“If you want to know what’s happening in your subconscious mind, just look down at your body.” Candace Pert, expert on the brain, author of Molecules of Emotion.
Those of us who study human consciousness are well aware that your physical body is the direct result of your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Think about it—when was the last time you tried (with the emphasis on TRY, not DO) to lose weight, and no amount of exercise or dieting got you anywhere. Did you still think you were fat and ugly? If so, you may begin to understand why your previous programming doomed you to failure. Begin by answering the following questions:
What did my mother look like? What was her relationship with food? What was her attitude towards exercise? What messages did she give me about how I look?
What did my father look like? What was his relationship with food? What was his attitude towards exercise? What messages have I received from him about my looks?
What messages am I receiving from the media about how I should look? Research supports a direct link between the rise of eating and size-image disorders not only in women but also in men due to the widespread propagation of air-brushed photos of models with unrealistic body sizes and shapes.
Am I in rebellion against my parents’ attitudes about eating and exercise? I’ll never forget my first year in college, when I lived off cookies and ice cream. It was like I had been let out of jail—I could finally eat whatever I wanted, no matter how idiotic the eating plan was. I realize now I was in rebellion—at my own expense.
Have I adopted my parents’ unhealthy attitudes about food and working out? One client’s father thinks it’s futile to try to exercise and eat better. Result? My client resents any efforts to help him improve.
Have you made an incorrect link in your mind between your weight, your body image and relating to the opposite sex? Many single women are under the mistaken impression they will only meet Mr. Right when they are a size 2. They do a double whammy—their anxiety about their looks compounds their worries they may never find a mate. Realize these are two separate issues.
Once you have begun to identify your programming, begin to make more intelligent choices. Realize no matter what your past programming, you can feed your mind with positive self-talk that ultimately reflects in a thin, healthy body.
The Reptilian Brain: What It Teaches Us About Human Behavior
After all my years of studying about the brain, it was actually my mentor in fitness, Paul Chek, who taught me the most valuable information about working with people and helping them get out of their reptilian brain. For starters, put your hand on the back of your head—that’s where your reptilian brain is located. Anytime you go into fight or flight, you are operating primarily out of the reptilian brain. When you are using this part of your head, you are not using your logical mind—you are simply reacting. When we react, we are going into our deep, subconscious programming. That’s dangerous when it comes to healthy, proactive activities like dieting, exercise and developing positive self-esteem because when we are operating out of the reptilian brain we don’t count calories or follow plans.
Your Reptilian Brain Reflexes
Paul Chek says a reptile has three basic needs—safety, food and sex. For all his trainers, he recommends that we evaluate all clients by where they stand vis a vis their reptilian reflexes—and not because we view our clients as reptiles! Why? Again, when someone is operating out of their reptilian brain, not much progress can be made until emotional issues are resolved.
MONEY. Paul says that safety in our culture equals money. Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with how much money you have. Some of the wealthiest clients I have ever trained have been the most conflicted about money and the least likely to take care of themselves, even though they could probably afford to have private chefs, get a massage every day, fly all over the world to see the best healers, etc. On the other hand, I’ve seen clients with small resources but a clear sense of priority. They want to live and are logical about being healthy and happy.
FOOD. Here is where undereating, overeating, eating disorders, irregular meals and other feeding issues show up. One new client I had told me, “I have my eating issues under control—I only throw up once a day.” Paul says once a reptile feels safe, they can then eat. If you have feeding issues of any sort, rest assured that you have reptilian issues to resolve. If you have feeding issues, also rest assured that you probably have safety/money issues as well, because each of the reptilian reflexes builds on the previous one.
SEX. Once a reptile feels safe and has eaten, it can have sex. This is where relationship issues show up—whether clients feel attractive to the opposite sex. Frequently single women have the misimpression they won’t find a mate until they achieve size 2.
Get a Grip on Your Inner Reptile
You are only doomed to be governed by this subconscious programming as long as you are not aware of it. The first step is to recognize where your issues stand. Then you can take conscious steps to resolve them. Ask yourself these questions:
MONEY: How financially secure do you feel? How important is money in your life? Do you lay awake at night worrying about your financial well-being?
FOOD. Do you binge? Do you eat regular meals? Do you overeat during times of emotional stress? Figure out when, under what circumstances and with whom. If you answered yes to any of these questions, go back and reconsider No. 1.
SEX. Do you have healthy, comfortable and honoring relationships? Are you comfortable with you femininity/masculinity? Do you feel you have to achieve some ideal size before you can find a partner? If yes, go back and reconsider No. 1 and No. 2.