Episode 23: Beliefs about Hopelessness
Is it really possible to fully recover from your weight struggle? Is it possible to be a former compulsive overeater? Today Renee explores beliefs about hopelessness, beliefs that it is not possible to change. She shares her evolution from recovering food addict to Naturally Slender, as she describes how you can make the same transition. Plus, hear the long awaited short cut to belief change.
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Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I am your host, Renee Stephens, and together we are 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.
Today on the show, the second type of pervasive limiting belief, beliefs about hopelessness plus the long awaited shortcut to belief change. A word of warning, however, you will love this shortcut, but you will also want to do the third step of belief change that we will be presenting in Episode 24.
You know, I met a therapist the other day who specializes in eating disorders in men. Having been ‘bilimorexic’ by his own definition himself he accepted that he would always have to live with his eating and body image issues and felt that he was functioning quite well doing so. And, in fact, I really admire him because he has dedicated his life to outreach and building community to help others, and yet I can’t say that there wasn’t a little bit of sadness to hear his resignation or his acceptance of where he was in life.
I heard one person say that in Alcoholics Anonymous, I never experienced this in Overeaters Anonymous, but in Alcoholics Anonymous they talk about our disease doing pushups in the back room while we are out having a good time, so we must always be aware. We must always be aware of that thought that, oh, I’ll just have this one and it won’t matter and, again, it works. And yet, is there a better way?
I look at her, and I said, Yes I have this fear and I have these limitations, you are right. But, it will take years for me to change them, years of psychotherapy to change these things. I said it is so depressing, and she looked at me straight in the eye and she said, you know what, Renée? She said, healing is not time bound.
By the way, have you ever noticed that I say, ease and joy to your weight loss journey when I open this program? What I don’t say is that this show is about losing weight. I choose my words intentionally, and Inside Out Weight Loss is, indeed, about the journey.
Here’s a quote that I shared with my mailing list recently. It’s from the Abraham Hicks folks who are all about the law of attraction. It goes like this: “The reason you want every single thing that you want is because you think that you will feel really good when you get there. But, if you don’t feel really good on your way to there you can’t get there. You have to be satisfied with what is while you are reaching for more”.
I love that quote because it really speaks to the real secret, the secret of the secret is that in order to manifest all those things that we want in our lives we have to enjoy the journey. And once we start enjoying the journey and really get into it we realize that getting what we want is actually small by comparison.
There was a bit of conversation recently on the Yahoo group about what a good goal is. One person shared that she shifted her goal to healthy living from weight loss. By making healthy living her goal everything shifted for her, including her timeframe. What a great goal. It is a process goal, the process of healthy living. And it is a goal that you can be successful at every single day starting today. And as a byproduct you get a healthier, slimmer and fitter body. How cool is that?
So, remember, if you so choose you can enjoy today even though you may not be at exactly the weight that you want to be at and you may not have the bank account that you want and you may not have the job or the love life or whatever. All of that stuff might not be exactly perfect, and yet can you still enjoy the feeling of sun shining on your face?
Can you still enjoy taking a deep breath of spring air? Of course, you can. Can you still enjoy how great it feels to take care of your body? Can you still enjoy how great it feels to eat foods that make you feel great over time? Of course, you can. So, why not. It’s time to enjoy the journey now.
By the way, if you are interested in joining my email list, you can register at my website which is www.mindforbody.com.
Now, it is time, if you haven’t done so already, to set your intention for this episode. Drop inside for a moment and become present with you, whether you are at the gym or on a walk or run, in the car, in the pool. I know they have those waterproof MP3 players now, so you could be listening or simply relaxing and soaking this all in.
Is your intention to find what is here for you, to move past old blocks that have been holding you back, to experience deep gratitude and appreciation for the blessings in your life? Whatever it is, go ahead and set your intent now. My intent is to help as many as I possibly can end the weight struggle and replace it with peace, joy and fun starting with you.
It is time to open up energetically and connect with all other listeners of this show across space and time, feel their presence, send them your support and feel theirs as it comes back to you 40,000 more times over. Talk about return on investment, even better than those real estate seminars. There is a power of collective intent. Open up to it now.
