if they use their products.  People sometimes lose five, ten or fifty pounds only to gain it back. So what is really happening here?

Let me diverge for a minute; a family arrives for therapy with an acting out teenager in tow.  The focus is totally on the teen’s behavior.  While the parents stay preoccupied with their child they do not address deeper problems.  Usually the marriage has some deep cracks that desperately need attention but they are avoiding the reality of this.  So the teen becomes the smoke screen and plays a part in holding the family together.  Quite often if the therapist addresses the marriage they drop out and say “things are a lot better now.”  The deep fears/problems are not addressed because they know there may be consequences good and bad, they are not ready to face in the marriage.

So you ask what does that have to do with weight loss difficulties?  Well what I have seen in my practice over the years is that the “weight loss struggle” is the teen. You are expending a lot of your energy on self-control, self-denial willpower and persistence.  It may help some but it is only a short term solution.  While our culture seems to value willpower or the “white-knuckle” approach to breaking an ingrained habit; it is not effective.  Neither is there a quick fix although our culture seems to expect such.

What became clear is that we overestimate the powers of the conscious mind and we underestimate the power of the unconscious mind.  None of us is pleased to learn that our will is not enough to resolve the problems and that there are always unconscious factors at work.  Due you “eat your food with gladness and drink…with a joyful heart…” (Ecclesiastes 9:7) or is your experience more like this.  “He eats in darkness with great frustration, afflictions, and anger” (Ecclesiastes 5:17)

We eat for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with hunger.  If eating is the teenager mentioned earlier what is behind our emotional eating.  Simply put emotional eating serves a multitude of purposes, some listed below:

Distracts us from many painful emotions such as sadness, grief, loneliness, shame, helplessness, anger, anxiety, etc.

Raises our blood sugar levels causing many emotions such as depression and anxiety to be numbed somewhat at least temporarily.

Certain foods raise endorphin levels similar to a drug response and elevates mood think chocolate, comfort foods usually refined carbs.  Overly stressed people often use this method of defusing their stress instead of using more effective stress reduction techniques.  Food works as a quick fix in the moment only to accumulatively attach to our hips, bellies and add to our stress load later.  Certain foods are associated with “the good times.”

Some people believe at a subconscious level if they carry more weight they’ll be safer, stronger or healthier in the world, if they associate dying with loss of weight and fragility.

Some people fear the full expression of their sexuality and use weight to keep themselves from protected.

Some people have had severe early deprivation and attempt to fill the inner holes with food. Geneen Roth who struggled with eating disorders from age 11 for 17 years writes. “What Are You Hungry For?”  If your eating is out of control you might want to read her story.

The above examples are few compared to all the ways your subconscious can interfere with your conscious goals.  What to do?  Take some time, get relaxed, go inward and reflect.  What is your storyline that keeps you stuck around weight issues?  What purpose does your preoccupation with weight and diets and food serve?  How does it keep you safe? What does it keep you from doing in your life?  What consequents do you fear?  Yes Virginia there are always consequences when we change, some good, some not so good.  Sometimes families want us to stay just as we are because if we change they get anxious.  They may even up the ante and withdraw support.

One of the first things I do when somebody comes to me about weight struggles is to ascertain the real culprit.  With their permission using Clinical Hypnosis or Psych K, I am able to assess the clients unconscious to determine if there is an inner agreement to do the work.  If there are other problems they may have to be addressed first, in order to prevent sabotage.  Often you, yourself can get about clear what gets in the way.

Get to know yourself at a deeper level and you will know whether the weight issued are connected to others unconscious beliefs.  We are pretty much like the iceburg with 10% above the water representing our conscious mind and 90% below the surface corresponding with our unconscious.

As you go along, accept slip ups, forgive yourself and start over.   May you have a Blessed New Year.

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