The Double Dare
an Inner Shift
When was the last time someone double dared you to do something?
Did you have bruises on your knees from all the trees you were climbing? And T bar shoes? And Green Flash trainers?
Some of the Inner Shifts I offer are challenging but liberating. You have to go through a bit of emotional discomfort to get the nugget of wisdom.
And then others are just plain fun. Best of both worlds.
This is the second kind.
To make the most of this one, you need to understand your thinking right now.
My guess is you have some degree of guilt and shame about your sugar addiction. And you are using the process of giving it up to do an impossible job: to give you the royal pardon and tell you you are not broken.
This is an impossible job because the addiction is not the cause of your guilt and shame. Addiction is a coping mechanism (a really ineffective one).
The root cause of such feelings are not the subject of such a general article as this, so we need to put them aside for your own journalling/coaching sessions.
For the moment we want to accomplish two things:
Stop guilt and shame hijacking you taking the repeated actions of using Cravings Busters and replacements instead of whatever you have elminated for these two weeks.
I am pushing point (1) until it is well and truly embedded into your brain, aren't I?
These two weeks are about you proving that you can override your addiction. For 2 weeks.
At the end of that time you will have the confidence to tackle another two weeks.
So exactly how can we stop negative feelings hijacking this important change?
First you need to understand the process by which those feelings can hijack your best laid plans.
Why are the diet and wellness industries worth billions?
Because they are often leveraging people's desire to get the diet/detox etc to do an impossible job: to prove to themselves that they are not broken. Solutions are sold on the back of people's fantasies that they can escape themselves via the weight loss, the temporary deprivation (do you like my new hairshirt?) etc.
The YOU ARE BROKEN message is embedded in our culture via the media and beauty industries. The main way this poison is dispersed is via something I call Airbrushed Perfectionism - the idea that if you are not a supermodel, you are ugly. (Link to article here********) How many people do you know who are talented, kind and accomplished but cannot take a compliment about their physical appearance? You may say "Wow, you look good!" to your friends...but can you look in the mirror and say it? Can you ever in living memory ever remember hearing anyone say "I look great today, don't I?" Once we have outgrown our Batman and princess dressing up costumes, self-compliments only ever seem to come out of the mouths of people basking in the afterglow of their (almost exclusively temporary) weight loss. Even then they never talk about how GOOD they look, it is always how MANY pounds they they have lost. They cannot even own their success, preferring to see it as a offering to the God of The Scales.
Before this gets depressing, let's get to the point.
The point is that I want you to stop slavishly believing the Airbrushed Perfectionist brainwashing currently infecting everyone via billboards, beauty magazines, Hollywood, the diet industry.
I am not asking you to love your body, beacuse that is a longer process. I myself have done massive work on myself in this area, and I am not there yet. I can say "I look great today, don't I?" I can pivot from "I feel fat today" to "How can I feel stronger and fitter right now? Because I have just been sitting at the computer for three hours". I have developed neutrality for certain parts of my body where previously there was hatred.
But I cannot do this all the time. Even when you are aware of Airbrushed Perfectionism, it still can affect you.
So all I ask in these two weeks is that you are aware of any self-put downs, and not let them take you off course.
I am going to give you a mental Inner Shift to help you achieve this.
It is the idea of this challenge as a game.
Eliminating whichever sugary food or foods you have chosen is not tied up with if you are a good person or how it can claw back your self-esteem for you.
No, right now you are going to play.
Get that Batman/Princess outfit on in your mind. Let's play dressing up.
What was play like then?
*It was done for the sake of it
*You were proving nothing
*You could be anything you wanted to be (how many times did 9-year-old me leap off the arm of my sofa, declaring "If I just try once again, I'm SURE I can fly THIS TIME")
*It had no goal. You didn't have to be the best. You just were.
*You were experimenting with a new way of being in a low-pressure way.
*You had no notion of an end point
*It leveraged your natural curiosity
If you have time, at the end of this article, watch the John Cleese video on creativity which I will link to. It is half an hour, but is a useful add on if this particular Inner Shift speaks to you. Creativity is a powerful way to problem solve, and Cleese makes the point that creativity is a state very similar to non-competitive play. It is also the flow state (It's also pretty funny).
All of these qualities of make believe, non-competitive play are powerful ways to combat this misplaced longing for external proof that we are OK which hijacks most people's healthy eating/exercise goals.
One way to achieve this is The Double Dare.
The Double Dare
When I first gave up sugar, my initial goal was one month.
Of course, 3 days into the process, that month looked like a lifetime to my sugar-addled brain.
I somehow had an inkling of the power of non-competitive play.
So I said to myself "Don't worry about the month. Just get to the end of the day."
And when I got to that point, I said to myself: "I double dare you to do another day".
It was play. It was very low on commitment.
And it worked.
You can double dare yourself on an even smaller scale. When you feel your resistance surge, say to yourself "I double dare you to go the next half hour".
The next five minutes.
Something magical seems to happen when you do this. It is like you are saying to your addictive self: It's OK, we'll get you the junk - but not just yet.
Because this addictive self has only ever seen you try to fight it or surrender, it does not know what to do. It believes you.
Don't believe me?