37. Release Resistance to Lose Weight - Pt. 1
Welcome to episode 37 of the Mindful Weight Loss Podcast. I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff and today I am talking about resistance, what it is, how it affects weight loss even when you think it's not, and how just being aware of it can help you get more of what you want, not just when it comes to your weight, but out of life.
So what the heck do I mean by resistance? The definition of resistance that I find when I do a Google search is "the refusal to accept or comply with something." I also think "Opposition" is a nice synonym.
And so how is it then that you might be resistant or even opposed to weight loss?
Now, I don't know about you, but I read so many self help books over the years that I began to think that there was perhaps some deep-seated issue lurking in my subconscious about weight loss that I needed to discover. I think we've all heard of the idea that weight loss can be a form of protection maybe from unwanted sexual attention let's say, and so those who've suffered sexual abuse may use extra weight as that protection unknowingly. I never experienced such trauma like that, but I remember listening to a similar example someone gave - that a woman who is unhappy in her marriage might subconsciously avoid losing weight because she might get more attention from other me and then she'll have to address or at least acknowledge the issues in her marriage.
Now, I wasn't married back then, but after hearing of those examples, I began wondering if there was some issue like that that was unbeknownst to me and was keeping me from losing the weight I so desperately wanted to lose. But let me say that years later, and now that I have lost weight, without uncovering any such beliefs, I don't think our "limiting beliefs" are all that hidden or complicated, and by that I mean, if you are really searching like I was for something buried in your past, you are probably looking too deep and your answer will probably be found in the shallow end of the pool, so to speak, where you think things are no big deal.
And let me be clear that I'm not discounting anybody's past trauma here. If you know you have trauma in your past, I encourage you to work that out with a therapist. This is geared more for the rest of the population who hasn't experienced past trauma, and can't figure out what is keeping them overweight.
And again, this is a great example to highlight the difference between therapy and coaching. Therapy is a wonderful tool to help us heal or cope with issues from our past, whereas coaching is helpful to uncover and address what is going on in your mind right now that is keeping you from getting what you want.
So two great coaching questions to ask yourself to uncover what's holding you back are:
1. What do I believe is required for me to lose weight?
2. What will happen when I do lose weight?
And don't be afraid to go negative here. Don't paint an idealized portrait of sunshine and skipping and rainbows. Encourage your brain to get really practical and even negative when you answer these questions. If you do that you might uncover thoughts that are hindering you like:
Weight loss is too hard.
I don't have time to lose weight.
There's some magic bullet or some secret to it that I'm missing.
I can't lose weight until the house is clean and the kids are in college.
In order to lose weight I'd have to never be stressed again and that's impossible.
I can't lose weight until I get up at 5am everyday and workout and meal plan and do all the things.
or similar and perhaps my favorite:
In order to lose weight I have to get all my life together. I have to make everything else perfect.
And if you allow yourself to be negative when you answer the second question, What will happen when I lose weight, you might uncover beliefs like:
I'll never be able to eat what I want.
I won't be any fun at parties or restaurants.
I'll have no excuse for people not to like me.
or, again, my favorite:
Then, I'll have to get the rest of my life together.
As you answer these questions, this is also a great opportunity to tune into your feelings. And I mean this literally because your feelings can help you uncover some of the beliefs and thoughts that you maybe don't realize are there. For example, maybe question number two doesn't bring up a lot of answers, but when you get quiet and tune into your body, you realize that it brings up a twinge of fear. You can then work backwards and ask yourself, what must I believe about weight loss in order to feel fear?
And you might find the answer that comes up is "More people will notice me, and that's scary."
And once you have your list of answers, read them over and notice how your body reacts to each one. Which one or ones give you a pang in the chest or maybe a lump in your gut. Those are the ones that need some attention because they are causing these emotional reactions in your body that are then influencing your behaviors.
If you believe that weight loss is just too hard, and you feel a wave of depression come over you when you think that thought, you're not going to be motivated to get out there and do hard things. But if you can become aware of the thought and the results it creates, then you can find a way to deal with it and stop it from running the show.
You might question the thought and realize that maybe it's not true, maybe it doesn't have to be hard. Or you might decide that it is true, but so what? Because you can do hard things. Or you might decide that it's not hard or easy, it just is what it is and sometimes your brain just likes to make unhelpful noise that you don't have to listen to.
You have so many options as to how to think about or change your thoughts once you become aware of them, but the awareness is that key. And notice how we're not unearthing some big dark secret from your past, we're unearthing the thoughts that you take for granted and think are true because they are what is running your life.
And you can change them or manage them by asking yourself powerful questions - questions that put you back in the drivers' seat. Questions like:
How can I look at this in a way that makes me feel powerful?
How can I change this belief or add to it so that it benefits me instead?
Or you can work backwards again. You can say, ok, I want to feel excited and motivated to lose wight. What can I realistically think about this that will help me feel those feelings so I take positive actions and create what I want?
Tony Robbins said “The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself.”
And Stephen Jay Gould said, "The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question."
And the last point that I really want to drive home here is that our feelings and emotions - the very things we so often try to ignore and avoid are the best indicators of our resistance.
Resistance feels like tension, it makes you feel tense. And if you can just begin to tune in and notice when you feel that tension in your body, you'll begin to see your very own patterns of thought or action that are creating resistance.
Having you answer those two questions above, that was a very logical, practical exercise, and more of that is a good thing. That's why journaling and asking yourself powerful questions can seriously change your life, but you really level up when you can notice and question your beliefs in real time. And the key to doing that is to stay present to the feelings in your body.
Our first instinct is to avoid the uncomfortable feelings, but it's an amazing experience when we can begin to recognize that those uncomfortable feelings are truly gifts that are pointing us exactly where we need to go to look at exactly what needs to be looked at, so that we can grow, evolve and experience more peace and happiness in our daily lives.
And I will be talking more about that next week.
I hope you found this episode helpful and that you are able to identify and release just a little bit of your resistance using what I've shared. And I sincerely wish you more peace in your life.
Take good care of yourself and I will see you next week.