Breaking Bad Habits, 2nd Key

The second key I found to be essential for breaking my bad eating habits was to find outBad Habits the underlying emotional reason for overeating in first place.

I’m going to tell you straight up, people, this was not easy. I had to face some deep dark corners of my emotions; feelings that I had unknowingly happily numbed had to come to the surface and be dealt with.

I started by asking myself, every time I went to grab food, why I was eating. Was I hungry? Was my body in need of a specific nourishment? If not, then why was I eating? I realized I usually overate to numb feelings of boredom and loneliness.

Once I was able to identify these emotions and give them a name, processing them became possible. Processing those emotions required a hard look at my life and what wasn’t working about it. I had to look both at my own weaknesses and how people around me were affecting me. I had to face the fact that my marriage was falling apart; I wasn’t getting the emotional support I needed. It left me lonely. I had to face the fact that I didn’t make the best use of the time I had. I was bored.

I had to make two changes in my life. First, I had to minimize the reasons I was feeling those emotions. I separated from my husband. I found that when I am alone with someone there, it is more lonely than the solitude of being alone by choice. I started using my time more wisely. I developed a better work ethic around the house. I went back to school, which definitely used much more of my time.

Second, I had to develop better coping mechanisms for when I still felt those emotions. When I am lonely, I call a friend or talk to the dog. (While it sounds funny, my dog is actually a pretty good listener.) When I am bored, I clean or organize or sort something. I do homework. I run up and down the stairs 10 times.

One of my biggest tool to overcome my emotional eating habits was, whenever I found myself wandering into the kitchen, to drink instead. I’d heard of an eating plan called Trim Healthy Mama, and I wanted to see what it was about. While I decided not to follow the plan, I fell in love with their Good Girl Moonshine.  I always have a quart mason jar on my counter filled with Good Girl Moonshine. It has enough kick that it feels like a better replacement than just water for the food I would have eaten otherwise.

What bad habits are you trying to overcome? Are there emotional reasons that these habits developed? How can you minimize them and develop better coping mechanisms?

See Part 1 of my Breaking Bad Habits here. Part 3 will be coming soon!!

Breaking Bad Habits, 1st Key

Let me be straight up with y’all here: I’m overweight. Not just overweight, but obese. I’m barely 5’1″ and I weight almost 170 pounds. I’m down 10 pounds from 2 months ago and am pretty dang proud of myself, but still have 15 more until I hit “overweight” and 40 to get to “normal”. I’ve tried a bajillion times to lose weight before, and it never stuck. As I’ve become more emotionally healthy over the last few years, I’ve realized there are three keys that I have needed to understand in order to be successful.

For starters, it’s important that you guys know that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka LDS, aka Mormon. This is important because my first key is faith-based. (Not a person of faith? Skip to keys 2 and 3. They should be posted within the next couple weeks.)

Bad Habits 1

I believe that there really is an adversary, a devil, Satan, Lucifer, or whatever it is you want to call him. He wants us to be miserable. He’ll tempt us to do things that he claims will make us happy but really won’t. He’ll tell us things like, “A handful of chocolate chips isn’t going to make that big of a difference”, and “It’s okay if you sleep in today. You can get up and work out tomorrow.” He can be very discouraging. “You know you’re weak. You know you’re going to give in. Why bother fighting? You’ll never be able to do it”

You know that old image of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other? Yep; that’s a real thing. I feel it on a daily basis. Maurice Harker, CMHC, Lead Therapist and Director of Life Changing Services, an LDS based therapy group in Utah that specializes in overcoming addiction, supporting the spouses of addicts, and learning self-mastery, says there isn’t really such thing as negative self-talk. Those negative thoughts in our head are the adversary trying to get us to choose poorly. (I just thought that in the voice of the Templar Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade…. “You have chosen… poorly.”) Once we know how that those negative thoughts in our head aren’t because we’re weak, but because a real entity is trying to affect our behavior, it takes overcoming to a whole new level.

angel and devil

An Ensign article (the Ensign is an LDS magazine) titled “The War Goes On” by Elder Larry R. Lawrence talks about this exact thing. He shares a story of President Heber J. Grant, who, when confronted with temptation, said alound, “Mr. Devil, shut up.” My preferred phrase is, “Dude, Satan, get the f out.” (And I do say “f” instead of the swear word, because I’m a good Mormon girl and don’t swear.) So if you find yourself discouraged because your brain keeps sabotaging you, take a different approach. Recognize that it’s the adversary trying to take you down and fight him. Tell him to shut up. Tell him you’re not going to let him win.

