Episode 67: Easy Exercise Motivation, Part VII
In this last episode on our series on easy exercise motivation, learn what to do if you just love food too much, plus let Renee guide you through a powerful motivation maneuver to get you LOVING exercise.
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Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I'm your host, Renee Stephens, and together we are accessing and adjusting 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, what to do if you just love food too much, and a powerful guided motivation makeover to get you jumping up and down with excited anticipation for your next workout.
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It's time to drop inside and become present with you, as I share a Moment of Bliss courtesy of blisstrips.com.
The light of life shines from within. A deeply embedded flame fueled by hopes, dreams, and joy. Tune into that glow now. Nurture it. Expand it. Put your energies into becoming the person you know you can be. As you feed this fire, feel its warmth. See it shine with even brighter luminosity. This is your inner light. This is you. What a beautiful thing to pay attention to. As you feel that light, sink even further into it. Notice that this is the light of all potentials, of all possibilities. And yet it's both what you are now and what you will become.
And even if you aren't so sure about it really being there -- remember that childhood song? [sings] "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..." And even if you aren't so sure about it really being there, or if it feels covered up by so many layers of stuff -- you can just pretend. Pretend you see it, and feel it. If there were a sound to it, what would it be? And you can even pretend, just pretend, that it's so strong that no matter how many layers are on top of it, it shines through. Perhaps it even melts them. Or maybe, you can imagine that those layers are like that high-tech rain gear that breathes but keeps the rain out. Except in this case, it lets the good stuff come in and expand outward, and it keeps the bad stuff out. Nice.
So as you feel increasingly centered in your own inner light, you can go ahead and sink further into this episode, and open your awareness, and you heart, to the presence of fellow journeyers listening to this show across space and time, send them your support, and feel theirs come back to you many, many times magnified over.
I'd like to answer a post that I read in the Yahoo group. And this listener writes that she's trying to figure out what "gift" (quote-unquote) her overeating is trying to give me. She writes: "What is my positive intent for continuing this habit? I wasn't sexually abused or beaten as a child, I want to be sexy, I'm not afraid of attention from men. I just really, really like the taste of food! Unhealthy food. I eat a little and it makes me want more. Does there have to be a root cause to this evil? I wish there was so I'd hit it in the head and make it go away."
That's a really good question. And while I don't know for sure what's going on in her situation, I can make a few comments and give a few answers or possibilities to her question. The first thing I want to mention though, is that loving food, even overeating it, is not an evil. She calls in an "evil." And you know what, it's just a behavior that you clearly get pleasure from, at least in the moment, and perhaps there are other behaviors that would give you even more pleasure over an even longer period of time. Let's just say it's a behavior that isn't working as well as other behaviors might work.
Now, to address the question: Is it possible that you really don't have any underlying issues, that the only reason that you're overweight is that you simply just love food?
Sure. Absolutely, it's possible. It's not that common. Most of the time, there are underlying issues that get you into that situation. It's rare that it's a real accident that we're overweight. Usually we're getting multiple benefits from it. But sure, sometimes, it's just a matter of, yeah, you love food. But what is that really? Let's take a closer look.
You could just have a decision strategy that causes you to overeat. What is a "decision strategy," what am I talking about? If you listened to the earlier episodes and you heard the episode on the Naturally Slender Eating Strategy, you might recall that that's a decision strategy as well. What's a decision strategy? It's a habitual process that we use to make a certain type of decision. And it turns out that yes, in fact, we really are creatures of habit, and we will have a typical way that we make decisions. Decisions to buy something, decisions about how we spend our time, decisions about what clothes we're going to wear.
For example, I recently figured out that I have a pretty bad decision strategy around buying clothes to wear. Why is it bad? Because when I'm in the store, I make a decision based on how something looks. If it looks good, I think, "Oh, that's so cute, I really want that, so I might buy it" -- if it's a good price, I'll buy it. Then I bring it home. And how do I decide what I'm going to wear on a given day? Unless it's a really special event, where I have to get dressed up, I decide based on how comfortable it is. So if it's comfortable, I'll wear it. So what happens? I have some nice-looking clothes in my closet that I don't wear, and I have some clothes that are comfortable that I wear over and over and over again. This is a mismatched decision strategy. So next time I go shopping, I'm going to say to myself, "Okay, what would be really comfortable to wear?" And then I'll look for something that's comfortable that looks good, so I can buy things that I'll actually wear.
You may remember from that earlier episode I talked about a decision strategy around eating -- that is, the proverbial "see food" diet. In other words, if you see something to eat, and you eat it just because you saw it, then that's a really good strategy for being very overweight, because in our culture -- especially with the office goodies and food available it seems anywhere, anytime -- we see a lot of food. Much more than we need. Now that strategy may have worked in times of scarcity, or when we were hunter-gatherers, but it doesn't work for our lives today.
