It’s Time To Manage My Weight Again
Weight Management has always been an important topic to me. When I first started up the Release Hypnosis website a couple of years back, the first blog that I wrote looked at how I lost my weight and how I managed to keep it off. Realistically, I’ve been fairly successful at keeping it off over that time too and I can confidently say that I’ve managed to avoid becoming as heavy as I was then again.
Then again, we are always constantly in changing situations and, with that, we can often find that old habits can resurface if we don’t bring an awareness to them.
Over the past few months, my weight has begun to creep back on. I’m sure we’re all familiar with that feeling of stepping out of the shower, seeing ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we’re not being the best version of ourselves that we can be.
This week, I’m making a change. I’m going back to basics. I’m stepping in on my habits now and making changes before I find myself in a state that makes me feel disappointed with myself, robs me of my self-esteem and makes me want to hide away.
Understanding habits and habitual behaviour
Let’s start by looking at habitual behaviour.
Habits in themselves are neither good nor bad. In fact, we need habits to function and to provide some sense of stability and predictability in our lives. Going back to the shower before, how many people dry themselves off in exactly the same pattern each day? How many people brush their teeth in exactly the same way? It’s the default setting that allows us to multi-task and to get on with our day.
All habits are there to serve a purpose too. Some habits are great for us; for those who develop a habit of exercising every day, it has some incredible benefits.
When most people talk about habits though, their mind tends to move more towards topics such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, and food. Yes, over-eating is a habit.
What most people may not realise though is that those habits are there because it is protecting the person from dealing with uncomfortable and difficult feelings. Now, I’m aware of the fact that when I become bored or frustrated or stressed or anxious or worried, I tend to eat. I become an emotional eater. I eat whatever and I get a dopamine release and I feel good, at least for that moment.
If we were to take an ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) approach here, this behaviour would be referred to as ‘experiential avoidance’. Again, experiential avoidance in itself is not a bad thing; we all may need it occasionally to blow off some steam or to reduce the pain. The bigger question is the workability of it; what is the cost in the long term if we continue to do that behaviour?
For example, that person who has developed a habit of exercising to blow off stress is probably going to benefit from the long-term workability of it as opposed to someone who has become a habitual drinker to deal with their stress. The problem folds back in on itself over time; the drinking might relieve the stress in that moment however it is probably going to compound the problem over time and cost them a lot more.
For many people who are stuck in destructive habitual behaviour, it is also because the habit exists in the moment and there is often little thought about the longer term consequences. They begin to build up reasons and excuses to keep that behaviour in place; a smoker might tell you that they smoke to ‘calm themselves down’ although it is actually the deep breathing that calms them down and not the cigarette itself. However, we hold onto those beliefs and it builds an identity (“I’m a smoker”) and so, unless we can tear a person apart from the identity and dismantle the beliefs they have, they may find it hard to change that behaviour.
In my case, while eating may bring my short-term comfort and I might rationalise it in the moment by saying that ‘tomorrow me will deal with it’, I need to start the process by reconnecting with the image of the person that I want to be and the emotion/feelings behind why this change is important.
Weight Management – Week 1
So here I am, week 1 of my new weight management process.
I’ve begun with some mandatory things. I’ve planned my week of food so that I know that I’m not going to overeat and I know my portion sizes.
I’ve made a commitment to drinking more water half an hour before eating. This will allow me to feel fuller beforehand.
I’ve made a commitment to eat mindfully. This means NO television or distractions while I’m eating. It means to slow down my meals, to be in the moment and to actually enjoy it instead of just engulfing it like a dog with their treats.
I’ve made a commitment to more exercise – and that doesn’t necessarily mean having to go to the gym every day. It could mean going for a walk on a beautiful evening and spending some quality time with my partner in the process (NO phones!). It could mean getting out the TRX cables and doing a quick work-out at home. There are so many ways in which we can find a moment to exercise that doesn’t have to mean going to the gym for an extended workout.
This week especially though, it really is just about being mindful. Mindful of every meal. Mindful of when my mind tells me I’m hungry. I need to question if that is true or if it is my mind trying to trick me into eating when I could just have a glass of water or a black coffee/tea instead. I need to be mindful of what I am doing at that time and to understand how my emotions work so that I can become more aware in the moment as to what is going on for me and react appropriately.
I’m going to share my weight management journey
I made a decision that I’m going to share my journey each week and I’ve made the commitment, to be honest, and authentic about it so if I go backwards, yep, I’ll share that too. I think it is important to normalise this so that others can perhaps identify with the experience and know that there will be setbacks but it is far more important to get back up and keep going. When you’ve identified WHY it is that this is important, what your VALUES are around health and food and exercise, then you can use that knowledge to help guide your actions.
With that, I’ll be doing these updates via Facebook Live so if you’re not a member of my Release Hypnosis Facebook group, then please take a moment to LIKE it.