We have been talking these last few episodes about limiting beliefs. We have discussed what they are; taking something is true in spite of inconclusive evidence. This is why beliefs can seem so hard to change.
We also discussed a pervasive limiting belief in our culture, that it is hard work to lose weight. We also learned five great questions to help you identify your own limiting beliefs wherever they lurk because when you know what you want and you are doing all the right things, if you are not getting it then, there is a darn good chance there is a belief under there that’s getting in the way.
We also talked about harnessing the placebo effect or the belief that you are being healed. In fact, I was telling this concept to my brother-in-law the other day, and he said, oh you’re a placebo technician. I said, huh. I’ve never thought of that label, but I like it because it is the belief that we are being healed rather than the treatment that is often at work. Remember the disappearing bumps, aka the disappearing hives?
Last week we discussed one of two kinds of living beliefs, beliefs about helplessness, beliefs that we are powerless to change such as thoughts about our genetic history. Some people say, I can’t lose weight because it is in my genes, and we talked about how research is now proving that while we may have certain genetic markers it is really our circumstances in life. It is our environment and what we do with our lives that determine whether or not those genetic markers are activated. So, we do have the power to create the experience that we want in life.
We also discussed the next step to changing limiting beliefs. The first is to identify the belief. We can do this by knowing what we want and finding out what is stopping us from having it.
The second step is to actually question that belief, to bring that belief, that limiting belief into doubt. Have you done your homework? Have you been questioning your limiting belief or beliefs, like the belief that you have never permanently lost weight in the past so, therefore, you can’t do it now? How silly is that one. Obviously, the first time you permanently lose weight will be the last time, and you will have never done it before you do it now. So, it is a lot of fun to question and look at these limiting beliefs, especially when we know we are in the process of changing it.
So, let’s move now to talk about the other kind of pervasive limiting belief, the belief about hopelessness that it’s not possible to change. There are beliefs about helplessness, in other words, that I am powerless to change, and then there are beliefs about hopelessness, in other words, that it’s not possible to change.
For example, I had a consultation with a binge eater the other day who had been in many treatment programs. She was certainly a little battle weary, to say the least, having tried so many different things. Toward the end of our conversation she asked me if I thought it was possible to heal from this, or if she just needed to learn to live with her eating disorder by coping strategies and disease management. How do you think I responded?
You know, I met a therapist the other day who specializes in eating disorders in men. Having been ‘bilimorexic’ by his own definition himself he accepted that he would always have to live with his eating and body image issues and felt that he was functioning quite well doing so. In fact, I really admire him because he has dedicated his life to outreach and building community to help others, and yet I can’t say that there wasn’t a little bit of sadness to hear his resignation or his acceptance of where he was in life.
I felt the way that he does years ago. As you may know if you listened to the prologue and heard about my story, I was in Overeaters Anonymous for many years, and that is where I first began my healing process. And part of the Overeaters Anonymous approach is the acceptance that we will always be compulsive overeaters. In fact, in meetings I used to raise my hand and say, hi I’m Renée and I am a compulsive overeater. In other words, I am saying that it is part of my identity, that is part of who I am, and it was part of who I was at the time.
And that program helped me enormously, and yet there was a certain point where I began to wonder. In fact, I have to thank my husband for questioning whether the belief, the acceptance that I had come to that I would never change. He said, you know, I don’t believe that you will always be a compulsive overeater, Renee. He said, I think that you can be the way you want to be, and I looked at him extremely skeptically at the time, I remember. And yet the seed of doubt had been planted.
Does that sound familiar? The seed of doubt. I had the belief that I would never be able to fully recover, that the best that I could do was manage and come to peace with my illness, with my disease. And yet, the seed of doubt, the seed of question had been planted in that belief, and it took some time for me to fully change it to where I am today.
I actually now have a client who is an alumnus of Food Addicts Anonymous or FA. And FA is very similar to OA except it is a much more, I dare say, militant or structured program than Overeaters Anonymous is. She came to me with a great deal of fear. She is now at her goal weight. She has lost the 45 pounds that she wanted to lose, and she feels and looks terrific. She is so happy where she is now, and she is still planning her food every night as she learned to do, which by the way is a good practice especially during the transition period.
