How to feel better about your body so you can change it

In my last post I talked about how hard it is to change a body you don’t like because of both the mental images you are programming into your mind and the negative chemical stresses your body is receiving from the negative emotions that accompany feeling bad about where you are. To help you stop those negative stresses (emotional and chemical) it helps to make peace with your current bodily condition. Here I will offer you some thought processes and questions you can apply to help make a shift in where you are so you can leave your current condition off your radar and give your undivided attention to where you actually want to go, not get away from. Doing so will dramatically change your chemical and mental blueprint and allow the changes you desire to happen much easier.

First, it helps to understand that where you are is just where you are—nothing more. The fact that you feel negative emotion toward your current body or health condition is because of your interpretation of where you are—this is your story. It’s not to say that you have to love where you are but consider a negative situation actually helps you to determine where you want to go—a new desire has been launched and that is a good thing. The reason you feel bad is because you have to have some concept of the other side of the problem. You can’t know that something is “bad” unless there is a preferred “good.” Just like you can’t know which way right is without knowing there is a left—or up without down. And it helps to acknowledge that you feel bad because this is an important subject for you.

The next step is to understand your story and change it. Consider there are three parts to your story—your subject (your body or health condition), the emotion you feel (anger, insecurity, frustration, etc.) and the thoughts you have causing the emotion. Yes, the thoughts cause your emotion. As I have talked about in previous posts, your thoughts are what are responsible for your emotions, not the subject itself. The person who cuts you off in traffic does not make you mad. They just cut you off. It’s your story of what happens that makes you feel anger. The same thing goes with your body. It is what it is. It’s what you make your body mean that has you feeling the way you do. It’s easier to change your meaning than it is to change your subject so you can feel better (remember, action when feeling bad doesn’t reward much productivity).

So now let’s figure out your story. Start with identifying your subject (let’s say it is a flabby stomach) and the way you feel about it (let’s say you feel disappointed). Now that you know how you feel about your subject ask yourself why you feel that way about your subject—what are you making your subject mean or say about you that it has you feeling this way? Using the examples provided, what are you making your flabby stomach mean or say about you that it has you feeling disappointed? You might say your flabby stomach means that you are unattractive. So the story here would look like this: I feel disappointed about my flabby stomach because it means I am unattractive. Now you want to ask yourself if this is a true statement. Is it 100% true? Can you prove it to be true? How would you prove it to be true? If you lined up 100 people would they all say this is a true statement?

One of two things will happen—it’s either true or not true. If, by some chance, you say that it IS true then you have a new subject and you want to continue this process again. So in this case it is not about the flabby stomach, it is about the “fact” you think you are unattractive. Check your emotion (let’s assume it is still disappointment) and ask yourself why you feel this way about your subject. What are you making the fact that you are unattractive mean or say about you that it has you feeling disappointment? Let’s say you think it means that you won’t be loved. Ask yourself if this is true. Again, ask if you can prove this to be true and how would you prove this to be true. If you can honestly say this is a 100% true statement then you continue doing this process until you can say “this statement is not true.”

Once you get to the point where you can say your statement is not true, regardless of how many times you have to ask yourself this question, you want to look take your last statement (the false one) and your original emotion and subject and rewrite your story so you can see the false story you have been projecting. Let’s say you said that it is not true that you won’t be loved. Your story would look like this: I feel disappointed about my flabby stomach because it means I won’t be loved. You know this isn’t true and you can now see how silly the story you have been believing and project is. The goal here is to call BS on your interpretation—to find some crack in your story. When you do that you can then do two things: understand that your story is just that (a story—and a false one at that), which should help you move forward since you wouldn’t believe someone else’s BS story, and then you can ask yourself why it ISN’T true.

I encourage my clients to come up with at least five reasons why this statement/story isn’t true. When you do that you are now moving yourself into a better emotional state since the reasons why this isn’t true will have more positive aspects to them. The more reasons you come up with the more information you are giving yourself to the contrary of your story and the longer you are resonating with a positive state. Once you do that, reflect back on how you feel about yourself along with why you now feel this way (acknowledging a new story). If you don’t feel a positive emotion like content or hope yet (you may feel better, but you may have some minor negative emotions left, like frustration or pessimism) then start the process over and continue this until you at least feel content about where you are. Getting to a place of hope or optimism is even better of course.

One thing that is helpful is to see that your false story has had a negative impact on your mind and body. You didn’t know you were doing this with something that wasn’t true so you really can’t beat yourself up for this but you should be able to see that it is no accident that you are where you are. By virtue of living this false story you have been conditioning your mind/brain and body to be where it is. Now that you can let your story go (because you recognize it as BS) you can start to turn your attention to where you want to go and feel OK about where you are starting from. Think of it this way: if you were to find out that by eating apples, which you thought were healthy for you, caused your body to react in a negatively chemical way that caused your body to hold on to fat you wouldn’t beat yourself up for eating those apples. You would recognize that you learned something that was holding you back unconsciously (you didn’t know better), remove the problem and then look forward. Having the understanding that your interpretation of where you are (the false interpretation) had so much to do with you being stuck should allow you to see you were doing something unconsciously to hold yourself back and now you can start fresh and look forward. Chalk it up to ignorance.

Lastly, if you can spend more time looking forward and looking for evidence of what you want than where you are then your brain will start to align you with actions and chemical changes that will support the vision of who you want to be in the future.

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