What If…?

by Natalie Gornstein, LICSWflower pic natalie what if blog

How much energy do you spend thinking about trying to change your body? Can you imagine what life would be like if your mind were clear of thoughts about food, body and your weight?  Just close your eyes and imagine your mind clear of those obsessive, critical thoughts about what you eat or don’t eat, what your body looks like, and how much you exercise.   

Many of my clients tell me this feels like more of a dream than a reality. They have never considered a life free of these thoughts.  But once that idea takes root, that it is actually possible to clear your mind of these thoughts, a whole new world can open up.

The follow up question is a little more open ended – What would take the place of these thoughts? What else would fill your mind? For many people this can be both an exciting and scary idea.  Maybe there would be more space to strengthen relationships, pursue a new job or other interests. Maybe it would open up space for painful feelings or memories one has been trying to avoid come back in.  Often, thoughts about trying to change your body crowd out both positive and negative thoughts and emotions.   Thinking about how much you eat, weigh and exercise can be predictable; opening your mind to what else might be there can leave you vulnerable.  This may lead some to resist clearing away that space, but doing so opens up your mind and world in a way that allows one to grow.

Imagine if that energy were redirected elsewhere in your life.  One of my clients was unhappy in her current job. Once her preoccupation with food, weight and body started to decrease, she had the time and energy to think about what else she might like to do and what steps she could take to move in that direction. She began to take some classes and eventually enrolled in and became a nurse.  This was a big change from her career in the financial industry, one that she could not even had imagined making while still obsessed with food, weight and body.

Although it may seem like a dream, it is one that is possible.  You don’t have to live life consumed by these thoughts!