Now, back to the loving food. What does it mean that you love food? Well it means, as another Yahoo group member pointed out, that you are, by enjoying your food now, you're probably ignoring the feelings in your body of having overeaten. Those are yucky feelings for most people -- it feels really bad to overeat, in our bodies. Yucky, stuffed, lethargic -- ugh. So what's really happening is that you are focusing on the pleasure in the moments of eating, and let's face it, those aren't many moments overall. And you are ignoring the discomfort of having overeaten. Also, if you are eating when you're not hungry, you haven't noticed, perhaps, that food is much more enjoyable when we eat it when we're hungry. It's also much more enjoyable when we savor it, and eat it slowly and consciously.
So loving food, to me, simply means that -- if you're overweight, that is -- because you can love food and be naturally slender, like that woman in "French Women Don't Get Fat" -- in fact, like many French people, and people all over the world -- but if you love food and you're overweight, it suggests to me that you are exaggerating the pleasure of the experience of eating in the moment, or you have a high pleasure there, but you are completely discounting the displeasure, the discomfort, over time. And if that's the case, go back to the episode on the Naturally Slender Eating Strategy and walk through it again.
Now as I'm describing this, it occurs to me that this decision strategy that I've just described about overeating is very similar to what happens to people who don't enjoy exercise. Think about it. People who don't enjoy exercise put a lot of emphasis on the very, very short term of the hassle of getting to exercise or during the workout, being sweaty or whatever it is, and very little attention to the great feelings you have over time, one, two, three hours, maybe even the rest of the whole day. Not to mention your fit, toned, and healthy body. So all we're talking about here, for both exercise and food, is expanding your time horizon. Expanding your vision to even an hour or two hours after the initial event, to think about the way you'll feel the enjoyment of the experience over time.
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We're back now. Before the break, we were talking about expanding our time horizon to make choices that cause the most pleasure over the most time. And now I'd like to share with you a powerful motivation maneuver to boost your love of exercise. I call it "Drag-and-Drop Motivation," because it's like on the computer, where you can copy -- say you have a document -- and you can copy the formatting from one document to another, kind of like a template. Turns out, the human brain works in templates. It has a template for things we love, and a template for things we hate, for example. And by being aware of these templates, we can actually transfer one to another.
What does that mean? That means that -- let's say you love knitting. You just love knitting, you can't get enough knitting, any time you have, you're knit-knit-knitting away. It's a real passion for you, it's never a hassle, you just enjoy it. And then let's say you hate exercise. Really, just a bummer to exercise, big hassle -- yuck. So what if you could take the way you feel about knitting -- something you love -- and apply it to exercise -- something you want to love. How cool would that be? Drag-and-drop motivation! The good news is that it is absolutely and completely possible. Oh yeah. We're going to choose the high-motivation, love-to-do-it template from your mind, and put exercise in that template.
Now, in order for this to be effective, it's necessary for you to be in inner alignment about doing exercise. In other words, you can't have an inner conflict, you can't be conflicted about, "Well, I kinda want to exercise, but I kinda don't, it would be good, but da-da-da-da..." You can't be conflicted about the value of it -- for example: "Oh gosh, it'll take time away from my family, so I'm not sure that I want to do it, and it's selfish..." If you're in that kind of state, then you need to go back to the episode earlier about the positive intent for your objections, and resolve those objections. Also go back to the early episode about the conflict about yes and no to losing weight and you can even use the guided journey available on my site, called "Sabotage Self Sabotage" to create that kind of inner alignment, which is the necessary base for this Drag-and-Drop Motivation to work the way you want it to work. Because if you're conflicted, it will simply increase your conflictedness -- that's not a very good word, is it? [laughs] I think you get what I mean. It will simply increase the amount of your conflict, rather than your motivation to exercise. So make sure that you are not conflicted, that you truly do want to exercise, so you might as well enjoy it.
Now, think about something that you wildly love to do. It's okay if it's cooking. It's actually even okay if it's something you love to eat. But maybe there's something else as well. Could be knitting, shopping, painting, beading, motorcycle riding -- whatever it is. Now imagine doing this activity. Imagine being in the middle of it. There you are, you can feel the knitting needles in your hands, you can feel the motorcycle, you can feel the beads, the shopping, whatever it is -- it's as if you are there, fully present now, seeing what you see, hearing what you hear, and feeling what you feel.
