You can have the change you want
Your dreams can come true.
Your life, eating, and body can feel exactly the way you wish they would. You can heal, grow, and transform – I 100% promise you have the power to do it.
What you might not have is the knowledge about how to do it. And – of course! – that’s what I’m going to give you today.
So let’s do this!
Your eating. Your weight. Your habits. Your body. Your mind.
Such a small word with super far-reaching effects! And it’s such a controversial topic.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the struggle so many women feel between the ‘love yourself’ message, and their desire for change. That if they loved themselves, then change would not be necessary; wanting to change meant they didn’t love or value themselves enough.
I call bullsh*t on that. Seriously.
Change is awesome. You are awesome. You can definitely love yourself into change.
So, now we’ve got that out of the way… let’s talk about what that really means for you.
What do you want?
Once you’re comfy with the idea that self love and purposeful change are NOT mutually exclusive, you can move on to the actual changing. There are 3 broad ways you can transform you life (or eating, or body) into something that feels wonderful for you.
Whatever you think you want…
- less body fat
- ‘controlled’ eating
- true love
- more money
- thinner calves
- that whole bar of chocolate
… what you REALLY want is the way those things make you feel.
You want to feel attractive, fun, energetic, pleasurable, free, creative, and so much more. The material or physical goal is really just the best way you can currently see to get those feelings into your life. Perhaps you’ve been told those physical goals are the ONLY way.
So, your first step is to ask yourself:
a) What do I want?
b) What feelings do I want from this?
Keep those feeling goals front and center as you do this work on change.
You can also investigate if there are other ways to cultivate these feeling in your life, but that’s a post for another day.
Three levels of change
Ok, so you’ve thought of something you want, and you considered the feelings you really want from achieving that goal. Now, let’s talk about how to make the changes to get you there.
I learned from Michael Neill that there are 3 levels to change. He works mainly from a life-coaching perspective, but they are ridiculously relevant to health, body, and eating transformation too.
As he explains it, there are three levels of change, and it has to do with how wide-reaching those changes are.
Level one is specific change.
You’re looking at a specific situation that you want to change. Once you’ve gotten past that, you nor your life has changed much.
This type of change is great for goals that are centered around a particular event. For example, it’s the holiday season and you want to learn some skills and techniques for dealing with Christmas binge-eating and eating at parties. You learn those, get a big boost in knowledge and confidence, eat in a way that makes you feel awesome all holiday period, and the job’s done 🙂
Level two is broader.
It’s about change that encompasses an area of your life. You’re looking at a whole area of your life, how you act, react, and feel, and are working to change that. This type of change means that whatever specific situation you encounter, that change will be in place.
Using our above example of binge eating and Christmas parties, you’d be changing not just your behaviors and beliefs around food during the holiday period, but who you are as an eater in all situations. This kind of change is great if you’re looking to develop, learn, and change over a whole life area – like your eating behavior, or your body image.
Level 3 is change of your ‘self’.
It’s not just a situation or life area, but your self, thoughts, beliefs, and who you are in the world that changes. Because your reality is self-created, if you change your self, your reality changes too. It’s a paradigm shift that changes the way you see everything.
This is the type of change you’d be doing as you learnt to really develop a deep and lasting self love. Your whole world view (and self view) would change, and as a result the way you experience body, eating, and the world are different.
So, which level is better?
It depends on your goal and how you want to feel.
If your goal is to get through your sister’s wedding with a smile on your face and without emotionally eating the whole cake, then a level 1 change might be all you need.
But, if your goal is to learn to manage your emotional eating in social situations, then you might be looking for a level 2 change of a life area (namely, your strategies and coping in emotional social situations).
And then, if your goal is to feel happy, secure, and loved within yourself and to stop emotional eating altogether, then level 3 might be where you’re at.
Level 3 change does, ultimately, make the biggest change in your life, and sometimes you’re ready to jump in and go right there, but usually you want to progress through the three levels, making each a part of who you are – which makes the shifts at level 3 happen almost automatically.
How to practically work with the 3 levels of change:
Think back to the goal you thought of at the start of this post. Remember the ways you want to feel? Ok, good!
Now write down a change at each of the three levels described above.
Ok, I’m gonna make a worksheet for this (woohoo!).
Example time? Yes, I think it is. This stuff is tricky – it’s taken me months to wrap my head around it, so if it’s fuzzy for you, no worries. One step at a time.
Right, so let’s say your goal is:
“I want to stop stress eating. To feel free with food and free from craving, happy about my choices, and like I’m leading a stable and maintainable life. I want to trust that even if I do get stressed, I will treat myself well.”
At level 1 this might mean you spend 5-10 minutes a day over the next three days learning a breathing relaxation technique because you know you’ve got a stressful meeting coming up next week.
For level 2 this might mean you work on strategies to cope with and reduce stress, and learn other ways to fill your needs for pleasure, security, and relaxation.
And at level 3 this might mean you work on how you’re perceiving the event in your life and the beliefs you hold about stress.
So, download that worksheet and start brainstorming. Then, keeping your feeling goals in mind, start to gather the knowledge and resources you need to begin working through these changes.
This might be books, internet research, friends, coaching, a gym membership… whatever you need to get the skills, knowledge and action to move forward.
Then do it.
Transformation, here you come!