30. Doubts Are NOT Incompatible with Progress
Welcome to episode 30 of the Mindful Weight Loss Podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I want to talk about dealing with doubt.
We have spent the last few episodes talking about belief and this is the other side of the coin. How do you deal with not believing? Because you are going to have to deal with a lot of doubt when you are trying to change. You do not magically, suddenly move from a place of not believing to believing and then it's all good and done. In fact, when you are knee deep in the process of change, you're probably going to spend more time doubting than believing.
And that's exactly as it should be. Those are the biggest lessons I want you to take away from this episode. Expect to cohabitate with your doubts. Don't think that they are suddenly going to vanish, because they won't. And know that moving forward in spite of or along with your doubts is how you build belief.
A good analogy is to think of your doubts as weights or dumbbells. Doing an exercise with a dumbbell, with that added resistance, is precisely how you build stronger muscles. And in the very same way, taking action with your doubt, with that resistance, that's precisely how you build stronger belief.
And the problem we tend to create for ourselves is that we think we need to believe 100% and erase all of our doubts before we take action. That's I think the main criticism of the movie the secret and the law of attraction, is that the focus seems to be all on the thought and there's very little discussion of taking action. And yet taking action is how you demonstrate your belief, it's how you make your belief manifest.
If you sit around and wait until you really believe in an outcome to move towards it, honestly I think you will get lucky at times and get to a really beautiful space of belief and inspiration, but more often than not you will be waiting a lot and taking very little action and as a result making very little external progress and that lack of external progress won't help foster more belief.
You really can't have the one without the other.
So the only way to create belief and move forward is to take action alongside your doubts. And no, that doesn't always feel good. There is resistance and that feels heavy. And that's ok. And when you make it ok and you do the thing anyway, that's how that resistance dissolves. You come to show yourself that it's not a factor; it's not something that's in your way or holding you back.
The second point I want to make is that it's really important to be honest about your current level of belief. And one of the best ways to do that is to regularly take stock of your actions and your results, because they betray your beliefs.
And this can be hard, because it can trigger our doubts and we don't want to look at those. Like I said, those feel heavy or they might be downright painful.
But it's better to know that you don't believe in yourself all the way and to accept that than it is to be in a state of denial. You are going to cross paths with your doubts at some point and it's actually easier to face them head on. If instead you choose to resist and ignore them, you can keep that up for a few days, maybe even a week, but then they will blindside you and smack you in the face and you won't know what happened. Everything was great and now it's falling apart.
This is what happens when we think we're doing all the things but we're frustrated that we're not seeing results. And usually one of two things is happening. We're simply being impatient and taking score too quickly because we want evidence to show us that we should believe. Or we're experiencing some sabotage because we don't believe. And actually many times the one leads to the other.
We don't believe. In fact we're frustrated and doubtful. And we want that frustration and doubt to go away and so we look to the scale or the mirror to make that happen. The frustration and doubt will go away and I'll feel better if I lose a pound or if I see that I'm slimmer in the mirror. Or we try to create little pockets of relief, little escapes from that frustration and doubt by mindlessly overeating.
We end up sabotaging ourselves because we think it's easier to live with the doubt if we think it's true. We actually get relief if we believe we can't and then we accept that as fact. It's easier for our brains to process that than if we try to act like the belief that we can't doesn't exist. That doesn't compute because that belief does exist and trying to hide from it is exhausting.
And so the important thing here is to acknowledge what's true for you in this moment and allow it to be just as it is and to know that it's ok.
It's ok to think you can't.
It's ok to think it's too hard.
It's ok to believe in your goal like 27%.
Where you are is exactly where you should be and running from that only creates problems.
It's just like trying to go on a cleanse or crash diet try to be thin and totally done with your weight struggle forever in 1 week.
You think, "Ok, I can buy into this thought work stuff," but then you do the same thing with your thoughts. You think, "Ok, I can wait for my body to catch up with my thoughts, let me fix my thoughts and get to 100% belief in myself in 1 week."
Just as denying that you have extra pounds is painful, denying that you have doubts is painful. You're just fighting with reality when you do that and any time you do that you lose.
And it's not the extra pounds that hurt, it's the judgement that hurts. And it's not your doubts that truly get in the way, it's your judgement that gets in the way. The thing that stops you from moving forward is the belief that everything has to feel good and look perfect before you move forward.
So how then do you deal with this? What I like to do is use the "Yes, and" rule from improvisational comedy. In improv whatever your scene partner says goes, so you say yes, and then you add on. So if your scene partner says you are an alien, you embrace that and then add on to the story. Yes you are an alien, and you're on a mission to save humanity from the astroid that will strike in 23 minutes and destroy the earth.
So when your doubt comes up. When you think, "I can't do this," or "This isn't working" instead of trying to deny those doubts or figure out how you can get rid of them, just say, "Yes, and."
I can't do this. Yes, and I'm going to be really mindful of what I eat today.
This isn't working. Yes, and I'm going to go for a walk today.
Even better, if you have some time, examine your doubts. Write them down and ask yourself what evidence you have for the thought, "This isn't working."
You might say well, I gained a pound last week and I've been overeating in the evenings. Ok, and those are cold hard facts.
But even with those you can say, "Yes, and ..."
I gained a pound last week and I've been overeating lately.
Yes. AND I lifted weights 3 times this week. I ate awesome breakfasts and lunches. AND, I'm going to do meditate or exercise or eat mindfully, or whatever that step forward is for you.
Yes, I feel like this isn't working. Yes I have big doubts. I even have this evidence to support my doubts. AND I'm still going to take a step towards what I want.
Because your doubts aren't incompatible with your progress forward. They can coexist.
Just as you can eat kale and cookie dough and lose weight, you can have some belief and some doubt and still make progress. You don't have to deny yourself the cookie dough and you don't have to deny your doubts, and in fact you shouldn't because that's when you will sabotage yourself to free yourself of that painful denial.
And the cool thing about this is that when you keep moving forward alongside your doubts you will truly surprise yourself by what you can do.
Creating belief is like building a house. Even though you can't envision the final structure and you doubt that you can do it, if you just keep laying another brick and another brick, sooner than you think you will stand back and marvel at what you've built.
Take care and I'll see you next week.