Episode 5: Yo Yo Dieting, Positive Intent and Chronic Fatigue
Why is it that we can be so successful in some parts of our lives, yet struggle with our weight? If we could just get rid of that devil sitting on our shoulder, all would be well. Or would it? Join Renee this week and learn how to avoid the mistakes of Spain's Francisco Franco and Astronaut Lisa Nowak, and instead turn the devil on your shoulder into your advocate. Discover what causes yo-yo dieting and how you can break that cycle, for good. Plus, Renee shares how she overcame four and a half years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when thousands of dollars of supplements didn't work.
Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host Renee Stephens, and together we’re accessing the control panel of your mind/body system, bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey, and fullness to the rest of your life. On today’s show learn how to avoid the mistakes of astronaut Lisa Nowak and Francisco Franco, Spain’s former dictator. Also, I’ll be sharing how I resolved four and a half years of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Renee Stephens: By keeping our critical voice thoroughly removed from our inner dreamer we found that we can dream a better dream, that we can allow ourselves to go for what it is that we truly deeply desire.
Renee Stephens: Behind every action, every behavior that we have there’s a positive intent. So what does that mean? That means if I stuff my face, there’s a positive intent behind it? That means if I punch my neighbor, there’s a positive intent behind it? That means that if I scream at the guy driving while talking on his cell phone, there’s a positive intent behind it? Yes.
Renee Stephens: Lets go ahead and set our intention for today’s episode. Mine is to inspire you to break through a pattern that’s been holding you back as you create new patterns that bring joy and ease to your life as you become naturally slender. Go ahead and take a moment and think about your intention, what you’d like to get out of today’s episode. So far on Inside Out Weight Loss we’ve amped up our motivation to change by creating both away from and towards motivators, because that’s what it takes to create lasting motivation, motivation that will get you through the long run. We then spent time understanding how to really dream about what it is that we really want. By keeping our critical voice thoroughly removed from our inner dreamer, we found that we can dream a better dream, that we can allow ourselves to go for what it is that we truly deeply desire. We learned how important it is to separate our critical voice from our dreamer. How important it is to dream first and criticize later. Next we went on a guided journey to fill in the details of this new reality that we’re creating. On the last episode we learned about the power of inner alignment and attracting to you what you want. And attracting to you the body and the life of your dreams. We then walked through a process to find out what’s been holding you back. You tried your new body on for size to see how you like it. This week we’ll take it a step further as we look at the power of positive intent and understand the concept of meta outcomes.
Renee Stephens: Did I mention that I had chronic fatigue syndrome for a total of four and a half years? Well I did. In fact the first time that I got chronic fatigue syndrome resulted from a case of acute mononucleosis that I contracted at the highly convenient time of my honeymoon. In fact it turns out that I had mono during my wedding and I didn’t know it, and as soon as we arrived in our honeymoon destination, which was beautiful Sydney, Australia, and I couldn’t get out of bed, I went to see a doctor there who promptly told me that the last thing that I should do is kiss my new husband. Well that mononucleosis ended up devolving into chronic fatigue that lasted for that bout about 13 or 14 months. The second bout started about 8 and a half months after the birth of my first child, when I was working full time, working out an hour a day and breastfeeding my child about four times every night. I collapsed at that point and got again, yes, acute mononucleosis, and I know, I believe it’s about a two to three percent statistical chance that that can happen, but I managed it and I’m very proud of that. Anyway that also devolved into chronic fatigue syndrome for me, and this time it was more severe than the last. I ended up having to take significant chunks of time off of work, and I tried everything to get better. I did supplements, I did Yoga, I did meditation, I read books about it, I went to the doctor and had my blood tested every which way. In fact I did a supplement program where I was taking 14 to 20 supplement pills a day trying desperately to find something that would give me my energy back. And the interesting thing about this, and you’ll be hearing more about this later on the show today, is that none of that stuff worked. Today in fact I have wonderful energy, I have tons of energy. I work out five to six times a week, I run around after my two kids, run my practice, do my show. I have loads of energy, and I am grateful everyday for it. And later on in the show we’re going to talk about how it is that I reclaimed my energy, because you see, it was there all the time.
