Have you ever thought about the tiny number of things over which we have actual control?
There are so many things in life that go on regardless of us “doing” anything to make them happen. Trees get leaves and plants grow. It rains. The earth turns on its axis.
Our bodies alone do amazing things every minute of every day without us having to direct it. Our hearts beat. We breathe. We don’t have to think, “time to release some gastrin so I have enough acid in my stomach to digest my lunch!”
Yet we waste a lot of energy trying to control things that we can’t. Then we allow our inability to control these things make us miserable. And we don’t control some of the things in our lives that are within our control.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Karen’s 22-year-old daughter Lily (who has her own apartment) gets a job as a server at Hooters. Karen is very alarmed by this and doesn’t want her to work there. Karen tries to convince Lily to get a different job, but Lily refuses. She’s making a good wage there, and the customers do not touch her, as that is not allowed.
The more Karen tries to convince Lily to switch jobs, the worse her relationship with Lily becomes. Lily starts avoiding Karen because she’s sick of her mom bugging her about this job, which Lily actually enjoys. So Karen eats as a way to distract herself from her feelings about the situation. Karen had been trying to lose weight, but because of her emotional eating, she’s gained weight.
What is the problem here? It isn’t that Lily got a job at Hooters. The problem is how Karen is thinking about it.
Because Lily is an adult, Karen can’t control where she works. Her efforts at trying to control the situation are alienating her daughter. By allowing her thoughts make her miserable about the situation, Karen has lost control of one thing she can control: what she puts in her own body.
So what should Karen do? The only thing she realistically can do under the circumstances. Manage her thinking.
One of the few things in life over which we do have control is how we think and what we think about. Knowing how to manage our thinking is not only the key to a happy life but is also the key to losing weight and keeping it off. Because our thoughts create our feelings, we can actually change our feelings by changing our thoughts.
I’m not saying it is always easy to do this, but as humans, the most evolved part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, actually allows us to control our own thinking. With practice, we get better at it.
So back to our friend Karen. Not only is she upset about her daughter’s job, but now she’s also upset about the weight she’s gaining because she's trying to feel better about the situation by eating when she isn’t hungry. And that never works.
By using her prefrontal cortex to reason about the situation and to purposely choose how to think about it, Karen can be at peace with the situation. She feels better. She stops her emotional eating, and she starts losing weight again.
Managing your thinking is one of the 8 Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss. Learn them all! Get your free copy by signing up below!
I'm passionate about helping foodies learn how to drop their excess for good without dieting. I help you discover what is really causing your weight problem (it isn't that you love food!), fix it at the source, and teach you how to enjoy the foods you love while permanently losing your desire to overeat. I'd love to teach my method to you! I’m also a gourmet cook and baker who struggled with my weight for 40 years before discovering the secret of how to stop emotional eating and overeating. I am a certified life coach, arbitrator and mediator, and I live on the coast of Maine.