Now, before you get defensive or angry at the title please finish this first page before making any conclusions. Psychologists are still trying to unravel the workings of the mind. Our brains are far more complicated than anything else in our immediate field of understanding.
As much as we would like to think of ourselves as rational, if we look at the actions of others clearly people are only partly rational.
We all act in ways that are self-destructive or pointless … Crazy even
This is partly because our subconscious mind often makes false connections.
For example, if someone has a bad relationship break up, you can hear them talking about how ‘all men / women are the same’. After a nasty romantic experience, it is common for people to wait a long time to find love again. A person might have a string of shallow and empty relationships that can span for years. They sabotage one relationship after another, repeating the same failures.
From a purely rational standpoint, a bad relationship can be examined and the problems are usually obvious in hindsight. (Certainly from an outsider’s view.)
Also from a rational standpoint no-one would plan to repeat the same mistakes, or endure a string of failed relationships when it is love and intimacy that they truly want in their hearts.
So, what is happening is that the subconscious mind has made associations and decided rules regarding the event. If subconsciously you associate intimacy with pain, or people of the opposite sex with control and abuse, then you will struggle. We can see examples of negative associations in other parts of our lives such as with phobias or superstitious beliefs.
So, with your weight problem, there could be some underlying associations or false connections.
As a child, were you rewarded for being good with sweets or junk food? Maybe you were given junk food when you felt upset. I know that it is easy to pacify an angry, bored or upset child with a chocolate bar… I make that mistake with my own children from time to time. When we combine the influence of junk food as a pacifier or mood modifier with the addictive chemical reactions of sugar or caffeine, a powerful association can be created.
Just being fat could have got you attention as a child. Maybe you got upset about it and the reassurance and attention that you got from family or certain friends made you feel secure and loved.
Children often get addicted to receiving negative attention, some children constantly misbehave, then get shouted at or beaten by their parents, and then the feeling of release and calm. Which is often accompanied by tenderness as child and parent ‘make up’. A child often craves more attention than they could ever receive, so negative attention often ends up being better than no attention at all.
Maybe your problem involves self-hate
People who suffer from self-loathing tend to act in ways that will court abuse from others. From acting in an antisocial manner that creates negative reactions from others, to dressing in strange ways to court ridicule.
Each of these topics could inspire multiple books, so I won’t go into too much detail. The point is, you could be overeating or bingeing for reasons that are not immediately apparent. It is no use following a new diet if subconsciously you want negative attention, or sympathy. If you have a strong association with comfort food as a mood modifier, then a diet won’t work.
The first step in solving any problem is to identify it. Bring it out into the open. Take a break from this book and think hard. Examine these questions deeply to see if any could apply to you.
- Are you self-destructive or self-loathing and the excess weight is a tool of your own punishment?
- Did you build up a strong association with treats and reward?
- Did you build up a strong association with treats and being pacified?
- Have you ever enjoyed sympathy and attention because of your weight?
- Do you think that you have courted negative attention with your weight?
If you answered yes to any, (or even all the above), then well done!
Identifying a problem, especially a subconscious one is not easy. Just the action of identifying it, pulling it out into the light, brings you more than 50% of the way towards solving it.
Spend some time writing about your understanding of the problem and how it relates to you personally. Make sure you write the notes down as they will act as a reminder in the future. Also the act of writing something down clarifies and solidifies. It is the second stage of the solution progress.
Another thing that you can do is start to replace your thoughts
If for example you use a chocolate bar as a reward, when you are about to reward yourself then become aware of the process.
Say to yourself something like: “Wow after that positive event I was about to buy a chocolate bar! However, I am not a child anymore and a better reward for myself will be to become slim and sexy”.
This is just an example, don’t shout it out whilst shopping in the supermarket…
As you catch yourself in your old destructive habit, and replace your old mental narrative with a positive empowering one, each time you do it there will be a reinforcement. It is about being more conscious and aware of yourself.
Are you being fat partly to get attention? Be it warm sympathy, or to receive a self-destructive attitude of disgust from someone…
The best way of dealing with that is to GROW UP
You shouldn’t still use other people in to create feelings. Your self-esteem should be coming from within by now. As a child, other people’s opinions are very important to our self-esteem. As an adult, they still have a significance, but should be outweighed by your own value and judgement systems.
What if you are still young? Or need help growing up? The best thing to do is work on yourself in other areas.
What is your philosophy in life?
Do you understand anything of psychology?
Where do you stand on questions of spirituality?
Do you feel like you are in control of your destiny or completely subject to outside forces?
Again, each of these topics could fill many a library bookshelf but if you haven’t spent time reading and thinking about these types of things then you will be mentally stunted.
So the good news is that there are many things for you to do, there are so many ways that you can improve and each improvement and realization will be a building block towards the new you!
Simply following the latest fad diet will not do this for you. Only you can do it. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. You are not a child anymore! (Most of you… If you are a child reading this, then you are very lucky because it has taken me 30 years to figure these things out).
You can only create lasting change by becoming a different person than the one you are now. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
As you become slim, healthy and full of energy your life will change in many ways
By focusing on your thoughts and understanding yourself better you can steer the ‘new you’ in the right direction. Instead of always being at the mercy of outside forces.