And yet, she is so afraid. How will I incorporate socializing into my life? How will I be able to function over the long haul? How will I be able to keep this up? And I found in talking with her that there seemed to be a lot of fear around her ability rather than trust.
You know, the belief structure does work. It works for many, and it certainly worked for me during that time in my life, the belief structure that we will always have an illness, that we will never fully recover and must always be on guard. It works for a time.
In fact, the very function of this belief that we will always have this problem is to bring us to a place of surrender. The idea is that if our opponent is so strong that we can never defeat it we might as well surrender. We have no choice. In this case, thank God, the surrender is to a benevolent higher power. Yet, embedded in this belief of hope of a better life is a hopelessness that one will never graduate.
I heard one person say that in Alcoholics Anonymous, I never experienced this in Overeaters Anonymous, but in Alcoholics Anonymous they talk about our disease doing pushups in the back room while we are out having a good time so we must always be aware. We must always be aware of that thought that, oh, I’ll just have this one and it won’t matter and, again, it works. And yet, is there a better way?
You know, by now, if you have been listening to this show that I know that change is possible, and I know that it is possible for you. It has happened for me. It has been possible for me. I am no longer a compulsive overeater. I am a naturally slender person. I have maintained my weight loss for over 20 years now, and I enjoy eating regular moderate meals. Sometimes, I even eat a big meal, and sometimes I eat a small meal.
I know that it is possible, and so to this client who came into to me for a consultation I said to her, of course. Of course, it is possible to fully recover, and she was speechless for a few moments. She looked at me in disbelief, and she said, no one has ever said that to me before. In all of the treatment that I have been in, no one has ever said that to me before. So, either I am a lunatic or a visionary, but that’s certainly the belief that I hold. It is possible, and it is possible for you.
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Renee Stephens: We are back now. Before the break we were talking about beliefs of hopelessness, the belief that it is not even possible to make lasting change, that it is not even possible to graduate from being a compulsive overeater or a binge eater or an eater of too much all the time or a non-exerciser, whatever it is. We were talking about those beliefs of hopelessness.
So, what is the alternative to the belief that we will never be able to make complete and lasting change? Well, one belief is, a belief that I certainly hold, that we will always, I will always be on a journey of continuous improvement because for me that is what life is about, continuous evolution, Kazan, remember; that it is not so much about if I am the compulsive overeater or not.
I may have compulsive behaviors from time to time, but does that mean that I am a compulsive overeater? No, it means that I have compulsive behaviors, and I am in the process of improving to behaviors that suit me and my life better, behaviors that serve me better. I am in the process of learning how to self-correct over shorter and shorter intervals. That’s what I believe.
There is a third step to complete belief change. In other words, we have talked about the first two steps, and there is also a third step. But, I am fully aware that I promised you a shortcut to belief change in this episode. So, you will have to wait to learn step three. It is actually fun, and you will find you will want to do it even if you want to use this shortcut. So, tune in next time when all will be revealed, at least, all about step three.
So, what is that shortcut to belief change? Could a shortcut really be possible? You know, years ago when I was in the throes of chronic fatigue I was very depressed because I was on a leave from work. There was a layoff and through the layoff I was promoted. I got what I thought was my dream job. It was a little different from my dream today, but it seemed like a great job, managing people, worldwide responsibility, very exciting stuff, and I had chronic fatigue so I had to take disability from work. And I was not the kind of person I thought would ever take disability. Not me, I was the high achiever type.
So, I was on disability, and a girlfriend of mine, coincidentally at the same time also came down with chronic fatigue. We worked at the same company, and she lived in my neighborhood. And so, just for fun, we got together one evening, and we went to a local tearoom, one of the cool businesses we have in my neighborhood where the owner of the tearoom was actually a woman who gave psychic readings.
She was a psychic who would go in and read your crystals or your tarot cards, and we thought, oh what the heck; this will be fun. So, we went in there and she gave me a reading that was shocking to me because it was so accurate. She mentioned to me my deepest fear that I didn’t even know was lurking in there, and my deepest fear she said, you are afraid. You may have plenty of money but deep down inside you are afraid of becoming a bag lady or a homeless woman on the street.