Be present. And notice, on a scale of zero to ten, with ten being the highest, how strong your enjoyment of this activity is. If it's a seven or below, you might want to choose something you enjoy even more, or a situation in which you enjoy this activity even more, at a level eight, nine, ten. Because if you pick a level seven or below template, you're going to transfer that motivation. If you pick a ten template, you'll transfer a ten level motivation.
So get the right level, and before we go on, I should issue a word of warning here, that even when you feel huge motivation to exercise, remember you want to keep it healthy. You don't want to overdo it; you want to do it moderately, and appropriate to your current fitness level when you begin. Because I have to confess, in the early days, before I was working with clients, I did this to someone who was just a friend and she was so enthusiastic afterwards that she went out and she overdid it. So. let's make a plan, let's make a pact, you and me, that when you go do your exercise that you're just chomping at the bit to do, you do it in a way that is appropriate for your current fitness level, and health-enhancing.
All right, so now you have that image, that experience, it's as if you could see it -- you see an image that is you in the activity that you love. All right. Now, we want an image of you see yourself -- you will be in this image as opposed to experiencing the experience -- you will actually see yourself there, doing the exercise that you'd like to love to do. So there you are, exercising, you see yourself, and that's the image. You probably don't feel very excited about it right now because, heck, that's why we're doing this.
So you've got two images. You've got one which is you in the experience of doing what you love, and you have the second image, which is you seeing yourself doing the experience that you want to love -- the exercise. So you're going to put one image in front of the other. You're going have -- the front image is going to be the image of you doing the exercise. There you are, doing what has to be done. Now behind that image is the image of yourself, the motivation image, the brighter, more fun image of you doing what you love. There's one image in front of the other, you see these in front of you, one is, the first one is you imagining, seeing the scenery, whatever it is, doing what you love, and the image behind it is perhaps the brighter more exciting image, and that's the one of you doing what you love.
Now you imagine that in that front image that is blocking the other one, there's this little pinhole opening. It's a little pinhole, and through it shines the light of enjoyment of your favorite activity. The aperture of that pinhole right now is very small. But it could expand -- in other words, the pinhole could become bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger -- it could become huge. It could become so big, in fact, that all you see are the borders of that front image. And everything else you see the image of the motivation image, the image that you so love to do, the image, the experience, there it is, the full experience of enjoying what you love to do, and around the borders is the image of you exercising. So as you look at the image of the thing that you love to do, you feel that great motivation. It feels fantastic!
And now, you allow that opening to close again, only as fast as you maintain that feeling of loving that activity. Keep the feeling, close the hole. Close the hole till it's a little tiny pinhole and then -- whhsshht -- open it up again really quickly, see the borders around the outside, feel the great motivation feelings, and then close it up again -- sshhllpt. You can close it up pretty quickly and then -- wwhhsshht -- open it up really fast. Because if you were to do it really fast, in fact, it would be just like doing it really slowly and maintaining that great motivation feeling, because if it's that fast, that feeling would be there the whole time. So you open it up -- whhsshht --- and there it is, feeling great, just see the borders of the image of you exercising and being in the full-on experience of enjoying loving what you do, and then it closes up -- sshhllpt -- and then expands really quickly -- whsht -- and closes up -- shlpt -- expands -- whsht -- close, open, close, open, close, open, rtrtrtrt -- really fast, just like that -- brbrbrbrbrbrbrpt! So fast, you're not even aware of it. All you're aware of is that wonderful feeling that seems almost constant now of the wild motivation.
It's a great feeling, isn't it? That feeling of motivation. The aperture opens really fast and then closes, opens, closes, opens, closes, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over and over again -- you can imagine what it would be like if it had already happened -- ten, a hundred, a hundred and fifty, five hundred, a thousand times. Just [snap] that fast, just so quickly that you're not even aware of it, just going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and then all you have is that wonderful, enjoyable, fabulous, exciting motivation. "Ooh, I love to do that so much!"
And of course you'll know that it's complete now when you think about exercising and you feel really stoked about it. So allow this to continue, imagining it having already continued until you do feel that way now. And of course when you're done with that, you can certainly imagine what it'll be like continuing to feel that way on long into the future; just as you have always felt about that activity that you love to do, so you feel about exercise, today, tonight, tomorrow, this week, next week, this month, next year, and all of the years and decades that follow.
It rocks. And there you have it.
Can you write me please, on the blog, and tell me what you're now loving to do, tell me about your exercise motivation journey?
Thank you so much, all of you fit-people-about-to-happen!
And yes, we're out of time for today. And I actually think that concludes our series on Easy Exercise Motivation.
Thank you for being present.
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This is your host Renee Stephens, and I am on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet, enabling you to share your soul's gifts. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.
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