What’s Beneath the Weight?
Part 2: 6 Steps to Health and Happiness
By Joshua Wayne, MA
In part 1 of this article series, I talked about understanding the emotional issues that often underlie carrying substantial extra bodyweight. Of course this does not apply to everybody who is more than 60 pounds overweight, but my experience is that it rather common amongst those who are.
In this article, I want to offer some suggestions about what you can do to begin working with these issues in a positive constructive way so you can make them a part of your history.
1. Create a picture of the person you want to become.
This may sound like a simplistic step, but it’s actually very important- and it’s important to begin here. Always start your self-inquiry on a positive note. Do this by envisioning the person you want to become. Write it down or create a ‘vision board’ with some images that represent the life you want to be living. This is important because it’s easy to get bogged down in your problems and the things that aren’t working well in your life. Having this picture gives you a positive, forward-looking image to inspire you, and also gives you something positive to return to again and again when the going gets tough.
2. Determine what you need to let go of and what you need to address
As you travel along the journey of becoming the person you want to be- as outlined above- your issues are of course going to come up. Consider that you need to do one of two things with them: 1) let them go, or 2) address them head on.
First, very often we continue to carry old, false beliefs that hold us back from the happiness and success we desire. Often these false beliefs are about our degree of worthiness or desirability to others. More often than not we adopted them when we were young- either because unconscious people around us put them in our heads or we invented them ourselves because we were stressed and scared and didn’t know any better.
Little by little we need to let these false beliefs go because they do nothing but limit our potential for happiness. It’s like somebody put rocks in our backpack and we’re just carrying this dead weight around unnecessarily. We need to let it go and step into the life we want to be living.
Other times there is just no alternative but to address our issues directly. Maybe we have challenges in our relationships that need to be confronted directly; maybe our self-esteem is very low and we need the help and support of a therapist to help us work through it; maybe we are in unhappy in our career or job and need to get disciplined about making some changes.
How do you know the difference between what you need to let go of and what you need to address? Simply put: if you can’t just let go of it, you need to address it.
3. Don’t be shy about working with a therapist or coach
It’s interesting that in a society where having a therapist or coach has become quite commonplace, many people are still hesitant about seeking this kind of help. They may foolishly think it’s a sign of weakness, or they may be mortified by what their friends would think.
Nobody needs to know you’re working with a professional to sort through your issues. It’s strictly between you and that professional. If you feel you could benefit from the outside input and support but you’re holding back for one of the reasons I just mentioned, then with full care and compassion I offer this: get over it.
It doesn’t have to feel comfortable to make the appointment or walk in the door and share what’s really going on in your life. In fact, if it doesn’t it may be a sign that you’re on the right track. Regardless, if you need the support, get over whatever limiting beliefs you have that prevent you from taking action.
4. If you do work with a therapist, make sure you find one that wants to get you out of therapy
That said, as someone who was originally trained as a psychotherapist let me identify what is often the pink elephant in the middle of the room in the therapy profession: the point of therapy is to get out of therapy. A lot of people overlook this point- including many therapists.
Being in therapy should not become a second career where you linger for 10-15 years. I know people who have been in therapy for 30-40 years or more. They become ‘married’ to their issues and that is not a good thing.
The point of therapy is to get out of therapy. The point is to learn the skills and tools we need to take action in our lives in new ways; to develop the courage to face our challenges and break through barriers; to forgive ourselves for our imperfections and love ourselves unconditionally; and most of all to learn to walk through the world stronger and more confident.
I’m not saying all this should happen in 6 weeks or 6 months, but just be conscientious of therapists and therapy models that want to just commiserate in your problems rather than pushing you to change and holding you accountable to do so. With all due respect to the therapy profession, therapists are people too with mortgages and kids to put through college and sometimes this unconsciously lends itself to encouraging (or at least allowing) client dependency.
5. Accept yourself unconditionally
Perhaps above all else it is crucial that you come to understand this at a deep level: you are fundamentally okay as a person. Many people with extra weight and deeper issues come to believe the opposite- that they are flawed and that something is wrong with them. They believe they are “not okay”. Very often this belief is what fuels their overeating.
If you carry these deeper beliefs you truly need to change them. Whether you do so by gradually just letting them go or by working with a professional who helps you clear these cobwebs out of the cellar, the end point is the same: to realize that you are fundamentally okay as you are- imperfections and all.
This doesn’t mean you have nothing to improve or work on- we all do. What it does mean, though, is that you are intrinsically okay as you are. You need to come to believe and accept this deep in your heart.
6. Get all the good information and good support you can
Whether you’ve got lots of deeper issues to work through or you’re already a generally happy and healthy person, none of us can make it through our journey in life alone. The good news is we don’t have to.
Other people have fought the same battles we are fighting, and they can help us in our efforts. All the information we need to get healthy and well is out there. We just have to be willing to seek it out and let it into our lives. Whether we find it through professional support, a peer led support group, or a formal weight loss coaching program we need to be open to getting the knowledge and support that will help us.
One option you may want to explore is the PEERtrainer 12 week weight loss coaching program that I direct and helped create. While it’s not a substitute for personalized psychotherapy, it does address many of the issues we have discussed in this article. Many people are finding that it is a fantastic adjunct support and accountability mechanism on their overall journey to health and wellness. It also provides huge amounts of valuable information and practical strategies on diet, exercise and the mindset necessary for permanent weight loss.
Joshua Wayne, MA is a Personal Development Coach and trained psychotherapist with an emphasis on weight loss motivation and mind/body wellness.
In his private practice Joshua has helped his clients achieve their weight loss goals, shape their life direction and resolve a wide range of family problems from relationship difficulties to out of control teenagers.
Joshua has a Masters Degree in Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Consulting Hypnotist (CH) through the National Guild of Hypnotists. He has also been intensely interested in and studying personal development, fitness and spirituality for close to 20 years.
To learn more about Joshua’s work visit healthy body, happy life
where you can get a FREE copy of his report (valued at $27). Joshua also heads up the PEERtrainer 12 Week "Point Of No Return" Coaching Program