At that, I just burst into tears, into deep sobs. I was so sad, and I looked at her and I said, yes I have this fear, and I have these limitations, you are right but it will take years for me to change them, years of psychotherapy to change these things. I said, it is so depressing and she looked at me straight in the eye and said, you know what, Renee? She said, healing is not time bound. Healing can occur in an instant, and in that moment a shift occurred in me.
I walked out of the tearoom, down the street to my home and I felt good. I felt as if a cork had been unplugged, and all of a sudden energy was beginning to flow in my body, an energy that I hadn’t felt in a long time. And that day represented the first huge step forward in my energy that I had. I wasn’t completely healed that day from chronic fatigue, yet my energy took a big boost, and I was able to go back from work.
And with that new belief that was installed in that instant of her looking at me in the eye and saying, healing can occur in an instant; healing did occur. And the energy began to flow within me. So, there are shortcuts. Belief change can take time, and it can occur in an instant. So, what is that shortcut to belief change? Part of this will sound familiar if you have listened to the earlier episodes.
What I would like you to do is think now about your limiting belief, think about that one that you have already questioned, the one that you have been working on. Just choose one for now, even if you have been working on more than one.
Think of one that you have been working on, and now what I want you to do is imagine a version of you, a wonderful you, an evolving you, someone who is just ahead of you in the future and has somehow changed this belief to a new and empowering belief, a belief that allows her or him to have what she wants, an empowering belief that enables her or him to live the life that she or he is passionate about. So imagine that you, right in front of you.
Now, you may not know how this person has changed that belief, but you can see in this version of you that it has been done, that the healing has occurred in an instant. And she has moved on or he has moved on.
So, that is it. It is as simple as that. I told you it was short. The shortcut is simply to imagine a version of you who has already changed this belief and hang out with that person. Feel that person’s energy. See the light as it radiates from the inside out. Notice how that person moves in the world and how that person is with friends and family and at social occasions and in restaurants and around the office goodies and all those things. Notice how that person is.
Imagining the you who has already resolved this issue will shortcut a lot of the objections that our conscious mind can come up with and allow us to understand that it is possible to be that person. Now, this person isn’t perfect, of course, because she has got a sense of humor. She is human, right? But somehow this person has resolved that limiting belief and fully embraced the new, empowering belief.
So, that’s your homework. Drop inside, take a moment and imagine. Spend some time hanging out with this wonderful you, and notice this person. Think about how this person, as you go through your day, think how this person would react in situations that have been troublesome for you up until now.
Think about how this person is in the toughest situations that you come up with. I wonder what you will discover. And when you are ready, when this person is just the way you want, then step inside and become your own evolving self. I can’t wait to hear how it goes.
That brings us to the end of our show today. Next on Inside Out Weight Loss, yes we will be discussing step three to belief change, and also we will be talking about graduation. What is graduation? If, in fact, it is possible for us to leave our eating issues behind, leave our weight struggle completely behind. What is that? What does that mean? What is graduation from this? We will talk about that on the next episode of Inside Out Weight Loss. Thank you for being present.
Research clearly shows that those with a good support structure are the most successful at weight loss. Do you have a support structure? Invite your friends and family to become Inside Out Weight Loss listeners. Support and be supported. Form a podcast group. Meet weekly and discuss your progress and your questions, or join the Inside Out Weight Loss Yahoo group. I have also noticed that a FaceBook group has just been started for Inside Out Weight Loss by another enthusiastic listener. These are great places to share your dreams, to support and be supported, to connect with others.
Remember you will get double or more out what you put into this journey, but you must put in to get out.
There is a link to the Yahoo group on the blog at www.personallifemedia.com/renee. Click on the link on the right hand side bar under blog roll. You will also find a link to other resources that I recommend. Have a question or comment for me, call 206.350.5333 and leave a message. I may play your question or comment on the air.
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This is your host, Renee Stephens, and I am on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet replacing it with light and love. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.
One final note. If you would like to help me end the weight struggle and free as many people as possible to live their best lives and you have a corporate gathering, an event or conference that you would be interested in having me speak at, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to connecting.
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