Renee Stephens: So first, before we get into that, lets talk for a minute about something called positive intent. We’ve heard about intent and the power of intent, but what about positive intent? What really does that mean? Well positive intent is the idea that behind every action, every behavior that we have, there’s a positive intent. So what does that mean? That means if I stuff my face, there’s a positive intent behind it? That means if I punch my neighbor, there’s a positive intent behind it? That means if I scream at the guy driving while talking on his cell phone, there’s a positive intent behind it? Yes, it does. In fact the assumption is that behind every behavior without exception there’s a positive intent. And I use this assumption, I make a conscious decision to believe this about myself and about my work. Because you see, when I had my weight struggle, when I was going up and down the scale, when I was jumping around my bedroom at 11 o’clock at night trying to work off the sins of indulgence from the day, or the ones that I anticipated for the next day, I hated myself. I hated the part of me that made me engage in these out of control behaviors. Didn’t understand the behaviors, and hated myself for doing them, because I was used to being a pretty darn high achiever. I was used to being able to do whatever it is that I set my mind to. But with the food stuff, I couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried, in fact it seemed like the harder I tried the worse I did. So positive intent means that, well wait a minute, beneath those behaviors I was trying to get something good for myself. Because the reality is that human beings prefer pleasure over pain. Can anyone disagree with that? Who would rather have pain than pleasure. It’s innate to us. Some of us may believe that pain is a root to pleasure, you know, the “no pain, no gain” mantra in the gym. Pain is enjoyed in that context because it’s a root to pleasure, it’s a root to enjoying your healthy, fit, muscular body. That’s what that’s all about. And so we all prefer pleasure over pain. Even when pain seems to be the first choice, it’s always because it’s a root to further pleasure. So what was it that I was doing? Lets in fact take an example, an extreme example, lets take an example of someone who is violent. Lets take an example of someone who kills somebody for example. A little while ago in the news there was a story of an astronaut who went on a mission, not with NASA, this mission was to get vengeance on the woman that she had thought stole the heart of another astronaut that she was in love with. This is the Lisa Novak story. Lisa carried arms in her car and was really out to do some serious damage to this other woman. And so what was her positive intent? Well in fact, my guess, I don’t know her personally, but I’m willing to guess that she though that if she were able to get vengeance on this woman or take her out of the picture, she could at least feel relief and at best she could maybe get the heart of this other astronaut that she was in love with. In other words, there was a positive intent for her. She wanted to feel good and she thought that this was what was necessary to make herself feel good. And so the same thing can be applied to anything really. But lets take it to the very personal level. Lets take it to the level of doing behaviors that we don’t want to be doing.
