Yes I know this question sounds a little in your face but there is good reason for this.
Note here the toxic beliefs we are discussing are predominantly to do with weight loss and body image issues.
Firstly we need to know what “toxic beliefs” are. We need to create awareness of them as this is the first step towards healing them.
Our beliefs, like our thoughts, have such a profound effect on our behaviours. Sadly, more often than not, we don’t even know we have the beliefs and thoughts that we do. Especially when they are harmful or do not serve us.
Here is a list of the most common toxic beliefs around food and weight:
- Food is the enemy
- Appetite is the enemy
- Food makes me fat
- Fat in food makes me fat
- I won’t be happy until I weigh…….
- I am unlovable as I am
- I must be skinny to be loved
- I must be skinny to be sexy
- I don’t deserve to be happy because I am fat
- Less food + more exercise = weight loss
Any one of these is crazy and sucks the life out of us.
The fact is our bodies require food to live. That’s a physiological fact. Food is absolutely necessary to our biology.
But the other side is we get enjoyment from food; it nourishes us and gives us pleasure. We build our culture around food; we go out for dinner with friends, family or on romantic dates. We invite friends over for BBQ’s. We meet for lunch or just coffee and cake. We have business meetings over lunch, dinner or even breakfast these days.
Let’s face it, eating is a huge part of our lives.
So how do we know we have these toxic beliefs?
Some of the common markers are; we feel guilty when we eat pretty much anything (but especially something like chocolate cake or french fries). We may avoid or fear looking in the mirror. We may severely limit what we eat. We may push ourselves with extreme exercise. We may avoid socialising in places that involve food, for example going to restaurants or parties. We may wear only baggy, cover up type clothes.
Any of these can be an indicator that our beliefs around food, eating or body image may be harming us.
We are 2rd or 3th generations of belief systems that do not serve us. And I say “we” because none of us are alone in this.
In other words, the problem of toxic beliefs around food, eating, weight, perfection etc is a collective or social issue and has been building up for several decades (the growing influence of society, media and social media). This especially applies to anyone who considers they need to lose weight – meaning yes some of us do need to shed some weight but others may only think they do. Or someone may have a tendency towards being a health extremist.
But this is not our fault…..
The instigation of these toxic beliefs comes at us from all angles – most often from the media (magazines, movies, television, internet, social media etc). But we are also under pressure from friends, peers, work colleagues and even family at times.
We are subliminally pressured into feeling we must look like…., or act like…., be as skinny as….., be as pretty as…., dress like…., be seen here…. and more. We are no good until we are some or all of these things.
Toxic beliefs are a bit like the placebo effect, but in reverse.
Research into the taking of a placebo in place of a drug has proven how much the mind can and does affect the body. There is endless evidence of complete healing of disease and illness with the taking of just a placebo.
So a toxic belief, a placebo in reverse, can have a huge effect on the body – but this effect is often a disastrous one. When we have any of these toxic beliefs, we are essentially living in a stress response – a long term, low level stress response. And this is a major problem to the body.
This makes the body susceptible to any weak links. In other words we can be affected in our energy levels, moods, general wellbeing and even our immune system. Plus the stress response has a huge impact on our whole digestive system. That means our sympathetic nervous system is turned on and we have to flee from the lion. The stress hormone cortisol is elevated which means digestion and assimilation stops, and the body even excretes nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Calorie burning is decreased and the signal to the body is to store fat = weight gain.
This is precisely what we are trying to avoid.
So how do we overcome our “toxic” beliefs and move into a happier place where we can be healed and nourished by our food?
Well that is the subject of my next article coming soon.