Part of good parenting involves guiding and identifying bad behavior without condemning your child. For example, if your child breaks something in the house you will be annoyed, you will obviously want to let them know that it is unacceptable. You might be angry; you certainly want to take action that will minimize breakages in the future.
You don’t want to give a child a complex. You want to let them know that the way they acted was clumsy, NOT that they are a clumsy person. You want your child to act in a way that isn’t stupid, you won’t achieve that if you convince them that they ARE stupid. By “hating the actor” you re-enforce the bad behavior because it becomes part of their identity.
The same situation can happen in adulthood. It’s the difference between a heavy drinker or a drug user saying: “I have a problem” rather than saying: “I am an alcoholic or a drug addict”.
The self-confessed drug addict or alcoholic is expressing their identity, talking about who or what they are.
If someone says that they have a problem, it implies a potential solution.
One reason why a dieter puts weight back on is that they still see themselves as a fat person who has been on a diet
This is reinforced each time they diet, lose weight then put it back on again. I am not talking about a number on the scales, or even the rolls of flab. I am talking about the person’s identity. The identity that is created by the ego; that narrative in the head that justifies, persuades you and twists reality. It is an artificial construct, that people created in the past, good or bad, and your own internal dialogues.
It’s the big bone / slow metabolism / runs in the family beliefs accepted from family members.
It’s the fat-and-lazy insults from classmates.
It’s the self-justification for failed diets.
It’s the rationalized guilt and mourning for the person that you should have been until now.
These are the parts of your identity that keep you fat. Healthy slim people don’t have these conversations going on in their heads. (Although many have different self-destructive dramas going on!)
So, the solution to this is NOT to ‘go on a diet’. NEVER ‘go on a diet’ again. It has never worked and it never will.
People who lose weight and keep the weight off CHANGE THEIR DIET, they don’t go on a diet
It is a series of life changing decisions, not a temporary scheme.
Each change you make will create momentum. Instead of being a fat person who is trying to avoid cakes be a healthy person who simply doesn’t eat cakes any more. Be a health-conscious person who will only eat a small dessert if their main course is healthy.
Change your identity. Permanently
Imagine that you are at a party. Everyone is drinking and there is inevitable peer pressure for people not drinking, to join in. Imagine that you are in a small subgroup of say 6 people. Two are not drinking. The already drunk “life and soul of the party” comes over and tries to force the nondrinkers to have a glass.
The first one says: “I’m trying to cut back on alcohol because I have been drinking too much lately”.
The second one says: “I am a teetotal nondrinker, I made a vow to myself never to drink again and I wouldn’t break that vow for anyone”.
Which person is about to be persuaded and get drunk?
Word choices are powerful, self-identity is powerful
If you feel that my nondrinker example might be over the top, or if you want to drink a little, how about:
“I only ever have 2 alcoholic drinks in one session, I have stuck to this for a long time and it really works for me”.
This sounds like a mature person that has made a conscious decision to be in control of their life. Everyone has a right to design their life in a way that is in their best interests. If they are not hurting anyone else, a person with values and principles comes across as strong, not weak.
Words are powerful, words are expressions of thought. Thoughts are expressions of the soul, of character. Thoughts are the seeds of everything we do, good and evil, right and wrong, selfish or mutually advantageous.
Think about your identity, watch and control your destructive thoughts
Are you a fat person on a diet? (Again!)
Are you someone who always makes the healthy choice? Someone who chooses deep life satisfaction over cheap taste bud thrills?