The magic pill for weight loss, is truth.
Today’s Wisdom Bite about truth suggests everything changes when you can humble yourself to truth. It’s not about finding the ‘best’ diet or the ‘right’ exercise. These things can convince you the solution to your weight loss struggle exists outside of yourself. Even the most brilliant diet or exercise program will backfire if you bring resistance to it. Truth is your most powerful tool in addressing everything that has distorted your relationships with food and movement, and more importantly, your relationship with yourself. Your personal evolution isn’t so much about losing anything. It’s about unlearning all that keeps the weight here.
The first half of self-love is learning to be a compassionate witness to yourself…
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Here’s what you need to know
The first half of self-love is learning to be a compassionate witness to yourself. Have you ever noticed how looking at a photo of yourself is much harder to be with than say, a quick glimpse in the mirror? Photos (a.k.a. frozen calories in time) can be confronting to your self-image. Your self-image is the idea you hold about your appearance, personality, abilities, etc. It’s not unusual for someone who’s uncomfortable with their weight to find photos so confronting they remove them from their family albums altogether. Photos can also be an eye-opening wakeup call. It all depends on whether you can humble yourself to the truth you’re seeing.
To be a compassionate witness is to be with the truth of yourself – in photos, on the scale, your eating, your movement (or lack thereof), your life choices, their consequences, all of it – without taking it to judgement. Any time you encounter truth that doesn’t fit your self-image and you judge it harshly, you are no longer looking at truth. You are looking at your distorted perception of truth. For example, a photo of yourself that disgusts you might get you into action but it lacks the compassion needed to keep you in action when things get challenging later on.
Remember this: truth is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. It is simply ‘what is’. Humbling yourself to truth is like building a muscle. If you’ve spent a lifetime avoiding this kind of discomfort, you’ll need to start small but eventually you’ll find this witnessing process to have a sense of fun to it. Here are three guidelines for learning to be with truth:
- Everything’s a choice. It’s easy to point to the circumstances of your life as your reason for reaching for excess food or dismissing movement. But life doesn’t just happen to you. The truth is you are here, in this moment, in this body, as a culmination of the choices you have made whether you were conscious to those choices or not. Acknowledging you have choice makes you less passive and more proactive with your life. Self-knowledge is the concept to embrace here.
- Stay conscious to your choices. As you practice being conscious to your choices, there will be a part of you that stubbornly insists on checking out. Your resistance will be particularly high when you know the better choice but you’re not making it. It might be a moment of “I don’t care – I want this dessert anyway” or it could be when your capacity is taxed and you just want to veg in front of the tv rather than workout. Regardless, you will inevitably find yourself resorting to old patterns. Leaning in and witnessing these patterns is the truthful engagement you need to address more entrenched habits.
- Discern the quality of your choices and their outcomes. Your choices domino into predictable outcomes. There are strings of choices that pull your energy down and spiral into things like anxiety, shame and anger. Another collection of choices lifts your energy up and makes you feel greater calm, self-respect and peace. Be truthful with yourself and own where your choices predictably take you. You’ll be able to interrupt those negative patterns earlier and redirect your energy towards that which serves you better.
Here’s what you can expect in Module 2: the Truth stage
“I searched everywhere for a weight loss cure, except within myself.” – L.R., Vice President (Financial Services Industry)
Core Value: Energy; Primary Skill: Ownership
Coming into this stage you’ve softened your self-talk and you’re more patient with your efforts. Truth takes things further by peeling back the layers that have you running away, hiding or shutting down when things get uncomfortable in your life. It reveals and sheds some light on this compartmentalized version of yourself. The focus of this stage has you handling your triggers and your interactions with others better. Your longstanding coping mechanisms are evolving into more effective life skills. You’re developing efficacy with food, movement and your quality of life you didn’t think was possible.
You start to comprehend you are neither Ego nor Soul. You are the observer of these two influences in your life – the consciousness behind your choices. You are able to recognize this consciousness within has a wisdom and power to it you’ve only just begun to tap into. There’s a solid sense of self-like and moments of self-love. You shift from “I have a body and I’m learning to relate to it.” to “I inhabit my body and I’m owning where I’ve taken it.”
Here’s what you can practice
‘Sneak eating’ is a distortion of one’s relationship with food and it’s common among people struggling with their weight. It typically happens in reaction to being (or even feeling) controlled or criticized by others when you eat. Being with truth here is two-fold: 1) It starts by pulling your energy back from guilt, inviting some discomfort and being more transparent with your eating in front of others; and 2) It requires you to establish boundaries with others, regarding what is and isn’t OK in how they treat you in those moments. When you’re prepared to own it, the day you decide to have that extra cookie (or entire cake) in front of others is a liberating experience.
‘Perfectionism’ is a personality trait that can permeate so much of your life it distorts your relationship with yourself. In this case, the control or criticism comes from within as you hold your efforts up to an unrealistic standard. At its core, perfectionism is a refusal to be with truth. How many times have you started and restarted a new diet or exercise program? What would have been uncomfortable to be with had you continued? How often have you delayed a creative project or not finished it at all? What are you trying to avoid by not putting it out there? Experimentation is unpredictable. Creativity is subjective. Growth is messy. These truths help dial down perfectionism.
At this stage, success is…when someone else’s growth is essential to your own. As you unlearn your conditioning around weight loss, you might have to educate those around you if you want better quality support from them. When you stop participating in diet commiseration or body shaming with your friends, you start modelling what it means to be a compassionate witness. Modelling this for them helps all of you be with truth.
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How did it go for you?
I learned early on as a coach that while I am not responsible for my clients’ weight loss success, I am dedicated to modelling and teaching them how to be with truth and how to use this to fully own their lives. They needed to own where they had taken their life before they could harness their power to change it.
Pick something uncomfortable you have come to own more fully about yourself and share it in the Members-Only Comments section below.
Tell us what quality or qualities this truth calls forth in your growth and evolution.
Be sure to check back in too, to let us know how it’s going!
Conscious Weight Loss®
New to Conscious Weight Loss? Continue to this next Wisdom Bite
Deep Truth (Module 3: The second half of self-love…)
Interested in more? Check out these related Wisdom Bites
Ego and Soul (Members-Only)
Awareness (Module 1)
Alignment (Module 4)
This sentence resonated strongly for me: “At its core, perfectionism is a refusal to be with truth.” I’ve missed out on many opportunities to play, “wander off the path”, refind the path, and learn from all of it because of a fear of making a mistake and appearing less than 100% capable and clear on where I was going. I thought anything other than a straight line was a waste or a failure. The truth is the entire journey is valuable, straight or meandering. Often those meandering side trips bring the most joy and learning.
I really appreciate this Bite, especially the statement, You shift from “I have a body and I’m learning to relate to it.” to “I inhabit my body and I’m owning where I’ve taken it.”
I have spent a lot of time and energy rejecting (punishing, insulting, and neglecting) myself. I’ve found that being in the body feels overwhelming and overstimulating; instead of asking myself what I might need or how I could address my environment and the people around me, I’ve fled from the discomfort and distracted (and comforted) myself with food and eating. I’m still a long way from accepting ownership of and inhabiting my body, but have faith that exercises like these can help “bring me home.”
Beautifully said Kat, thank you. I know your words will ring true with others & help them not feel so alone with these kinds of feelings.