Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Eow to silence the little voice in your head that says: ‘vou deserve a treat’
At one of my weight-loss seminars, I worked with a woman who’d dieted for months - and then felt compelled to start over-eating again. It turned out that, one day, when she was looking slim, she’d been chatted up by a man. Instantly, she’d felt the urge to start eating unhealthily again.
That urge was subconscious, but we figured out the cause behind it. In the past, when she was very slender, she’d had an affair - even though she loved her husband.
So the part of her brain that was making her over-eat again was, in fact, trying to protect her marriage. With our conscious minds we all know that, rationally, it was ridiculous for her to start over-eating again. However, the unconscious is not logical.
There are many reasons for self-sabotage when you’re trying to change a pattern of emotional eating - whether you did it to cope with stress, with past trauma or just to bring moments of fleeting comfort.
Some people continually set goals for reforming their unhealthy eating habits - but as soon as they notice they’re succeeding, they feel a terrible compulsion to fail. Other people have experienced failure in the past, which really hurt.
Indeed, the closer they got to their goals - such as reaching a healthy weight - the more painful they found their feeling of failure.
Therefore, their unconscious mind tries to get the failure in quickly before it becomes too painful.
Procrastinators are the same. They’re not lazy; they’re just frightened of failure because at some point in the past, it hurt too much. So they put off starting to address their emotional issues and to eat more healthily in order to avoid the pain of the failure.
Another type of self-sabotage happens when people who have been overweight for a long time have an unconscious belief that `the real me’ is fat.
They don’t like feeling fat, they may be very critical of themselves, but unconsciously they’ve adapted to that body shape. So when they lose weight, a part of their mind feels they’re abandoning who they really are.
Therefore, they start overeating again to protect what their sub-conscious believes is their true self. Here again, there is a negative outcome but a positive intention.
Remember, the unconscious mind is purposeful but not logical. These people aren’t thinking: `I must undermine myself’ or `I must have food’.
One part of them is trying to lose weight, the other part is trying to control stress. That’s like driving down the street with one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake. It just damages the car. Self-sabotage is just an unfortunate consequence of the way our brains work, but it’s not inevitable. Nor is it incurable – the mind trick in the box below will help stop you
wrecking your diet. You can tell the mind is making up a justification to carry on your old emotional eating habit because you’re not actually hungry.
If you’re not hungry, there’s no need to eat. It’s not the biscuit that would hurt you, but continuing your old pattern of behaviour - eating when you’re not hungry.
Always seek out the positive desire behind your impulse. Do you really want one biscuit? Maybe what you really want is a hug or a cuddle...
Solution: When you find your mind thinking, `Such and such won’t hurt,’ ask two questions: If I express it in positive terms, what will it do? Then ask yourself: what do I really want?