Renee Stephens: So you may remember from the last episode when I asked you to take out of you the part of you that was uncomfortable with the change, the part of you that was objecting to having what it is that you want. Yeah, you may think, “Gosh I’d like to just annihilate that part.” Some people talk to me about the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, “If I could just get rid of the devil I’d be fine. All would be well.” But what happens when you try to get rid of that devil? I lived in Barcelona, Spain for a couple of years after Franco had died and there was the new democracy in Spain. The Catalan’s, who live in Barcelona, were very, very insistent on speaking Catalan. Why? Because Franco thought that Spain would be better off having a single language. He thought that perhaps there’d be greater glory to him and to the country if everyone spoke Spanish. And so he outlawed all languages other than Spanish. Well what happened, the people who spoke Catalan and the other regional languages in Spain, did they just say, “Oh well, yeah that’s a fine idea. Lets go for it and drop our culture while we’re at it”? Well no. They went underground. They didn’t speak it publicly, they didn’t print things in it that could be seen by the authorities, but they kept it very much alive, and in fact their desire, their attachment to their language grew stronger during these years that Franco was in power. And when he died, when democracy came to Spain, they went wild with Catalan. And so the official language of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was Catalan. And to the dismay of some people who had gone there to perfect their Spanish, in fact Catalan was spoken more widely than Spanish because it had been suppressed. If you want to make something stronger you suppress it, and that’s why there’s so much Catalan spoken and enjoyed in Catalonia, the part of Spain where Barcelona is. So if you want to be like Franco and make whatever it is that you’re suppressing stronger, then you can go ahead and try to get rid of the devil on your shoulder. You can try to annihilate the parts of you that behave in ways that you don’t want, and you’ll make them stronger. So what’s the alternative? If the, the heavy-handed approach doesn’t work, what’s the alternative. Well the alternative is to understand the positive intent, to look for the positive intent. Another way of doing this is to look for the gift, to find out what the gift that the part of you that’s been behaving in these ways has been trying to give you. And that’s what we were doing last time. So what I’d like you to think about is the part of you that gets you to overeat, the part of you that gets you to under exercise, the part of you that makes those bad choices, think for a moment about that part of you.
Renee Stephens: This is Renee Stephens, and you’re listening to Inside Out Weight Loss on Personal Life Media. We’ll be right back.
Renee Stephens: Welcome back. Before the break we were talking about the power of positive intent, that all parts of us are in fact positively intended, or at least that’s what we’re going to assume. Why? Because it works. So thinking about the part of you that gets you to do the things that you don’t like that you do, what is it that you get out of it? What’s the upside? What is the gift? What’s the positive intent? And as we were discussing last time, that positive intent may be comfort, it may be safety. And I wanted to add a note to what we were saying last time about that, which is for some people it is, “Yes, I feel safer this way”, and that safety message can actually be very, very important. Safety is a primary human need. And so for some people who are overweight, being overweight is a very good defense against unwanted advances from the opposite sex, particularly in the cases of sexual related trauma. So rape victims for example, victims of sexual abuse, will often gain weight to prevent people from being attracted to them, to keep themselves safe, and that strategy really does work in the absence of a better alternative. Okay. So we’ve got that established. The weight is serving some sort of purpose, we’re getting something out of it. You could say that the weight is a solution, this is what Clotaire Rapaille postulates in his book The Culture Code, that being overweight is actually a solution to a problem, not a problem in and of itself. And until we find a better solution, we’re going to stay with the one that we have, overeating or being overweight.
