So… you’ve made the decision you’re going to shed some weight. Nice move.
Perhaps you’re fed-up with perpetually feeling exhausted because of the little bit extra you’re carrying or maybe you want to look hot in your Christmas photos.
Whatever your motivation, you’ve realised it’s time to change.
Good on you, chica.
As sure as eggs are eggs, here’s what’s going to happen. Now that you’ve made the commitment to change, lots and lots of challenges are going to cross your path.
One of the biggest challenges is ….
… F E A R.
Perhaps it’s the fear of not reaching your goal (again), fear of looking a bit silly, fear of letting yourself down, fear of getting hurt (emotionally or physically), the fear of being rejected…or any of the many garden-variety fears we have. The list is pretty much endless.
Honey, you simply must learn to handle your fears. It’s the number one skill that separates the successful (and happy) from those who struggle to make any real progress on their goals.
Most of us have been programmed in exactly the WRONG way to deal with fear. We find ourselves completely debilitated.
Unfortunately, most folk never break out of this misinformed, painful pattern. As a result the number on the scales doesn’t budge.
But….not you. Because, right now, you’re going to discover how to manage your fears, once and for all.
The very good news is that it’s a learnable skill, at any age, and irrespective of what you currently weigh.
But first, let me introduce you to your lizard brain. . .
The lizard brain is the part of your brain that controls the pre-historic fight, flight or freeze instinct. Its only concern is your survival. And it abhors change and achievement and risk.
The lizard was tremendously useful when we were cave dwellers. It triggered fear in us when sabre-tooth tigers were nearby. It saved our lives.
Having relocated from the savannah, physical threats on our person are rare. Mostly we’re dealing with imagined threats.
And here’s the important bit … the lizard brain can’t tell the difference between real physical and imagined threats. Read that again, it’s a crucial point.
ANY threat, risk or ‘something a bit different on the radar’ causes your lizard brain to release adrenalin. Cold sweats, shakes and “OMG quick, panic, freak out!!!!”
And back you dash to the safety of your comfort zone where your lizard brain rubs its hands in glee, because you’re safe.
It’s very good at its job. In fact It’s so clever we’re not even consciously aware of this protection mechanism.
Whenever we say one thing but do another, we’re in the grip of the lizard brain.
The voice that says…
“Just one more biscuit, it won’t make any difference anyway.”
“Phew. I’m really tired, I don’t have the energy to go for a walk.”
“I’m so busy, I don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal.”
…that’s the voice of the lizard brain. The way to remember it is that any resistance to you moving towards your goal is the lizard brain in action.
On many levels it’s very useful. You avoided the sabre-tooths, didn’t you.
The problem arises when you allow it to direct your entire life. Think about it. Would you let your three-year-old drive your car? Thought not.
So quit abdicating the responsibility for your life to your lizard brain: it doesn’t have the physical or mental capacity.
Next time you’re having a wobbly moment, and your lizard brain is nudging you back to your comfort zone, remind yourself of these facts:
– Fear will never go away. It’s hard-wired into us. So stop putting your life on hold waiting for the Day of No Fear. It’ll be a long wait.
– The more you try and avoid or escape fear, the more you’ll feel it. Yup, it’s a paradox we all share.
– We all feel fear. Everyone wonders if they’ll have what it takes. Even uber successful people get scared. True. They just don’t let it stop ‘em.
The lizard brain isn’t going away. It’s here to stay. Here’s how to quiet it down so you can get on with your life.
Make friends with your lizard brain
Now you’re aware of the mechanics of the lizard brain you’ve taken back a big chunk of control. Now you know there are options other than automatically dashing back to your comfort zone.
Go butterfly spotting
Next time the fear engulfs you … pause. Then notice the physical sensations in your body. Don’t resist the sensations or judge them. Just notice them.
See that you can experience the feeling of butterflies or shakes or cold sweat as purely physical sensations in your body WITHOUT THE MENTAL DRAMA. Nobody ever died of butterflies, shakes or a cold sweat.
By observing the physical sensations you’re teaching your lizard brain, that you’re OK. There’s no sabre-tooths near. You can handle this being out of your comfort zone stuff.
With awareness and practice you’ll soon link a great deal of pleasure with being out of your comfort zone, rather than seeing it as something to hide from. Promise.
Take action, anyway
It sounds clichéd as all heck, but action really is the antidote to fear.
It always amazes me how many clients say, “I’ll lose weight when I feel less nervous.” That’s exactly what your lizard brain wants you to do…wait and wait and wait.
And yet, think of those times when you’ve done the very thing of which you were afraid, and afterwards said to yourself, “That was easier than I thought ……I should’ve done it aaaages ago!!!!”
How often is the idea of doing scarier than the actual doing?
Nike was right… just do it…butterflies n all.
Use these three techniques singularly, or in combination to manage your lizard brain. With practice and patience your butterflies will be flying in formation and the number on the scales will soon be the one you want.
Fearless love etc, Avril