By Susan K. Stevenson, DCH
Being slender has become a national obsession. Yet, statisticians tell us that, as a nation and especially our young people we remain more overweight than ever before in history. Researchers cite a variety of reasons for this trend, from emotional needs, to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, to lack of exercise, to environmental causes, and more. With the over-abundance of information and "remedies" available to the vast majority of Americans, why do these statistics persist? How often do the conflicting solutions create confusion in the minds and hearts of would-be slim women and men everywhere?
Unfortunately, Wall Street advertisers and Hollywood have had a great influence in suggesting how we ³should² look, and women especially feel the need to live up to those artificial images. Internal perceptions of the body image can become distorted resulting in normal, healthy body weight and proportions being viewed as overweight or disproportionate. When these inaccurate and/or inappropriate perceptions become intensified they can result in a variety of eating or behavior disorders, and definitely require the help of the proper health care professional.
So, when there are truly excess pounds and inches you wish to release, what are some fresh and effective steps you can take to create the slender, healthier body you desire, and to maintain the ³new you² permanently?
As a hypnotherapist, I work with many women and men to cooperatively create better food choices, being satisfied with less quantity of food, exercise motivation, and most importantly, acceptance at the unconscious level of a healthy, slender body. Of course, as part of an overall weight reduction program, there are several elements which must be integrated for long-lasting results. And recognizing the value of weight in your life can make all the difference in achieving your target weight and maintaining it for the long term.
RECOGNIZING YOUR OWN VALUES
Everything in your life has value. Think about it for a moment even the parts of your life that may not seem to be working properly right now have value in some way. The value of comfort, for example. Comfort - when you roll the word around in your mind, and say the word out loud, what images or feelings are you aware of? Perhaps safety, security, warmth, love, or protection come to mind. Certainly comfort is of high value to just about everyone. And if eating represents comfort, in what other ways can you satisfy that need? As you recognize a connection such as this, ask yourself, "What do I really need at this moment?" If what you need is reassurance, but cookies are the closest to your reach, how can you use that recognition to pass up a quick cookie-fix (which, in reality, is only a delay tactic that keeps you out of touch with what you really need) and gain the reassurance you need in that moment? Perhaps a telephone call to a loving friend or writing your thoughts in your journal will comfort you; you can probably think of several options at any given time that would be more satisfying emotionally than a box of cookies!
So, accepting for a moment that everything in your life right now really does have value including excess weight how can you begin to identify and then adjust the values to be more in line with your conscious desires?
VALUE OF EXCESS WEIGHT VS. SLENDER
First, recognize that a primary function of your unconscious mind is your survival. Therefore, the reality of being overweight can simply mean that the weight is valuable to you, and your unconscious mind needs a higher value in order to release the excess weight in a healthy and permanent way.
If you are in a position of authority in your work, and size equals authority, reducing your body mass could be interpreted by your unconscious mind as a threat to your job (survival). When Margaret became aware of this, she was able to let go of 40 pounds and keep them off. She actually gained more respect and authority on the job and more personal satisfaction in her life.
Perhaps excess weight was once perceived as being greatly loved as evidenced by your feelings toward a beloved grandmother or aunt. Judy craved cookies and ice cream in an unconscious connection to her very large grandmother who was one of the few people who Judy felt understood her. Their special times together were often over cookies and ice cream. Judy was able to separate the cravings from the loving memories and achieved her ideal weight.
Do the extra pounds represent a protective shield against intimate involvement, or protection from past emotional or physical abuse? Melody was able to work through her fears and anger to slim and tone her body releasing ten to twelve pounds per month for over a year.
As you become aware of the value of extra weight in your life, you can begin to release the ³weighty² values in favor of a healthier, slimmer image and slender behaviors. Hypnotherapy can be one of the most effective ways of helping you to identify and release overweight values and behaviors and then to focus on the feelings, behaviors and values of achieving your more slender body.
IDENTIFY THE VALUES
When you have some quiet time to yourself, I would invite you to allow your inner mind to evaluate the value weight has in your life. You probably know the old Ben Franklin method of making a decision by dividing a page into two columns and listing all the "pro's" on one side and the "con's" on the other. Try using this basic idea, but instead of making a decision, you are going to list on one side all the values of weight in your life. You can also include those things that contribute to your weight like sweets, over-abundant portions, lack of exercise, etc. Then on the other side of the sheet, list the values of being slender - your own true values. Recognize whether the slender image in your mind is realistic for your body or is it one that has been imposed upon you from others. Now rank the values in priority order on each side.
Be aware that in staying with this exercise you may also recognize fears, and that's OK - list those too. You may need more than one sheet of paper. This is an exercise in getting to know yourself in perhaps a whole new way. You're also very likely to discover many ideas you can accomplish entirely on your own. There may be issues you feel you need help in resolving or putting into action. If so, seek out the professional who you feel can assist you in the best way.
Pursue this discovery exercise with an adventurous attitude. Give yourself permission to let go of judgments and criticisms about what is revealed. Be willing to forgive yourself and others for decisions, actions and words from the past. This can be one of the most meaningful and freeing self-discovery excursions you¹ve experienced as you allow that magical communication of mind and body to create seeming miracles in your life!
Susan Stevenson, DCH(c) is a Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy, NLP Master Practitioner and Certified Spiritual Counselor. Currently residing in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Susan offers uplifting programs for individuals, groups and businesses, as well as workshops and audio tapes on a variety of life enhancing topics. For information on any programs, you may contact Dr. Susan by e-mail at: SusanDCH@aol.com.au
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