Right now, as I type, I have this going on in my head. “Kids aren’t here. Pop popcorn.” “No, I’m done eating for the day. I don’t need popcorn.” “But popcorn is free on your diet plan. Have some.” “Yes, popcorn is free, but the butter and oil aren’t.” “That’s okay, a little extra for the day won’t hurt.” “But I’m not hungry.” “But you don’t need to be hungry for popcorn. You can eat it whenever.” Folks, this is a brutal battle in my head  All over a little popcorn. Guess it’s time to tell the adversary to get the f out and focus on my blogging.

This video by Maurice Harker has awesome information about how to overcome the bonds of the adversary. It’s titled, “How do good, smart people slip into pornography addictions.” But it’s not just about pornography. Do what he says at about 5:30 and pick your one things that you’re trying to overcome and listen with that one thing in mind. You can see his “Breaking the Chains” series for an uncut version.

So the first key to changing habits is to learn to be aware of the adversary and his effect on you. When you feel that negative talk coming into your head, walk away. Do what you know to be right; what will make you happy in the long run.

What habits are you trying to change? In which ways does the adversary speak to you to discourage you?

Negative Thoughts

When you have had trauma in your life, no matter the source, the negative thoughts from both the incident itself and the unfortunate consequences of the incident can become overwhelming.  Some may say “Turn to God, He can help you overcome.”  And I believe it is true; forgiveness can help bring peace.  But there’s more that we can do than just pray and study scriptures and all the other things Christianity brings to the table.

quote-the-way-to-overcome-negative-thoughts-and-destructive-emotions-is-to-develop-opposing-dalai-lama-82-59-44

New science has proven that the wisdom of the Dalai Lama is spot on: the power of positivity is actually a scientific thing.  It can help re-wire your brain to help you forget the trauma of your experiences.  To summarize, when you go to bed, certain brain cells “prune” the garden of synapses in your brain.  If you do your best to not focus on the negative, those connections will get “pruned” and you forget them.  Crazy huh!?  Read more at the link below.

http://prepareforchange.net/2017/03/02/your-brain-has-a-delete-button-and-heres-how-to-use-it/

What are some things you can put into play in your life that can provide positive feelings and emotions to replace the old ones?

Lessons learned from Moana, Part 2

During the trip to return Te Fiti’s heart, Maui and Moana encounter many monsters: walking (and battling) coconuts, a gigantic crab, and and fearsome lava creature all test their resolve.

Maui, who wasn’t keen to go on this adventure in the first place, is often unhelpful and would rather just go his own way.  Occasionally he can be a bit and rude and condescending to Moana.  He doesn’t understood why what he did was so wrong.  In spite of this, Moana doesn’t veer from her course.  She doesn’t get distracted.  She doesn’t give up.  (She almost does at one point, but she doesn’t!)  She just keeps going on her way, being firm with Maui when he’s acting like a cranky child, but not letting his crankiness deter her.

The spouse of an addict can often feel the similar to Moana.  She may have goals for herself and her family for her own personal development, hobbies, and education, or things for her family like vacations, how the house or yard should be kept. Though her husband is not hunky demi-gods with great hair, just a plain old human, his behavior can often distract her from her goals.  Her energy can turn from her own goals and dreams to him; wondering what can she do to get him to stop, worrying if he’s acting out, worrying if he’s lying, wondering if his behavior is affecting the children, and a myriad of other things.  This is what brings the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.  When you focus on things you can not change, it’s depressing.  Focusing on your own goals and your own path despite how others around you are behaving, like Moana did, can bring a power back into your life that you may have not felt in a while.

