Are you feeling discouraged with your weight loss and healing journey? Do you believe you have done your best to make all the right decisions up to your point of setback? And as everything started to spiral downward, did you quickly began to focus on your failures and not your successes?
In Chapter 7 of my book, “A Journey Healing: 5 Stages to Achieving More Freedom in Your Health and Your Life“, I talk about ‘Feeling Discouraged’, which is Stage 4 of the ‘5 Stages to Freedom‘.
Feeling discouraged happens when your expectations aren’t met. How many times have you given up because of unmet expectations? You were hoping to have lost ten pounds in two weeks, and you only lost two. You’ve been taking digestive enzymes for a month, and you are still dealing with gas and bloating…
Feeling discouraged can be associated with feelings of hopelessness, confusion, anger, fear, and boredom. Instead of letting these overwhelming emotions defeat you, let’s dig deeper and analyze why you may be feeling this way.
I’ve been at this stage so many times. I tend to be hard on myself, so when things don’t work out as anticipated, I feel like my world is coming to an end. It feels like, no matter what I do, nothing is going to work.
This can apply to many areas of our lives. Not just weight loss and healing. Let me share an example of when I first joined a network marketing company. I would get so fired up about the business and would be absolutely sure it was my ticket to financial freedom. I would purchase my business packet and marketing materials and dive right in with my list of prospects. I would be on every conference call, anxious to learn from the best. Initially I would be excited about all the wins I would hear from my team. Some of them would just climb up the ladder seemingly overnight. A month would pass, and I would still be looking for my first team member. I would feel envious and discouraged, wondering why others were doing so well and I was struggling. I was doing my cold calls and introducing the products, but I wasn’t going beyond the associate level. I would believe it was the product, move on to another company, and the cycle would continue. I repeated this cycle at least half a dozen times.
Looking back, the reasons why I didn’t succeed were because I didn’t get in front of enough people and I didn’t do follow ups. It wasn’t the company that was failing me, it was my fear of rejection. Instead of moving on to the next prospect, I shut down and gave up. This fear of rejection didn’t just affect my inability to succeed in any network marketing company. It affected my relationships, my practice, and my health.
These inadequacies numb us. We become our own worst enemies, getting involved with self-sabotage. Despite our good intentions, we eventually end up where we started or hit a plateau, unable to get further in life. Willpower and discipline fail us. What now?
The answer lies in our self-limiting beliefs. Our beliefs direct our choices, behaviors, and actions. We need to evaluate those old programs that are running in our minds, preventing us from getting what we want. What are some of the limiting beliefs that have been holding you back? Here are some examples I currently hear or have experienced.
Things never work out for me.
I don’t have the money.
I have too much going on.
I am not a morning person.
I don’t have enough time.
I will never get ahead.
I am not smart enough.
I am too old.
This is too difficult for me.
I am not good enough.
You feel discouraged when your limiting beliefs start to scream at you. Don’t believe the lies! It is possible to change these old programs.
Monitor your thoughts daily, and start to replace those negative, self-limiting beliefs with more affirmative thoughts.
Revisit your why. Are your thoughts congruent with your why? Is your why to have more energy to play with your kids, but you keep telling yourself you are tired? Once you become more aware of your thoughts, you may be surprised at the things you habitually say to yourself.
When that self-limiting belief pops in your head, cancel it right away and replace it with a more positive statement. For example, if “I am always tired!” comes up, think about what it would feel like to have an abundance of energy. What would you do with that energy? Play with your kids, clean the house, or visit a close friend? Visualize as though it is happening right now. Create a new statement, such as, “My body is getting stronger every day!” It’s amazing how your body quickly responds to the new thought. It takes practice. But once you start to master it, watch your life and your health change. There are many effective techniques and there is research about how our beliefs control our biology.
Success and personal growth come from being aware of beliefs and taking responsibility for your actions. You must not confuse your struggles with failure. Look at your struggles as a test, a chance to assess and reevaluate. Instead of giving up when things get tough, this is the best time to reflect on why this is occurring, strap on your boots, and do your best to get through it. Most of my disappointments have come from giving up too soon, and most of my successful moments come after I have gone through the struggle. Sometimes what you see on the other side of the struggle is better than what you ever imagined.
I have found this stage to be where I learned the most about myself and what I am capable of. I now welcome challenges, and instead of believing that they came up to defeat me, I take them on, knowing that something rewarding is on the other side.
In my healing journey, I momentarily gave up because of discouragement and lack of enthusiasm. When I first started changing my diet and had to give up my favorite food, bread, in order balance my sugar levels, I lost almost twenty pounds in the first six months. I was ecstatic! Then for the next three months, the weight wasn’t changing at all. I thought I was on to something and had cracked the code, only to remain stuck for months. My self-limiting thought was it is hard to lose weight after forty. Then I started to go back to why I started in the first place. I began to see myself at my ideal weight. I began to feel the abundance of energy I had. I continued to immerse myself in learning about health, listen to audio, read books, hang around like-minded people, and go to the gym. I had to feed my mind with what I wanted and to cancel what I didn’t. You can’t think a positive thought and a negative thought at the same time.
Once I achieved one goal, I moved on to the next one and readjusted my program when necessary. For example, when I was 205 pounds, my first goal was to get under 200. When I hit 199 my next goal was to get to the 180s. It is so much more manageable to set up smaller goals and celebrate your successes along the way. Stay focused on the journey instead of the outcome. Refuse to beat yourself up if you find yourself off track. Just stop and evaluate your thoughts.