Renee Stephen: So what the heck does this have to do with chronic fatigue, you might be asking? And what’s the solution to all this? Well it’s actually extremely interesting, because when we have this part of us that wants to provide us with a solution, provide us with more pleasure, provide us with comfort, and so gets us to do things that another part of us doesn’t agree with. We have an inner conflict going on. It’s like we have an inner tug of war. You know that game that we play on picnic days where we have the big scratchy rope and one team is on one side, four or five people, and then on the other side is the other team with the same number of people, and they’re all holding the rope and there’s a little flag in the middle and one team pulls and pulls and the other pulls and tugs and tugs and sweats dripping off of their brows and they’re grunting and moaning and for each incremental effort that one team puts out the other team matches it and pulls back, and so much energy is being expended in this monumental struggle, this pull one side to the next, energy both sides expending and expending and that little flag in the middle just moves a little bit each way. That is the inner conflict. Because if we have one part of us that’s pulling and tugging in one way, “I want to be slim, I want to be fit and I want to be healthy.” And the other part of us is pulling and tugging in the other way, it says, “I want to eat what I want when I want. I want to be safe, I want to have comfort, I want to have a party in my mouth.” Well you’ve got a great tug of war going on inside of you. And if you’re tired, no wonder you’re tired. Think of all the energy that’s being expended in this. And you know what? Once side may win for a little while. Hey, you go on a diet, everything’s great, people are saying you look terrific, “Yahoo, this is wonderful. What was I thinking before? I’ve found the solution”, and that one side wins and wins and it’s so happy. But what about the other side, the part that wants comfort when times get tough? The part of you that wants to be safe? What about that side? Well it’s sitting back in its corner, isn’t it? It’s sitting back in its corner and it’s plotting and planning when it’s going to get its own back, when it’s going to have its time in the sun. And it waits strategically, like Arnold Schwartzenegger waiting to become governor of California. It waits until that strategic moment when everything is right and some big stress comes your way, you change jobs, you have a fight with somebody, something happens to have its moment in the sun. And it says, “Oh well, just this once. I’ll just have this treat just this once.” Or it says, “What the heck. I, I’m okay now.” Whatever it is. And so you start eating again, and you go right back to your old habits. And so then it’s having its day in the sun and the weights coming on, and yeah, you’re getting comfort and it’s so much easier and you get into habits, and isn’t it nice to be able to go out to drinks with the girls or have a snack mid morning when you’re at Starbucks ‘cause you didn’t get enough sleep last night. It’s great. And so the other side is sitting in its corner. And the other side is sitting and plotting and planning how it’s going to start to speak Catalan again. And so the struggle continues, and what you get is the yo-yo pattern. That’s right. What you get is the up and down. You lose weight, you gain weight, you lose weight, you gain weight. What, you’re in the grocery store with a cake in your cart or the chips are in your cart and you’re reading a magazine about “Drop 10 pounds in 2 months” or one month or three days or whatever the heck those magazines say. That’s what it looks like. So if you’re tired there’s probably some kind of serious inner conflict going on with you. I’ll tell you what, all those things that I tried, I was about to drive, take a four hour drive to go see a special chronic fatigue doctor to see if he could help me. I read books on the subject, I did everything I could do, because I hated being inactive, that was the worst possible thing for me because I was an exercise nutcase, and it was really important to my sense of self-worth to be fit. We’ll get more to that part of my journey later on a future episode. So, and what was it that helped me in the end? What was it that allowed me to have the kind of energy that I have today? It was resolving my inner conflicts. And I had some big ones going on, I had all sorts of conflicting limiting beliefs going on within me. There were beliefs about having to work hard to be worthwhile. There were beliefs about needing to do the kind of career that I thought other people thought that I should do. Turns out I wasn’t even right about what I was so sure that other people thought that I should do, but I was marching along on that path trying to be someone that I wasn’t. And that was taking monumental amounts of energy for me, sapping all of my life force, so all I could do was the most minimal amount of activity. And it was only when I discovered the positive intent of the various parts of me that were in conflict that I was able to resolve that conflict. So let me make that a little bit clearer with an example about when it comes to weight loss. So one part of you is saying, “Yeah, I want to be slim and fit and fit in all my clothes and go to the beach with my kids” or whatever it is. And the other part of you is saying, “Well wait a minute, I want comfort. I want that time, that down time because I’m running so hard all day long that the only break that I give myself is having a snack.”
