Cognitive shift precedes behavioural change
Monday, June 20, 2011
I keep seeing this common thread in the blogs of people who are succeeding at their weight loss goals. Many of them mention that process of taking care of themselves physically has led to taking better care of themselves emotionally.
I'm making changes and succeeding at a transformation that I've longed for but didn't think I could achieve, and that is profoundly empowering. It's even more empowering because being overweight is something that I've always felt deeply sensitive and vulnerable about. It hits me at my core (which is funny, because my core could use some strengthening!)
The shift in my behaviour around food, exercise and caring for my body was only possible because of the change in my attitude and beliefs about my own self-worth. That was the initial spark: a change in what I thought led to a change in what I did, which led to increased feelings of confidence and self-worth.
I used to be in a downward spiral of emotional eating and beating myself up over it. It just kept getting worse and worse.
Now I'm in an upward spiral of making positive lifestyle changes, feeling better and better, and continuing to make even more positive changes. It's even spilling out into other areas of my life, because one of my goals is to make sure to have positive contact with friends every day. I'm playing the cello more, and my house is even tidier! Things just keep getting better and better.
I just want to say to those people who are still struggling: it didn't happen overnight. I spent years journalling, feeling terrible, hiding my pain from the people who love me. In time, I sought help from a counsellor and joined a support group to learn new cognitive strategies. There were a lot of plateaus, but right now sure as heck isn't one of them!