Occasionally, we want to return to our old habits because they were more “comfortable.” We remember how much easier it was to go to the drive-through versus cooking a whole meal. That’s human nature. The good news is you can create new habits. This is the time to be creative. Reach out to others who are doing similar things and share ideas. That’s why I encourage a friend or a health coach to go through this journey with you.
You may experience being so overwhelmed from making the changes to eating healthier foods. You may find it’s been especially hard to get the bread out of your diet. Plus, you may get discouraged when you get on the scale and it hasn’t budged in two weeks.
I understand, and I know it is not easy. It is very normal to feel this way when you are doing something new. In this stage, you begin to want to give up, and unfortunately, most people do. This is when you have to remember your why, your purpose for wanting to get well. Ask yourself if it is still worth it.
In my early years of practice, I didn’t recognize when patients were going through this stage. We all go through this cycle of challenges. It’s actually a part of your growth in this new process of a healthier lifestyle. Don’t look at it as failure.
We live in a culture where we want things fast and easy. And if we don’t get them in that fashion, they’re not worth having. This is in a lot of aspects of our lives, not just in healing. People just don’t want to wait anymore and assume that whatever they are doing is not working. You are getting better, and you have already come a long way. Just because you don’t see the major changes every day doesn’t mean they are not there. Remember, you are healing at a cellular level, and you may be dealing with some chronic issues you have been living with for decades. Healing takes time, and you are not alone.
The fact that you are reading this book is proof enough that you are dedicated to this process. Your frustration is the anger you feel because you are anxious to succeed in this endeavor, and it means a lot to you. Some people fail to reach out or acknowledge that they are struggling. Some people have dropped out all together at this point without confronting the issue. The fact that you are confessing your challenges and your setbacks is powerful! Together we will get you through this. In the long run, this will make you stronger and more confident. You will look back at this moment one day and realize how far you have really come.
Evaluate your progress, and appreciate the changes you have made so far. Continue to log all your foods and beverages, even when you do not make the healthiest choices. Be strong when you start to feel overwhelmed at your attempts to include healthy choices for you and your family, staying up at night to prepare those meals and stopping by the grocery store to pick up items. That is not an easy feat, and you should really be proud of what you have achieved so far. Talk to a friend or coach. Don’t complain about your struggle, be proactive, and seek a tangible solution that will get you back on track.
This is what striving for success feels like. It is normal to have good and bad days. I find myself thinking of one of my favorite quotes by Greg Behrendt: “Life’s biggest rewards come from the biggest challenges.”
It’s important not to be hard on yourself. Don’t give up. Continue to be more patient with the process. And if you do slip up, don’t let it defeat you.
New habits are hard to form at first, but they will get easier; I promise. In your journey, focus on what you have achieved so far, such as the energy you have gained, the weight you have lost, or the soundness of your sleep. It is important to focus on the positives and not dwell on the negatives. Be proud of what you have accomplished so far.
The point here is to learn from your mistakes. It is okay to make them as long as you learn from them. Don’t make the error of believing that your mistakes are a sign of failure. Mistakes do not have to be setbacks that destroy your journey. Take a mistake for what it is. A mistake! It is not the end of the world. This is when you sit back to reevaluate, reassess, and move forward.
Feeling discouraged is not permanent. Don’t make it an opportunity to give up. Your breakthrough may be right around the corner.
Here are four steps that will help you move forward despite the struggles you face.
1. Organize your time. This is the most simple and overlooked step. Plan your days by keeping a calendar of your daily and weekly tasks and checking them off as you complete each one. When you have not completed something, take a moment to evaluate the reasons, and then work on a resolution to make it happen. Is it something you didn’t do because of something else? Or was it mismanaged planning that caused you to not do it? Is the task important? Will it bring you closer to your goals.
Many of us claim to be too busy, but when you put this into practice, you will really begin to realize that a lot of your time is wasted on things that are not productive. The most common time wasters are social media, browsing the internet, and watching reality TV. You have the power and capability to change the circumstances to result in a positive outcome. Use your time wisely!
2. Monitor your thoughts. Envision every day why you are making changes. This daily reminder of why you are making lifestyle changes will motivate you and reinforce the importance of sticking to your goals. Keep your why in front of you.
3. Work on becoming consistent. Consistency turns into a natural flow of working your plan each day without hesitation. You start to develop new habits that work for you instead of against you. It will be very difficult to reach any destination if you keep looking backward. Trust in the process, and keep moving forward.
4. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Have an accountability partner. Having a positive support team keeps you on track. Take note and celebrate the positive changes in your life. Celebrate with your team. Dwelling on the negatives will only hold you back. There is so much to be thankful for. Focus on those.
It is important to realize that as long as you are doing the right things and taking consistent steps in the right direction, you will get well. The road to success is not a straight line. Sometimes you fall off track, just to get back on again. It does get easier. You are eating much better than you were before. No, you are not perfect, but you are better than yesterday. Hold on to those positive wins. Once you manage to adopt a new idea, move on to the next one. Trust me, you will never run out of things to learn, and there is always room for improvement. Every step matters. It doesn’t matter how small. It all starts with you!
In health and in freedom,
 Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles, (Hay House, 2005).