Goals, Opportunities & Limits
of this experience
I think it is useful to think about the goals, opportunities and limits that this retreat holds/offers you. Of course, the more you get in, the more you get out, but assuming you commit to participate as best as you can...what then?
I have two very achievable foundational goals for this week for you.
You feel better about yourself as regards your eating. We will work to achieve this by (a) neutralising the toxic guilt you feel and (b) through goal #2
You show yourself you can make changes, even in a state of restricted freedom.
Please forget perfectionism, and think progress. Moving the needle.
What Are The Opportunities For You In This Week?
#1 Shift From The External to Internal Locus Of Control
Someone with an external locus of control (ELC) says “I just need to eat loads during lockdown. I’ll deal with this when life gets back to normal.” To them, change is something that comes from the outside.
Someone with an internal locus of control (ILC) says “OK, so lockdown is creating these extra pressures on my eating and exercise. I accept that, but I know that if I do what I can now, I will be in this much more powerful position when life gets back to normal.” To them, they use external tools and ideas to help them. Change comes from the inside.
This article explains the difference in more detail.
Of course, in lockdown there is no nice neat divide between those with an ILC and those with an ELC. I spent the first week - and most of the second trying to tell everyone else to have an ILC , when mine kept veering towards the external.
However, we can think in terms of what our tendencies are.
Optional Journalling Exercise: Pick 2 people you know - one with more of an ILC and the other with an ELC. Describe why you have chosen thus. Now describe times where your locus of control is external and when it is internal. Does one dominate?
Film : Watch a film with a protagonist who has a ILC (eg Matt Damon's character in The Martian.
When lockdown ends, I predict there will be a massive profit boom (at least temporarily) for slimming clubs, peddlers of nasty crap like Whole 30 and any other business where people (with an external locus of control ? To discuss!) can hand over their cash in return for the dream of buying change. What they will actually be purchasing will be a slice of the parent-child dynamic where a diet tells them what to eat, they deprive themselves but feel so activated...until their Inner Food Rebel stages its usual military coup and it’s back to the junk fests.
This week we will help you shift from an external to an internal locus of control.
Just by committing to do this week, you have already made a significant shift. Look at everyone else around you, joking about their ‘Corona Stone’ and so on. You are different!
#2 Make Cavebrain Happy
What an incredible opportunity to make your Cavebrain happy! This small group is a powerful place to calm CB down and so create feelings of security and being accepted that it so desperately needs.
See this page
***It will be helpful to read the page on Cavebrain because I will refer to this concept this week***
#3 Recognise The Benefits Of Lockdown For Your Eating
...and think about how to take them with you when this time ends.
Think about if any of this strange time is actually easing any aspect of your eating problems. For myself, I love how much more present I can be, and appreciate the lack of constant stimulation that I only now see I was addicted to. This was an escape from myself. Therefore I have learned to be with myself better.
Optional Journalling Exercises
What about you? What benefits does this time create for you?
How can you keep the benefits of lockdown once it ends?
#1 A Week Is Only A Week
...meaning it is a springboard. You have trained yourself over years to behave around food as you do, to tell yourself the stories that you are repeating over and over in your head. Change takes time.
#2 Aha Moments Are Not Enough
There are Aha moments that many of my clients have. But these need to be translated into behaviour change. There is a pretty toxic myth in the world of personal development that a realisation is all you need. This spiel is always used to sell products peddled by low grade motivational speakers at the back of dingy hotel conference rooms (“Once you realise fact X, you can change your life. Find out how for only £9,997”)
Whatever realisation you may have, there is a chance that part of you may fight the change that it entails. For example, I realised literally years ago that my compulsive eating was a safety mechanism. I am still working on getting Cavebrain on board with the ‘It’s OK, we can protect ourself’ bit.
#3 This Is Not About Weight Loss
We are focusing on behaviour. Focusing on weight will only detract from the important work which may indirectly affect your body shape. If you have any scales, lock them away for now.