Your Thoughts & Focus Determine Your Future
Recovery Is Easier When You Focus on the Positive & Take Action
While you may think your eating disorder is helping you cope with life and feel better, it’s merely buffering your true feelings and keeping you from feeling anything.
I can appreciate how dealing with life can be hard and you just want to run away. I want you to know when you avoid feeling negative feelings you’re actually keeping yourself from feeling the positive feelings, too.
Eating disorders sort of “numb” you to life – both the highs and the lows.
When you were a small child you knew and lived as if life was about playing and having fun.
I believe all of life is supposed to be happy and we’re supposed to feel good. I want to share with you some lessons I’ve learned about how positive thinking and feeling and taking action to have what you want in your life makes all the difference.
Your Bulimia Auto Pilot
The road to bulimia recovery is paved each day when we walk along a new path. Each day we create a new reality that didn’t exist before. The road begins by taking one step, then another, then another.
The foundation of your recovery is built upon your commitment and your willingness to change your life forever. While this is where it all starts, the rubber meets the road in your individual moments of decision where you either choose recovery or you choose bulimia. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by thinking long term that it’s going to be hard, that you’ll never be able to do it. Ignore all that limiting thinking and just make one small decision each time you’re faced with an urge to binge and purge.
Making decisions each and every moment is how we navigate our lives. Somewhere along your life’s journey you started navigating towards bulimia and it’s now a well-worn path. It’s like when you’re on autopilot and drive yourself to work and arrive without remembering the details of the trip you just took. You’re in auto-bulimia pilot right now. Bulimia is your default. It’s up to you to travel a different road, to take different actions, to make different choices in your life.
Choose a New Reality
I learned a wonderful insight early on in my recovery called the Process of Manifestation. It took awhile for me to “get it”, but once I did the implementation of it is really powerful. The Process of Manifestation goes like this:
[Our] Thoughts → Feelings → Action → Results
Our thoughts lead to our feelings and when we take action (or don’t take action) we have results in our life. Allow me to break this down further for you so you can understand how this applies to your eating disorder and addictive habits:
Thoughts – what we think about a situation, a person, or ourselves begins as a thought in our mind. Our thoughts are also our perceptions. Habituated thoughts become our beliefs. The energy (positive or negative) of our perceptions about things starts with our thoughts. When something happens in our life we have thoughts based in our beliefs and life experience and give each situation meaning.
Feelings – feelings create sensations in our physical body and these sensations are created by our response to the thoughts we think. Thoughts of love or happiness may make us feel warm and sort of energized inside our core. Thoughts of anger or frustration may give us a sensation of shutting down, getting “fired up” or impatience and anxiousness that leads to sweating or increased heart rate. We interpret our feelings through our intuitive kno wing (sometimes referred to as our inner guidance system). We know when we feel good and we know when we feel badly. Feelings exist inside our bodies, not in the physical, outer world.
Actions – when we move from the non-physical world inside our bodies and into the physical realm of our outer environment, it is due to actions we take. This is the barrier between the seen/unseen, internal/external, and invisible/visible world. You might say this is where we play a part in the manifesting of creation. Taking actions includes things like talking, walking, speaking, and otherwise exerting our bodies. The opposite of taking action is not taking action. By not doing something we also create results in our life.
Results – these are the outcomes, or experiences, we have because of the actions we have or have not taken. The way our life shows up for us is a direct correlation to the thoughts we had, feelings we felt about those thoughts, actions we took or did not take. I look at changing the course, or results, of my life like turning an ocean liner. The ocean liner does not change course quickly and yet over time the end destination – and the journey along the way – was affected by the small adjustments (choices/actions) we made.
Here’s something to help you remember the process of manifestation :
That which you think about – and take action towards – comes about.
If you want to live a recovered life, it’s up to you to begin to monitor and modify your thoughts and actions. You’re responsible for the course of your life and it means you go back to thinking like a non-bulimic.
Start With Today
I challenge you to start making new choices to overcome bulimia today. Depending upon your level of willingness and commitment to recovery these choices may seem easier and sometimes harder. Like I’ve said before: recovery begins when you decide to be a non-bulimic. I hope you’ve already decided to transform your life. If so, good for you. If not, why not start today?
Thoughts Become Things
I want to complete this with a final word about how our thoughts become things by telling you a story of my friend Mira. I met my friend Mira while working shortly after college. We became close friends quickly and spent a good amount of time together. After a year or so of working together I moved on to a new job and eventually out of the area.
I knew Mira while I was in the midst of my bulimia phase, but she never was aware of my eating disorder. After about 9 years of sending emails I decided to visit her . My friend Mira had divorced her husband and had to give up custody of her daughter because she did not earn enough money to fight the battle for primary custody of her daughter.
When I arrived at her home it was hard to walk in the front door because of how much stuff she had piled around her home. Her home was wall-to-wall filled with stuff and just a pathway from room to room. This was the first time I had stayed in her home and I was surprised by how much clutter and useless stuff she had because I knew her job as a bookkeeper did not allow her much extra money.
On the second day of visited with her we were talking and I asked about all of the things everywhere and she said “Oh, I know. I’m so bad. I can’t stop shopping.” She said with a laugh and shy look in her eye. She said, “I’m so bad” about 15-20 times over the course of the two days I visited with her.
I started to notice how quickly and often she said “I’m so bad” that I realized it was an unconscious affirmation she said to herself. I mentioned it to her gently asking if she was aware that she was saying it and it took her by complete surprise. She was not upset that I pointed it out, but surprised that she wasn’t even aware she was doing it.
She finally became aware of what she was saying and realized how saying this about herself, to herself over and over each day was filling her with negative feelings and low self-esteem. She could hardly believe what she was saying and we spent several hours looking at where the phrase came from, why she might be saying it to herself, and adjusting the behavior (I would let her know whenever she said it so she could begin to stop the habit).
After a few days she was more and more aware of how negative the affirmation was having an affect on her so she committed that weekend to stop saying it. This is exactly the type of pattern we develop when we think something, feel something and then develop a pattern or habit to reinforce the negative.
Look to your own thoughts and to what you say to yourself regularly. If you have a habit of saying things like “I’m so fat” or “I’m such a loser” or “When I’m thin then I’ll be happy” you may be slowly reinforcing unhappiness and negative energy towards yourself.
First, begin to notice your behavior. Then, replace it with something else and start to condition yourself with more empowering thoughts. All it takes is time and a desire to change for you to turn around these patterns.
What to Focus On
Here are a few ideas of great things to start focusing on:
• Think about therapy or a bulimia treatment center
• Learn about your triggers and how to avoid them
• Develop a structured meal plan
Check out my blog for 10 tips for bulimia recovery that offer small steps you can take today that will start to make a big difference. Your recovery is in your hands. Little actions taken each day will eventually turn your ocean liner.
Are you ready to change the course of your life and create different results in your life?
Now you know some small steps you can take. Now take at least one step this week to start changing the course of your journey.
…and remember the Process of Manifestation:
Thoughts → Feelings → Actions → Results