Last week I shared some ideas about what we really need to do to make lasting change. This week I have been reflecting on my own experience and decided to relate it back to how I changed my sense of self worth. For me the story starts over twenty years ago and I had reached a point in my life where I was saying to myself on a regular basis:
“There must be more to life than this?”
I didn’t like myself, I thought I was ugly and fat and was married to a man who was emotionally and psychologically abusive. I thought the relationship I had was the best I was ever likely to have so I put up with it! My husband of the time was also deeply unhappy and had equally low self worth. He attended the workshop I’ve mentioned several times before “The Turning Point”. He came back from it very different but after about three months he seemed to be back where he was before and I was still unhappy.
He then “bullied” me into doing The Turning Point myself. The speech marks are deliberate because for me this was still evidence of my victim mentality. I was actually ready for this workshop because I wanted to know if there was more to life than the experience I was having but I was still acting as though I had no control over my life.
I can genuinely say this workshop changed my life in the space of about four days. I had a paradigm shift where I suddenly got it! I do have value. I also recognised that other people have value too. Intellectually I even got that my ex-husband had value (it took me a while for this to be more than intellectual) but even recognising his value I didn’t have to continue living with him. So I left.
Now here is the thing I was really getting to. If at that point I had said “great I’m fixed” and went off and got on with life without another thought I think I would have reverted to that place of despair. Although the realisation and mental change had happened in a short period of time I needed something else to keep me moving in the right direction.
I spent the next two years focusing on uncovering and dealing with my internal “demons”, limiting beliefs and unexpressed emotions. I joined a Gestalt group for survivors of child sexual abuse. This really helped me confront some of the issues stemming from this early experience however after about three months I realised the progress had stopped and if I didn’t change focus this would become my next stuck place. So I left the group and made sure I plugged into other support networks.
During that time I worked as a helper on The Turning Point. This helped me a lot because I was in a supportive caring environment and by helping others I was developing a new focus. I also had the messages re-enforced by listening to the teaching elements again from a different perspective. I also attended other personal development workshops both with Soul Purpose (the company running The Turning Point) and other workshops.
At this time I also undertook my first NLP and Hypnotherapy training providing me with additional tools to help both myself and others. My “transformation” I now realise took about two years of intense and focused commitment. Since that time I still make sure I am checking in with my feelings and responses. I still attend other people’s workshops and read lots of books and listen to audio programmes. I don’t need to do this as intensively as I did at the beginning however it is still important for me to continue my development.
I believe this is also true for weight loss. I recommend that in order to make lasting changes we need to invest around two years of focused commitment. We need to deal with the underlying reasons for unhealthy habits, we need to educate ourselves and we need to take ownership of our position.
I spoke to someone this week who wanted to know how I had lost weight. They were disappointed when I explained that I had done it the “usual” way, e.g. increased exercise and counting calories. I also explained the importance of changing my mind set and beliefs.
They then told me that they had been successful in the past and that the programme they had followed had said they could then go back to eating normally. What she meant was stop exercising and go back to eating processed, fatty foods. She seemed surprised that her weight had come back.
To bring this back to me for a moment, I realise that this time last year was when I began my first focused and committed approach to changing my health and well being. The work I did twenty years ago was about my emotional and psychological well being. Since then I have dabbled in getting healthy but have never put in the full commitment. I believe that if I continue with my focused approach to weight loss and a healthy body I will have changed my base line permanently by January 2014.
I am already at a healthy weight and am exercising regularly. Many of my habits have changed and I now enjoy and look forward to exercise. I’m not there yet however I can see that I am on my way.
Over the last twenty years I have lost and gained weight several times however this time is different. Let me list some of the differences.
- This time I have educated myself about food, exercise and metabolic rates.
- I have a plan and I’m sticking to it.
- I have been writing this blog.
- I have been helping other people who also want to lose weight.
- I am planning to set up and run regular groups.
Part of my personal life purpose is to help others reach their potential and I believe the work I am doing now is part of that purpose. I hope that by sharing my journey with you that you can start making the changes you need too.
The Turning Point courses continue today in Sussex, below is the link to their website. I promote this programme because of the value I see in it and don’t personally gain financially from sending you to this programme.
I am also offering NLP and Hypnotherapy Training programmes in both Bedfordshire and Sussex. If you would like to dip your toes in the water we are offering free 2 day introductions to NLP at both locations. For those of you who already have some NLP training we are offering free taster days for NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer’s Training too. Our approach is humanistic and we believe in providing our students with ongoing support in their journeys. The link below gives all the information including a free MP3 download.
Next week I am going to begin a series of workshop type exercises. I invite you to take part by doing the exercises. If you plan to take part leave a comment. It is my intention to help you as much as I can if you are ready.
Are you ready?