A guest post from Claire who knows a lot about how subconscious limiting blocks affect your life, especially weight loss.
If you’re anything like me, at some point in your life you looked in the mirror and thought, “Damn! When did I get so fat?!”
I had been blessed, for the majority of my life, with a slim body. I was one of those really irritating people who could eat whatever they wanted and never put on weight.
“You’ll come to it!” my mum would utter from the depths of her latest diet.
When did I start dieting and what did I achieve?
Fast forward into my early forties, and it had got to the stage where I really couldn’t put the size of my belly down to “bloating” anymore. As I stared in horror at the muffin top hanging over my once well-fitting jeans, I realised that mum was right. I had indeed ‘come to it’.
So, of course, there was only one thing to do:
I immediately put myself on a diet and joined a gym.
Then followed a montage to inspirational music, of me joyfully eating lettuce and running on a treadmill looking beautifully determined…until I reached my fighting weight and lived happily ever after.
A more realistic interpretation of that would be that I starved myself whilst sweating unattractively on a cross-trainer. And it worked! I lost a bit of weight, enough to make me feel better about what I saw in the mirror…so I rewarded myself with some junk food. And I kept rewarding myself until I realised that all the weight had gone back on, plus some more. And so the cycle would start again.
Why this doesn’t necessarily work
Because this is what we’ve been told to do. If you want to lose weight you have to put yourself on a diet and exercise like Bridget Jones on the spin bike.
How’s that working out for you? I don’t know about you, but I very quickly came to the conclusion that I HATE dieting. I mean, those first three letters say it all really.
And despite putting ourselves through it, the weight comes back. With friends. Does that mean we have to diet FOREVER?!
I wasn’t down with that. I started to get intrigued as to WHY the weight had gone on and WHY I struggled to keep it off. WHY was I subconsciously sabotaging myself from achieving something that I consciously wanted?
And it’s those two words that are the key. Subconscious and Conscious.
Thinking about our conscious and subconscious
Consciously, I wanted to lose weight, but subconsciously something was going on that was preventing it. In that battle, there can be only one winner. The subconscious has around a 95% stake in what you do, whereas your conscious brain has around a measly 5%.
Luckily for me, this is what I do for a living. Put very simply, I help people achieve their conscious desires by removing the subconscious blocks so that they can live the life they want. And I do so with the use of a unique mind/body tool. Cos let’s face it. Unwanted weight is a mind/body problem, so you need a mind/body solution.
What was I believing about weight?
Well, for starters, there was the constant affirmation growing up that “I would come to it”. Now, consciously, I know mum didn’t mean anything bad with this. But subconsciously, aaaaahhhh, subconsciously I was being repeatedly told something, by someone I loved and depended on, that this would happen. How dare I prove her wrong! She can’t be wrong cos mum’s know everything (this line is sponsored by my mum).
Secondly, I realised that the time in my life where I had been at my slimmest, was a time when I was actually very unhappy and self-conscious. I was now in a great place, with an amazing chap, and I felt really happy (except for the excess weight). My subconscious had done the equivalent of holding these two times up and creating a basic formula of Slim = Unhappy, so to be Happy = Fat.
Yes, I’m aware it makes no logical sense. But the subconscious is not based in logic. It’s very literal, it believes everything it’s told and has zero sense of humour. Its job is to keep you safe. By any means.
So do diet and exercise matter?
Now, to caveat all this, I’m NOT saying that nutrition and exercise aren’t important. Cos they absolutely are. And you know that. You’re not an idiot. You KNOW what foods support a healthy body and what foods don’t. That’s not the problem. And that’s why diets don’t work, particularly not in the long term.
Popular thinking suggests that weight is a problem. I would like to suggest a new way of thinking about it. Instead of seeing it as a problem, think of it as a symptom. And what’s the purpose of a symptom? Right, to alert you to the fact that something is wrong. So, instead of taken the usual, boring route of beating yourself up about your weight, try something new. Get curious about it.
When did the weight start going on? What was happening in your life at that time?
What beliefs do you have about weight and weight loss?
What do you tell yourself you’ll DO when you lose weight?
When you binge eat, what emotion are you trying to mask or create?
Cos these are all CLUES as to why you’re struggling.
I’ll give you an example I see an awful lot of with clients:
Sometime in their past, when they were slim, they were in a situation where they felt unsafe. Maybe they got some unwanted attention. The subconscious creates a belief that being slim is unsafe in some way, and so prods them into gaining weight.
They get to the stage where they become very unhappy with their weight, maybe it’s stopping them from doing something, like dating. So, they use that as a motivator, “I’ll start dating once I lose this weight”. But here’s the catch. The downside of dating is that they might get unwanted attention. Here’s where their subconscious swings into action with some self-sabotage binge eating.
Why we binge eat – the science bit!
Have you notice that binge eating only ever involves ‘comfort food’. It never involves kale. The reason for that is that sugary carbohydrates increase the concentration of an amino acid called Tryptophan in the brain.
Tryptophan is a building block of Serotonin, a transmitter which – when released – gives a happy, satisfied, contented feeling. Until the guilt kicks in. Which feels bad, which leads to more binge eating. But the benefit of binge eating (for your subconscious) is that it keeps the weight on and so its job is done.
How this all comes together
Can you see how this all ties you up in a vicious circle?
Can you see how you’re always going to struggle to lose weight and keep it off if your subconscious believes that it’s unsafe to be slim?
Before I tip you over the edge with this doom and gloom, let me come back to that unique tool I use.
It’s called EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques (often called Tapping).
Now, I’m not gonna lie. It looks weird. You’ll feel silly doing it. BUT, oh my goodness it’s effective.
It works by you tapping specific acupressure points on your face and torso with your fingers, whilst stating your challenges and/or negative emotions. So, a bit like psychological acupuncture but without the needles.
Can EFT help you lose weight?
I can already feel your disbelief as to how this could possibly help you lose weight, but stay with me, cos there’s some really good research around the effectiveness of EFT for things like weight loss (amongst many others). You can check out my website for more info.
EFT is a little like running a virus scanner through your mind. It finds all those times in your life that have contributed to the building of a limiting belief. It takes the emotion out of them and reframes the experience into something much more empowering and supportive.
Why is this so beneficial? Well, you’ve gotten into a pattern based on the things that have happened and the beliefs you’ve formed. And you’re not going to change until you can break out of that pattern.
As Einstein says, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So, if you’ve tried diet after diet without lasting success, maybe it’s time to try something new. Maybe it’s time to stop waiting until you lose weight to feel happy and do the things you want to do.
If you’d like to learn a bit more you can check out my free guide here. In the meantime, allow yourself to get curious about your weight. Allow yourself to start questioning it. Cos when you find, understand and remove the limiting belief that’s keeping you stuck, a world of possibility opens up to you.
To Tapping Into Your Personal Power!
Qualified in EFT, Matrix Re-imprinting, NLP & Meditation Teaching, Claire has become a trusted coach to women in the healing and creative businesses, as well as being an advisor to Crawley Mindfulness Centre, a frequent contributor to The Revival Retreat, and published author. Her work with women (as well as being one!) has exposed her to the subconscious limiting blocks and behaviours around not being ‘good enough’, and how this impacts people’s everyday lives and health.
Disclaimer: Claire is not a nutritionist nor dietician.