From: The 4 Day Win by Martha Beck
Stage 1 ~ Pre-Contemplation ~ The Creature and the Computer
Most diet experts tell us to think of the body as a computer programmed to take instructions from the mind. Only the mind acts like a machine, your body is not a computer, it is a creature.
Your body speaks creature and your mind speaks computer. The Body Whispering exercise forces your computer self to find the creature words for “I come in peace”. The medium for this communication is not thinking, but feeling.
Allowed to function as nature intended, your creature-self will stop eating when two conditions are met (1) it senses that you aren’t hungry any more (not that you’re full, but that you’re NOT hungry) and (2) it’s confident there will be no food shortage in the foreseeable future.
Listening to Your Creature
1. Start by establishing a strong relaxation response – slow easy breathes and full muscle relaxation
2. Describe in precise words the sensation in your hands and feet – temperature, texture, shape, comfort/discomfort
3. All your attention to expand out to your whole body and describe in words the physical feelings you observe in your body.
4. Remaining relaxed, find the least comfortable part of your body and breathe into the discomfort. Keep your attention on it and allow the discomfort to get bigger. Continue until you sense the emotional feeling connected to the discomfort. Describe it in words.
5. You will probably sense an impulse to run and hide from this feeling because you are feeling fear. Emotions terrify your computer mind and you probably spend a lot of time ignoring them by obsessing about your weight or eating to distraction yourself from the feelings. The good news is that by noticing and describing the feeling, it simply melts away.
5a. If you want to uncover the source of your feelings hunt down the thought (not the circumstances).
Q: What is the reason I am feeling miserable?
A: Because I weigh more than I want to (circumstance which is a fact right at this moment)
Q: What does this say about me?
A: I am failure, I am not good enough (thought)
5b. Try to think of a thought that is slightly better and eases the emotional discomfort
– This is more than I want to weigh but I have lost weight before so I can do it again
– I only fail if I give up trying and I haven’t stopped trying – I’m still trying to figure this out
– My body is only a tiny percentage of who I am. Who I really am is gorgeous, brilliant, and perfect no matter what my physical appearance at any given moment.
Listening to Your Creature (continued)
6. Breathe deeply, relax and notice whether you are feeling physical or emotional hunger (I feel physical hunger just under my ribs and emotional hunger in my throat). Rate your physical hunger on the hunger scale :: 0=drop dead starving, 5=neutral, 10=stuffed
7. Do this practice at least 3 times a day for 4 days – while you’re getting dressed in the morning, while doing something in the middle of the day and when you go to bed at night. Repeat until you can easily identify your hunger score and differentiate it from an emotional urge to eat under any circumstances.
This is a forefield skill that you’ll want to tap in to every day to stay tuned to your creature body.
Each day for the next 4 days , I’ll notice what I’m feeling physically and emotionally. I’ll rate my hunger level from 0 to 10 at least three times a day.
I Hate the Hunger Scale
I have experienced great resistance to the whole hunger scale thing because other people have said to do it before and after eating which felt like another form of logging my food.
This approach has nothing to do with food, but is about listening to my feelings, connecting with my creature self and tuning in to my inner wisdom. It also gives me an opportunity to find a better feeling which is a wonderful thing.
The circumstance has stayed largely the same (using the hunger scale) but now I think differently about it, I feel differently about it ~ magic!
- If you are interested in the Circumstance-Thought-Feeling-Action-Result self coaching model then listen to this recording (free) ~ it is really, really helpful.
PS: I’ve now got my own domain name : www.head-heart-health.com (look up at the address bar). The wordpress address will still find me (you don’t have to change a thing) but this will be easier to remember and is the first step towards having my own website. Woo Hoo. [thanks Mish for the ‘how to’]
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→ photo : dougwoods