It has nothing to do with you as a person or how strong you are!
Resolving struggles with food can be extremely challenging, often with set-backs, ups and downs and at times you may even feel like something is holding you back from breaking free once and for all.
Do you know you need to recover but for some reason you can’t quite overcome all of your unhealthy food behaviours?
Have you tried so many recovery methods but you feel like there is still more work to do?
Do you feel like a part of you just takes over in times of relapse?
Does it feel like your food problems can show up almost automatically?
Do you feel like you don’t have control over yourself around food?
What is it that could be holding you back from full food freedom?
I remember becoming very frustrated over the fact that I had got to a point in my Bulimia recovery where I felt recovered 80% of the time, but something was holding me back 20% of the time and I was still relapsing. I remember thinking; “why can’t I fully beat this?”, “why am I not strong enough to do this, what is wrong with me?”.
Does that sound familiar?
The sabotaging subconscious
When there’s something you desire, like fully overcoming your struggles with food, but can’t seem to make it happen, chances are that your subconscious mind is preventing you from having what you want.
What is the subconscious mind?
You can think of your mind as an iceberg.
As the iceberg floats in the water, the huge mass of it remains below the surface. Only a small is visible above the surface. The conscious mind is what we notice above the surface while the subconscious mind, the largest and most powerful part, remains unseen below the surface.
Your conscious mind is responsible for your logical and rational thinking, willpower and short-term memory.
Your subconscious mind contains primitive responses and protective reactions, automatic behaviours, long-term memories, emotions and feelings, your values, beliefs, intuition, identity and habits.
When you are actively trying to resolve our food issues, you may be very much focused on becoming more aware of your behaviours and accompanying thoughts and feelings around food, but not necessarily of your subconscious beliefs and pre-programmed behaviours!
These are buried deep down in your mind, in a place which is difficult to access yourself with logical, conscious thought.
The power and influence of the subconscious mind
Most people don’t even acknowledge that their subconscious mind is at play, when the fact is that the subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind and that we operate 90% of our lives from subconscious programmes.
So, just think about what you do on a daily basis. 90% of this behaviour is being driven by your subconscious mind without you even realising! This includes behaviours which are harmful; such as your behaviours around food.
To give you an idea of magnitude of power the subconscious mind holds compared to the conscious mind, it estimated that we can process on average of 40 bits of information consciously.
On the other hand, the subconscious mind can process on average of 40 million bits of information effortlessly! Just imagine the power you can achieve if you can influence your subconscious mind to help you recover!
Your subconscious beliefs are working either for you or against you, but the truth is that you are not in control of 90% of your life, because your subconscious mind overtakes all conscious control. It will always win. Which is why you may be wondering; “why can’t I control myself around food“, “why am I not strong enough to beat it?”.
This has nothing to do with you as a person, your strength, or ability to cope- you may have an invisible subconscious programme that’s sabotaging you.
I often have clients come to see me who can’t quite seem to fully overcome their struggles with food and they don’t know why. Often this is because they have not yet made changes in their subconscious mind to support their conscious goals and desires. Their subconscious minds let them down and hold them back.
This is something that happens to us all to some degree, it is part conditioning, part formation of our habits, and part defence mechanism. For example, if you have suffered with food issues, it didn’t just happen overnight. These problems can take time to surface, usually as a result of long established patterns of thinking about food, patterns of behaviour concerning exercise, beliefs, likes and dislikes about food and exercise, all of which you are familiar with, and are normal to you.
Remember there is nothing wrong with you, you are not broken, nor do you need to be fixed. Your brain has just made some wrong decisions and associations in the past.
Find out in part 2. what to do about your sabotaging subconscious and how to start to influence it to help rather than hinder your progress.
Want to know more about the approach and steps you need to take to break free from your food issues once and for all? Sign up for the next UNLEASHED workshop:
Hope to see you there!
Until next time,