One of the comments I hear used by clients most often is, “I’m so disappointed in myself!”
Over the years of working with clients, disappointment is one of the most frequently experienced emotions and states that we experience on our weight loss journey.
Disappointment is the feeling you experience in the pit of your stomach when things don’t turn out as you expect them to.
As frustrating as this constant feeling might be in your life, it is your body’s way of getting your attention. This pain of disappointment is what gets you to eventually take the action needed to do something to relieve the pain. You see, our brains are alway looking for ways to feel good. Unfortunately, instead of taking concrete action to dissipate the disappointment, we sometimes substitute others things that makes us feels good (or tastes good) instead.
“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men ~ Col 2:21
What’s more unfortunate is that our need to always feel good is what leads us in a vicious cycle of constantly gaining and losing weight.
Here’s how it works:
When we experience a disappointment like stepping on the scale , having someone criticize you or scraping your knee, your body releases cortisol which is a stress hormone that alerts you to ‘do something now’ to get rid of the pain.
To eliminate the pain, your brain goes into its past memory files and recounts experiences that made you feel better in the past. So if your mom or dad gave you a popsicle when you scraped your knee when you were 5 years old then your brain will make a positive connection that says: pain = bad, treat = good, so pain = treat.
Your brain likes old memories, even when they lead you down the wrong path. That’s because these well-worn, familiar pathways give you feelings of control and safety. Every time you experience this happy feeling from your childhood memory, your body releases endorphins which are hormones that make you feel happy. This endorphin release comes from two places 1: the happy memory of your childhood and 2. the sugar in the popsicle.
This ‘pain = treat’ connection remains with us into adulthood. However, with overuse, we become accustomed to the endorphin release from the same stimulus, but rather than finding new sources of being happy, we just use more of the same. We eat/shop/drink/gamble more. Many of us continually try to get constant happiness from food, but not only are the returns depreciating, the overuse leads to overweight, which leads to disappointment, which leads to seeking the cure for disappointment which the brain says is still more food. Too much of a good thing always becomes a bad thing.
Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.~ Proverbs 25:16
So why don’t we just find new ways of being happy? It’s not that easy. While forming these kinds of associations was simple as children, in our adult brains, we may have zero reference for exercise being pleasurable but tons of past experiences saying ice cream is pleasurable. Not only does our subconscious mind resist the attempt to find a different, unknown, unconfirmed path to happiness, it’ll use the trick that it knows will get you back on what it considers the ‘right’ path – disappointment. So we can often undermine our own best intentions, so we can stay disappointed, and continue to get our end ‘hit’ of pleasure inducing ice cream (or whatever we learned to use to feel better).
So just how do you over-come this cycle?
- Understand what’s at the root of your feeling of disappointment. Remember, our body is giving us cortisol not to eat more, but for us to take action on that which is causing us discomfort. So identifying what the REAL source of disappointment / discomfort / stress is gives us a clue as to what action needs to be taken. Sometimes, there is no action that can be done at present, but knowing the real source can help us to choose more productive and healthy ways to get out of feeling disappointed. Often, the disappointment is caused by our imagined fears and not an actual circumstance. For example, if you accepted the belief that you’re unlovable as a child, even in adulthood you may act accordingly, either being defensive or reclusive around others, which isolates us, which leads to feelings of disappointment (as we ‘prove’ our fear is valid). Even if there is no actual circumstance, just the expectation that one will happen can keep us feeling disappointment. Once you become familiar with the faulty thought patterns and limiting beliefs that your mind is defaulting to, then you can begin to work on the real problem.
- Renew your Mind with the Word of God. As you learn the root causes of your feelings, the next step is to begin to reprogram and renew your mind through the word of God. God calls us to see the world from his perspective and not through our own limiting beliefs and thoughts. So when those false beliefs bring us into disappointment we can declare God’s truth over them and break their hold over us.
- As you get present to the root of the problem and renew your mind, the final and crucial step is to practice new healthy habits otherwise our subconscious will continue to remain in the familiar feelings and situations.
This is the basis of our Breakthrough Program coming, Fall 2015. Over the next few months I will be sharing various aspects of this program with you.