Brushing off praise…for fear of failing again?
This blog looks at why women brush off praise, why women focus on the negative comments. It might be a snide comment from a friend, a playful jab from a colleague or a reference in passing to the size of your bum. Why do women dwell on the negativity? And yet when someone gives you a compliment, you brush it off? Is it because of fear? Are you afraid that if you accept that praise you will immediately relax, let go and end up at square one again? This blog explores the boom-bust diet cycle and why women find it so hard to stay on track why they feel any drop in concentration means that all your willpower will come crashing down? AGAIN?
- Do you feel concerned when everything is going well?
- Perhaps you brush off any complimentary praise in case you fail again?
- Maybe you feel you have to work REALLY HARD to stay on your diet otherwise you will end up at Square one again?
- How does that feel with the added pressure of Christmas?
If you feel your routine is slipping because of a wedding, Easter, Christmas, a party, an anniversary or any special event, do you get nervous because all your good intentions are going to crash down again?
That is exactly how Alison felt.
She carefully and tearfully explained to me that any lapse, any drop in concentration meant that all her willpower would come crashing down. The massive effort to stay on track was really tested at celebration times like Easter, Christmas or summer holidays
She would either let go completely or stay in the background and try to stay ‘good’. What a burden, what a pressure to live under. Don’t you think?
Lapse, relapse, collapse cycle
Alison was in a cycle of – lapse, relapse and collapse. When she went off track with her diet she knew that eventually, everything would collapse. This cycle hurt emotionally. Emotionally it is draining, exhausting staying on track, putting yourself on that constant pressure. But the bigger danger, the larger concern is the effect on your body and on your hormones. Play around with them too long and your long-term ability to lose weight becomes even more difficult.
Ailson would then get angry with herself and beat herself up for failing. Again! She felt like she had let herself down and her whole family.
What a burden to shoulder.
She also uncovered that time spent on herself felt too selfish. There were so many other things to do in life. Dropping the kids off at various sporting activities, her support of the local charity, school run, her business. Trying to squeeze in the odd haircut, nearly drove her to the breaking point.
Prioritising time for herself was hard enough but with the added pressure of sticking to ‘diet rules’ life became overwhelming. Any spare headspace that she did have was spent on her business, kids or hubby. She had enough on her plate to worry about. She simply didn’t have time to spend on herself.
Do you swallow up the pain?
As Alison and I talked deeper and analysed more where this lack of time for herself came from. We came close to where this message of self-denial came from.
She discussed her childhood and reflected that her upbringing had been quite stern, her mum had been critical. Her mum had paid for her to attend Weight Watchers at the tender age of 16. Whilst Alison’s confused thoughts were ‘whirring in her head’ she didn’t really fully understand. She knew these uncomfortable thoughts were taking up headspace, but she was too young to process them.
She felt anguish and concern but she didn’t know how to release them, or if they were even valid thoughts to have.
Out of respect for her family, she didn’t complain. Alison didn’t argue. She simply:
‘Swallowed up the pain’
A red flag appeared, we both noticed the words that she had used.
Swallowing the pain – quite literally meant finding solace in food. This isn’t a blame game, it is a freedom game. As soon as those words popped out of her mouth, Alison released what she was doing and had time to notice, reflect and understand. And most importantly LET GO
Whereas clients like Alison can rebel against obvious control, and pressures on their freedom as a child. When the pressure hits a raw nerve or already enforces a quiet belief we already have about ourselves it is hard to see the message, you simply accept it as the truth.
Exploration of family life and realising that these thoughts are liberating, when you release that the thoughts are not yours:
“it is my mother’s thoughts, not my thoughts”
Awareness of your automatic responses releases you from them.
Awareness and observations of your own behaviour, free you. You can unclutter your mind, find the time to order your thoughts, feel calmer and then move on. It doesn’t have to be deep, psychological trauma, it can be as simple as observation your automatic responses.
You have them, I have them, the most powerful part of your brain is your ‘automatic’ brain. It takes care of everything you do on a regular basis.
Have you noticed that sometimes you can drive to work and you half way along your journey before you notice where you are? You are acting on automatic pilot. It would be too difficult to relearn the same thing every day so your brain stores your memory in the automatic part of your brain.
Some automatic habits, like driving, are great. Other automatic responses are subconsciously buried, your automatic reactions may go unnoticed by your head, but they can show up in your body.
The message that you swallow your pain, or are too busy to look after yourself. Or perhaps you have the automatic message that:
“Comfort comes from a Friday night take out.” or
“You can relax when you go on holiday.” or retire…..
These messages are automatic, they become your established way of doing things.
What if someone came along and drew your attention to your pre-existing habits. What if someone called you out, asked you why you did that. Gave you time to think about the real reason you reach for the entire packet of biscuits?
Move away from the New Year cycle of diet and bust, take the time to show yourself some real care and love.
Delay, distract and decide
When you reach for the biscuit, take a moment. Why am I eating this, what emotion has come up for me? Delay reaching for that biscuit just for a moment, maybe get up and do something different like go to the toilet or clean out the cutlery drawer. If you still want to eat the biscuit enjoy it.
As Alison’s coach, we discussed using a hair band on her wrist to snap, when she felt under pressure or stressed by overwhelm. Sit with the feeling of overwhelm and see what you can do in that moment to let them go. There are easy techniques, you just need to be willing to try and willing to change.
Are you willing to change?
We also worked with more long-term strategies to help cope with long-term stress. After some great techniques and new habits, Alison is well on her way to a successful weight loss and calm future.
A happy ending for Alison xx
If you want to discuss your resistance to weight loss, or your habitual cycle of boom and bust with diets, feel free to apply for health discover session with me. They are confidential, personal and enlightening.
Apply for a session with me, complete your application click here
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