With 2009 behind us, we may want to compassionately assess how much impulse control we exhibited regarding the overwhelming number of temptations that were offered to us during the onslaught of holiday cheer (sometimes morphing afterward into holiday jeer!). The good news is that this fresh New Year may serve as an opportunity to take a serious look at what has been blocking us in reaching our healthy weight loss goals. I’ve heard many inquiring new clients say things like—You’re my last resort! I’ve tried everything and am still struggling with my weight…and I absolutely hate looking in the mirror.
In my private practice, I offer tools and strategies for people who are ready to get to the bottom of what mysterious barriers have been blocking them from losing their excess unhealthy weight. So, before we declare that we are simply unmotivated and are “weak-willed” people, let’s consider the fact that there may be some complex issues unconsciously driving our overeating impulses. Often, clients are surprised by what they learn about themselves in our sessions. For instance, here is an experience that a client graciously gave me permission to share:
Several years ago, I went to see Trina with a goal of losing weight. I appreciate how she took me deeper in our individual sessions—beyond the ‘making healthy choices,’ ‘strengthening will power,’ and other self-hypnosis exercises that are on her weight loss CDs.
During one of my private sessions with Trina, I discovered the link to my mother and grandmother’s way of leaving life…by not eating. This new awareness beamed a light through a window that I didn’t know was closed! What I realized was: I thought of dieting as ‘not eating’ and I thought of ‘not eating’ (unconsciously) as leading to death. For that reason—I couldn’t diet. When I recognized the faulty connections in my conscious and unconscious, the overeating challenges disappeared.
“Now, as I continue to watch my weight, I quickly notice when my waistband feels tighter, and I realize that it’s time for a booster shot of listening to Trina’s weight loss CDs. I know I have the tools to maintain my desired weight and I have. Thanks Trina!” —Babs Bee
What I love about offering hypnotherapy is that, through deep relaxation, my clients have an opportunity to explore underlying issues that may be sabotaging their goal reaching. Exploring under the surface of a challenging issue, and addressing the roots, can be extremely productive. As illustrated by many of my clients’ successes, unhealthy habits often lose their power when unconscious issues are brought into the light where conscious understanding and integration can take place.
During the personal growth process, in addition to focusing on releasing our excess weight, we often explore how to:
- stop using food in an attempt to manage emotions
- love ourselves from the inside out—at any weight
- uncover negative core beliefs
Early in my work with weight loss clients, I often ask, “Do you have any limiting core beliefs?” A core belief is a positive or negative perception you have about yourself. For example, a positive core belief would be that you feel intelligent and competent. A negative core belief would be that you feel like an imposter. Residing at the core of an “Imposter Syndrome” are often feelings of being incompetent. I explain to clients who suffer with an Imposter Syndrome that a common critical inner dialogue might include some of these thoughts:
“If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m not intelligent, not attractive, and not worthy of praise. My accomplishments and successes have all come from good timing or from luck.”
The Impostor Syndrome is a term educators and psychologists use to describe someone who is unable to internalize their past or current accomplishments. People struggling with an Impostor Syndrome don’t believe that they deserve their successes—and at a core level they feel like a fraud. For this reason, deflecting compliments is a common response from someone who has an Imposter Syndrome.
We all have various core beliefs about ourselves. Some of us feel good about ourselves, and sadly, as illustrated by the Imposter Syndrome, some of us feel a sense of shame about ourselves. Our positive perceptions add to our self-esteem, creating a strong foundation for our sense of self. By contrast, our negative perceptions give us a rocky foundation that can leave us feeling “less than” others.
If we haven’t uncovered or addressed our negative core beliefs, then they may lead to a weak or shaky feeling in our foundations that can result in low self-esteem. Unfortunately, negative core beliefs can sabotage our weight loss success by keeping us stuck in an unconscious cycle of supporting and fulfilling our negative beliefs.
For instance, if we keep saying to ourselves: “I know I’ll always be overweight, and I don’t have any willpower to change,” then guess what? If we’re not using tools to unravel, weaken, and counter this negative core belief with opposing positive evidence, then this belief is likely to become stronger and stronger.
Eventually, unless interrupted, our limiting core beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Uncovering negative core beliefs can be a way to address our “unconscious self-sabotaging.” For example, believing:
- I’m unlovable
- I am permanently stuck at this unhealthy weight
- I don’t deserve to be happy
Negative core beliefs can keep us stuck in overeating cycles. These self-destructive cycles can perpetuate retaining our extra weight and create a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Unfortunately, when self-destructive cycles are uninterrupted, they can lead to depression, which, is sometimes referred to as anger turned inward.
In my private practice, in addition to hypnotherapy work, I offer clients a take-home educational worksheet that they fill out when they are feeling stressed. The steps on the worksheet help people interrupt their stress responses, identify negative core beliefs (sometimes referred to as “stinkin’ thinkin’), and lower their anxiety levels in the process. I receive great feedback from clients who regularly use this tool. (And yes, I admit that I use this wonderful worksheet in my own life too—when I’m feeling stressed!)
So, now that we’ve explored the topic of unconscious blocks that can inhibit goal reaching, are you aware of any unhealthy core beliefs that may be sabotaging your success? If so, then moving beyond these unconscious barriers may enable you to achieve your healthy goals this year.
Finally, why not step onto a path of action today? Call me if you’d like new tools, resources, and a “power partner” for your exciting journey. After all, isn’t it time to move beyond any mysterious weight loss barriers…and claim the healthiest mind-body possible in 2010?
Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a certified clinical hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author of the 2-CD Set, Weight Loss: Powerful & Easy-to-Use Tools for Releasing Excess Weight. She is also the author of Stress Reduction Journal: Meditate and Journal Your Way to Better Health. Her CDs and her book are available directly from Trina or from John Muir Women’s Health Center online store: www.womenshealthcenterstore.com/books1.html
Trina has a private practice in downtown Danville. She soulfully shares her creative approach to personal growth and passionately supports her clients in reaching their goals. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.
Next time you’re online, check out Trina’s inspiring website! www.TrinaSwerdlow.com
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.