Renee Stephens: I had one client who had, she was very successful, she was the graduate of a top university around here, she had already amassed a large amount of wealth through real estate at a very young age, and she had a full time job where she was moving rapidly up the corporate ladder. Well as you could imagine, she was a busy woman. Busy, busy, busy. No time for breakfast, it was, if it was eaten at all it was grabbed and munched on the way out the door. Lunch was eaten at the desk as she typed away on her keyboard. And dinner was often eaten at her desk as well. There were no breaks in her day. The only semblance of a break was getting a snack, was getting a snack to distract her from whatever it is that she didn’t want to do, was distracting her from the intensity that she put on herself to accomplish her goals. So what happened? She would get a lot of snacks, and she’d find herself uncontrollably bingeing because she never gave herself a break. So what was the positive intent for her of that eating behavior? Well it was to have a bit of downtime. My goodness. We can only, we’re not machines, we can only work so hard, but what are the expectations that we put on ourselves. And so when we resolved her inner conflict, all of a sudden she started taking some time for herself. Her first homework assignment was to sit in the break room and have lunch. And so lunch moved to the break room, and then it moved to a bench outside with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay. And she felt restored. And you know what, it didn’t even take that long. She could feel restored in a 30 minute break. So that was the conflict that was raging within her, why she had this crazy behavior she didn’t understand. And as soon as we understood the gift at a very deep level, what the gift of the part of her that was doing this behavior was, she was able to accept the gift and finds ways that work even better to bring comfort to herself, like taking 20 or 30 minutes and sitting outside and enjoying the view. Just taking a break, stopping, clearing the mind. So I want you to think very seriously about what the gift is of the part of you that’s been getting you to behave the way that you have been behaving that you don’t like. There is one, guaranteed. And if you try to deny it, if you try to annihilate it, blow it up, get rid of it, it’s going to come back like it always has. So why not embrace it. Why not thank the part of you for wanting these wonderful things for you, and work together.
Renee Stephens: So what is a meta outcome? Well a meta outcome is the goal of the goal. Meta means the overarching, the one above. It’s the goal of the goal, the outcome of the outcome. So when you think about the gift, when you think about what these behaviors that we don’t understand are trying to do for us that’s good, we’re thinking about the outcome of the outcome. The first goal might be something like, “Well I, you know, I eat because I’m pissed off. I eat because I’m angry. I eat because I’m bored.” And the goal is to relieve the boredom. Well what’s the goal of the goal? The question to ask is then, “Well, if I’m able to relieve the boredom as I want to, what then will I have that’s even more important?” You could say, “Well, I’ll have peace. I’ll be able to rest. I’ll be entertained.” And you can take that up a level higher as well. And if you are entertained, what then will you have that’s even more important? And you can come to something like, “Well, if I’m entertained I’ll feel joy.” And so the goal of the goal, the meta outcome is joy or peace. And I’ll tell you something else; I want you to think about anything that you can think of that you don’t like about your own behavior or anybody’s behavior, and find out how high you can go with the meta outcome. Think about what the ultimate goal of that behavior is. And I’ll bet that you’re going to end up with things that are universally considered positive, like peace, joy, love, even contentment. ‘Cause that’s what we want. We all want pleasure over pain, every human being on the planet. Every animal on the planet too, I would imagine. Not having have been an animal in this lifetime, I don’t know for sure, but that’s my guess.
Renee Stephens: We’re almost out of time today. But before we go, I’d like to remind you that we’ve been talking about the power of positive intent. That by understanding this positive intent we can honor the part of us that we’ve been trying to get rid of, and we can resolve those inner conflicts and create inner alignment, the most powerful force for change in the universe, that that kind of inner alignment, resolving that tug of war. You know, with the team on each side pulling and grunting. Imagine for a moment that you’ve got your teams in your body, one on one side and the other on the other, and they both put down that rope and come together, and move forward together. They can go ten times as far with the tenth of the effort. What would that be like for you? Imagine.
Renee Stephens: That brings us to the end of our show today. Join us next time as we do something that we will rarely do on this show about Inside Out Weight Loss; we’re going to talk about food. Learn the foods that will make your slimming journey easier. It’s not about the should’s and shouldn’ts, it’s about what’s going to make your life easier. I’ve got some very fascinating things to share with you, and I look forward to being present with you next time. And remember, you’ll get out double or more of what you put into this journey, but you must put in to get out. Go to the blog at personallifemedia.com/blogs/renee, click on blogs, then click on Renee and post a comment. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or what would be even more fun would be for you to leave a message for me at 206-350-5333. That’s 206-350-5333. We may play your question or comment on the air. For other shows on the Personal Life Media network, please visit our website at personallifemedia.com. There’s load of intriguing content out there. This is your host Renee Stephens, and I am on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves, because world peace begins with inner peace. Take good care.