Oh my stars. I have a question for you. It’s kinda big. You might wanna come back to this post when you have some time to actually think. (I have lots of children roaming in and out. I know what distraction mode feels like!)
Okay. The question:
Have you ever tried stopping an unwanted behavior in your life?
Think for a moment. Have you ever done something over and over and then decided, you know, I am going to stop doing that now.
How did it go?
Were you able to easily stop doing that behavior?
The bigger question: were you able to FOREVER stop that unwanted behavior?
If you are like most, the answer would be no. Today I’m going to explain why.
To help you get me, I’ll share my two unwanted behaviors: consuming too much alcohol and too many high carbs/sweets.
I tried changing my behaviors around alcohol and carbs/sweets for, oh, like decades.
It got to the point that I just felt like I was weak and untrustworthy because I’d make all of these plans and commitments to AVOID those toxins and then, hours or days later, I’d easily and happily consume them.
EASILY and HAPPILY.
It was hard to figure out how I could consciously make a Good Plan then not follow it whatsoever.
Are you with me at all? Have you done that in your life?
Okay, what’s that about?
Well, first of all, let me give credit where credit is due. Annie Grace wrote a book called “This Naked Mind,” which unlocked much inside of me. Her book cascaded into Lori reading a lot of material on this topic.
But it was Annie Grace that gave me the first bit of snow to make my first snowball...she helped me roll it down my own mountain of unwanted behaviors. So she’s forever my favorite.
Okay, let’s dive, shall we?
You do something that you had decided you would not do. You did all of the vows and all of the “cross my hearts.” Yet. In the moment, you caved. More than that, you caved willingly. What’s that really about? What’s REALLY happening?
Are you really weak-willed? Is that the final answer?
Well, I have some fascinating news for you. Turns out there is a WAY MORE POWERFUL force at work. What do I mean by that? Well, think of your brain as having two parts.
The conscious and the unconscious.
The conscious mind is what you use when you are actively earning something, like you did when you were in math class, learning a new equation. Conscious learning is about Learning Something On Purpose.
The unconscious mind is part of your mind that you are not even aware of, but guess what? Through your unconscious mind, you are continually learning things, too.
How? Well, simply put, unconscious learning comes into your life through your observations. You have learned an incredible amount of “how life works” just through watching people, particularly your parents and siblings.
This “input” is automatic and unintentional.
Think of all of the experiences, conditioning and practice that you’ve had around EATING.
Food might have been used as a reward. Or as a celebration. Just go down that road for a moment. How was food used in your younger years?
Was there a shortage? Or an abundance?
How was food “used” by the people around you?
How many commercials have you seen showcasing food? How many television shows, movies, etc. had food and fun as the centerpiece?
All of that “input” went into your unconscious understanding.
Annie Grace taught me this life-altering (and mind-blowing) fact: the unconscious mind controls behavior.
I thought that it was all about me and my decisions. Afterall, when I wanted to change a behavior, I always started with a conscious decision.
For example, I’d CONSCIOUSLY and PURPOSEFULLY make a well-thought out plan on How to Not Eat So Dang Much.
Why could I not adhere to any “eating plan?” Well, because of the MASSIVE AMOUNT OF UNCONSCIOUS INPUT I had received through my life, eating was no longer a fully conscious thought.
So when I made the CONSCIOUS decision to eat less, it was impossible to adhere to that decision because my larger, more powerful unconscious mind “missed the memo.”
My unconscious mind was in control.
Now, here’s the crazy part. If you read anything about alcohol, there is withdrawal and such if you quit. Using Annie’s technique, I was able to walk away from alcohol and I didn’t feel cravings towards it or withdrawals.
How did that happen? Through her book, “This Naked Mind,” she educated my larger, more powerful unconscious mind.
And alcohol lost its pull in my life.
Now, here’s what I naturally did after that experience: I tried to recreate it in regards to sweet, sugary foods.
I tried to “educate” my unconscious mind about the dangers of sugar. I read all of the things.
Long story short, it didn’t work.
Why this bummed me out: as a strong Christian woman, I felt like I should be more in control of my life. I hated that I spent so much mental energy fighting urges and then feeling shame when I ate too much.
I hated that I continually made plans and then forgot about those plans when I was around cheese dip.
It was maddening. And very defeating to my spirit.
Praise GOD, that was not the end of the story.
Have you ever seen the movie, “The Prince of Persia?” It’s one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. I’ve seen it probably six or seven times.
Dastan is an orphan who lives by his wits on the streets of Persia. One day, the King rides through the town, sees how courageous Dastan is and just like that, adopts him as his own.
Dastan’s entire world changes. Interestly, his two brothers truly adopted him, too. They develop an incredibly tight bond. (There is no nasty jealousy or trickery.)
Dastan’s identity changed. Fully. He went from foraging in the streets to living as a Prince.
People. That movie is my life.
In the spring of 2018 I realized some of the deepest truths about our Catholic faith. I guess you could say my belief system about God the Father changed and I realized who I truly am IN CHRIST.
Now, that sounds nice and pretty, but in all actuality, when the new info came in, I scoffed. I would not, could not believe it.
Yet, for reasons beyond me, I decided to engage. I dug. I researched. I asked good priests many questions. I read.
It was pretty brutal as my personal snow globe of beliefs was being shaken. (I had thought I had my Catholicism all figured out.)
I realized the biggest, most gorgeous truths. And I chose to believe them. It was a PROCESS but I chose to believe in my PRINCESSness. (I’m sure that’s a word.)
It was glorious. Still is, actually.
An unexpected result: for the FIRST TIME in my adult life, I had peace around food. Food became totally neutral to me. It didn’t call my name. I didn’t feel compelled to eat like a crazy fool.
I felt triumphant.
I spoke with my son Eric about it, since he had experienced the same spiritual conversion. A cool result: he had a similar result regarding his own unwanted behaviors. We kept comparing notes.
We realized that IDENTITY is a deeply-held, unconscious thought. When we consciously shone a light on our identity, when we questioned, dug deeper, and came to fabulous new conclusions, shifts happened in the deep recesses of our unconscious mind.
Remember, the unconscious mind controls our behaviors.
I don’t know how else to describe it other than… CRAZY unexpected.
If you know anything about me, I overprocess and overthink just about everything. It’s a blessing and a curse, believe me.
I wasn’t sure what to do with all of this information that was bubbling up inside of me, but through a series of events, I knew I had to create a course about this process of finding peace with food thoughts.
The course is called Inside Out. We released that course several months ago. It sells for $97 and it’s easily one of my most favorite things I’ve ever created.
However, as this “Rona Thing” has hit our nation, I wanted to make The Inside Out Course even more accessible for women struggling with food thoughts.
So I spent a little time and pulled out the key themes from the full Inside Out course. I put them into an easily consumable retreat format.
I’m offering it for $17.
For less than the cost of a couple of Chipotle Burritos (without guac!) you can start delving into the you of you.
It will take less than two hours total and it goes deep but not too deep.
What you’ll gain from this retreat: a deeper understanding of YOU and why you do what you do.
And as we know, that changes everything. So if you are wanting a bit more peace with food thoughts, join me in this very special retreat for Catholic women: INSIDE OUT RETREAT.
(Yes, I use the word Catholic because I write with a Catholic pen. I don’t want that to come as a surprise...however, if you are a CHRISTIAN man or woman, you will find a home here. The biggest transformations I learned were from CHRISTIAN authors and fact checked by my favorite CATHOLIC priests)
Here's that link again: Inside Out Retreat.
P.S. You will also love Annie Grace: This Naked Mind.
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