Do you look in the mirror and hate what you see? Do you eat foods that you know are not right for you and then feel guilty afterwards? Does the thought of the gym fill you with dread? Fed up with yo-yo dieting?
Everyone knows that having the body you desire is all about eating well and taking appropriate exercise. Sometimes certain foods can seem so tempting that they are difficult to resist. Previous bad experiences of exercise can form negative associations which make it difficult to enjoy it. The goals we set ourselves can be focussed on what we don’t want – causing us to loose motivation as we achieve success. The deeper problem may be that we do not feel comfortable with or worthy of the attention that will come when we look more attractive.
The first step toward changing your body is changing your mind: identifying patterns, learning from the past and transforming any barriers to success. By gaining a deep understanding what is really important to you you will be able to focus your energy more fully on what you want to achieve. You will set realistic and motivating goals and enjoy the process of feeling and looking fitter.
The following video is a deadly serious academic lecture on weight loss that I gave while I was trying to work out how to record and edit video:
Are you finding that your habits are causing you increasing levels of discomfort or affecting the way you behave around others? Are you worried that unless you make some changes your future health and relationships are likely to suffer? Are you determined to stop but feel that something is preventing you from making that change?
Habits can feel so difficult to change because they can involve many interrelated issues: the ‘physical’ addiction, limiting beliefs around self image or what is possible, emotions that the habit helps us to avoid, internal conflict due to the ‘pleasure’ being lost, unconscious responses to trigger situations and the reactions of friends and family to the change in behaviour. Trying to ‘break’ the pattern or (nicotine) patch it up without addressing all the underlying issues may well make it stronger or lead to an alternative addiction or compulsion developing.
Because of the complexity of factors involved passive ‘one size fits all’ ‘guaranteed in just one hour’ hypnosis approaches may not achieve the lasting results they promise. Dr David Shephard, one of my first NLP teachers told a version of the following story:
‘A man went to a traditional hypnotherapist offering a guaranteed stop smoking cure. During the session the hypnotherapist used suggestions to distort the man’s sense of taste to the effect that, from that moment on, every cigarette would taste of camel dung. He then utilised suggestions of amnesia so the client would consciously forget the session.
‘A couple of weeks later the hypnotherapist was walking down the street and saw the client coming the other way … smoking! He remembered that the session seemed to go well so he asked the client ‘How is the smoking?’. To which the client smiled and replied ‘They taste like shit, but you get used to it.’
For a complete and lasting solution it is best to identify the particular issues which affect you and resolve them all. When you have made these changes you will find that you have the clarity, congruence and determination to say ‘no’ to the addiction in a way that it believes you. You will know that it is you who is consciously deciding to make this change and to enforce your boundary. You will have a stronger sense of who you are, what you want, and your ability to take action to get it.
Are you terrified at even the thought of something? Spiders, injections, flying, heights, crowds, confined spaces? Does the fear manifest itself into physical symptoms? Does the fear of your fear prevent you from doing certain things or going to certain places?
Phobias and panic attacks are intense fears and stress reactions which occur as a response to very specific triggers. They often stem from a single and highly traumatic experience and are your emotional body’s way of trying to keep you safe. The irony is that the panic and terror can reduce your ability to take appropriate action – actually putting you in far more danger.
Unlike ‘exposure therapy’ (that puts a person into the situation that they are reacting to until they can manage their emotions or, perhaps, develop a phobia of psychologists!) my approach is to work with the source of the reactions and is designed to be as comfortable as possible at all times. It will help you to have the benefits of awareness without the negative consequences. You may not actually like the thing you used to dread but you will have regained a sense of perspective and have more choices available to you.
Do you expect certain situations to go badly, feel bad about it, perform badly and prove yourself right? Do you avoid certain situations entirely? Are you trying to keep up appearances but feel hollow inside – as if you are about to cave in? Deep down inside do you believe that you are a failure, not good enough, a bad person or unworthy?
At certain times in our lives the images we have built for ourselves can begin to get a bit shaky as aspects of ourselves we have ignored come to the surface and demand our attention. Seemingly complex situations are often underpinned by the limiting beliefs about ourselves that we took on early in our lives. These beliefs affect the way we perceive the world, the way we feel in ourselves, the way we act and, therefore, the results that we get. The cycle continues.
By resolving the underlying issues you are able to stop acting. Limiting beliefs disappear when you realise, at the deepest level, that they are not and never were actually true. Your natural confidence returns and you feel whole again. You can behave and interact in an authentic way – allowing others to see the real you.
Do seemingly small things stir up strong feelings of anger, sadness, fear, guilt or depression? You try to push the feelings away but they keep on coming back stronger and stronger?
Uncomfortable emotions build up over time because they were not fully resolved in the moment they arose. Situations in the now can bring back emotions that have been growing since childhood. Rather than helping us to react to situations they begin to be a burden … our overreactions can become difficult for those we live and work with. The constant presence of these emotions demanding our attention distorts our experience of life and we can begin to perceive the world as a negative place to be.
Releasing emotions from your memories using regression techniques such as Time Line Therapy or directly from your body lets you return to a normal calm, relaxed state of being that many people describe as like ‘coming home’. The energy that was trapped inside becomes available to you again and you become balanced. You will still experience emotions but they are appropriate to the situation and you can work with them rather than against them. You will have more choices over your actions and may find that situations that used to cause you problems simply do not develop any more.