Find Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

Lessons learned from Moana, Part 1

Have you seen Moana?  It’s seriously one of my favorite movies now.  Besides the amazing music, the story of Moana has some underlying themes that really struck my heart.  Many parallels have been drawn in the addiction community between her story and that of an addict and their spouse.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, let me run through a quick plot line.  Moana is the daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island.  They tell the legend of the demi-God Maui, who stole the heart of Te Fiti, or mother earth.  Since then, the world has been slowly dying.  Moana is chosen by the sea to find Maui, restore his magical fish hook to him, and return him to Te Fiti so he can restore her heart.  The journey is dangerous.  They come across some crazy creatures and trials on their way, but eventually they complete their goal.

The inhabitants of Moana’s island do not travel by sea.  There are a few who go on boats to fish for food, but they always stay close to the shore or in the bay.  Moana is drawn to the ocean as a young girl, but is not allowed to go near it, much less swim or go out on a boat.  But thanks to the “village crazy lady”,  aka Grandma, Moana is shown a cavern behind a waterfall which is filled with boats.  A few bangs on a drum and a vision is opened up to her where she learns that her ancestors were voyagers, wayfinders they’re called, who sailed from island to island. establishing new lands.

At this moment Moana realizes who she is.  She learns about this feeling, this calling she has in life, and the reason she has always been called by the sea is because it’s her heritage.  She later sings “We are descended from voyagers, who sailed their way across the world. They call me.”

The spouse of an addict often feels like Moana.  So often they feel like there’s something else out there, another path they could be taking or following.  They often feel stuck, hopeless and powerless.  When they realize their path to recovery, the thing has been calling them, they often feel a sense of freedom and empowerment.

Another line in the same song says, “Yet the voice isn’t out there at all it’s inside me.  It’s like the tide always falling and rising.”  We were made to have joy.  It is our heritage.  When we find our path to happiness, we feel it, our soul or our spirit knows that it is meant for us.

Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Lessons learned on the freeway

 

I had one of those cool “ah-ha” moments last week. I was on the freeway, in the carpool lane, going a sensible speed to stay a safe distance behind the cars in front of me and keeping with the flow of traffic. There was a guy that stayed on my tail, dangerously close, for like, 10 miles. I could see him in my rear view mirror and could tell he was angry at me.

I didn’t get it. It was an open carpool lane, meaning that he could get out and get back in any time he wanted. And there was no traffic. Nobody was in his way. Why was he letting one self-righteous person in the carpool lane keep him from doing what he wanted to do? From what he thought was necessary for him to be happy?

So often in life we let others dictate our happiness. We sit there and let others lack of action limit our action. We get at angry at them for slowing us down, when all we have to do is change lanes to go as fast as we want.

There’s so much power in doing what you know is right for you. The blessings that come from following God’s plan for you, and from living to the fullness of our capacities are wonderful. It is empowering to live the life that you want to live.

I know; easier said than done, right?  Depending on close this person is to us, it can seem impossible.  When a parent, spouse, sibling, or another person in authority in our life is the one slowing us down, it will probably be hard to say, “Thank you for opinion, but I know that this is the right choice for me, and the plan that will bring me happiness and fulfill my purpose” and then drive by with a goofy grin on our faces as they look at us, stunned.

So, how do you do it? Well, that’s where life gets tricky.  It takes confidence in yourself and in your plan to tell someone you love “I’m doing it my way.”  Need help?  That’s where I come in.  As your coach, I can guide you in developing a plan that will help you change lanes out from behind whomever is slowing you down.  Go to my Contact page and let me know how I can help you.

Creating Happiness

Have you seen this meme?  It became a favorite of mine the second I saw it.  If you are the spouse of an addict, it may be a long time since you’ve experienced true happiness.  So often we turn to outer sources to find happiness.  We think that we can find it in a new workout regime, a new beauty product, a new weight-loss scheme, a new handbag or pair of jeans, a binge-watching of our favorite netflix show, or a bag of our favorite unnecessary salty or sweet snack food.
happiness-i-made-it-myselfBut happiness doesn’t come from things.  It comes from us.  From our actions.  From doing.  We can read self-help book after self-help book, and create all of these awesome new awarenesses, but if we don’t put those things into action, they are of naught.

Happiness comes from ourselves.  From practicing gratitude.  From practicing optimism.  From realizing that we have power to live our lives the way we want to.

You can find happiness, despite the actions of those around you.