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Weight Filter

Angry and impatient, she was referred to me because of her negative outbursts. Not so surprisingly, the first thing out of her mouth was, “If I could only lose 60 pounds, I would be happy and not angry.” She told me that for the past 35 years, she had been expressing a belief that she wouldn’t be so angry if only she weighed less. But since nothing much had changed in that time, she was still heavy and still unhappy.

By linking her emotional well-being and happiness to the condition of weighing less, she had set herself on a path to perpetual disappointment. Her attempts to slim down weren’t working, and even though she had lost considerable weight over the years, she had put it all back on. As a result, she was sick and tired of her life, and instead of celebrating her successes, she allowed her setbacks to overcome her. The resulting cycle was wearing her down.

It became apparent to me that everything she did, at home or at work, was affected by her focusing on her belief about her weight. I called this focusing phenomenon her Weight Filter.

She knew immediately what I was getting at because she had already realized that most of her behaviours were in response to her obsession about her weight. Because she constantly thought about it, all decisions, judgements and interpretations, on a moment-to-moment basis, went through the Weight Filter before she responded or reacted.

The Weight Filter is much like a coffee filter where the water passes through the coffee and takes it to the cup. So, too, everything this woman thought, felt, valued and believed (TFVB) passed through her Weight Filter and was tainted by her feelings of being overweight, which, in turn, negatively influenced her feelings toward self and behaviours.

She gave me an example from earlier in the day when she was discussing a product with a customer. The whole time she was focusing on how the customer must be noticing the additional 30 lbs. she had recently put on. In her role as a salesperson, the Weight Filter led to a reduction of her professional abilities.

She understood that if she was to change and break free from the weight cycle she had been on most of her life, she would need to focus instead on what she wanted or needed to do—positive things. That would be the only way she could avoid sending everything through the Weight Filter, which was having a profoundly negative influence on her life.

She decided that she would give up the Weight Filter and substitute it with a Wellness Filter. Instead of aligning with negative feelings about her physical appearance, the Wellness Filter would keep her focused on healthy thoughts and behaviours. Daily issues, problems, everything that she had previously related to her weight, and consequently always made her feel badly about herself, would now be traded for a completely new way of thinking—a focus on health and wellness and related activities and behaviours. The Wellness Filter would now 221 encompass all aspects of her life (physical, social, etc.).

Whereas the Weight Filter is narrow, negative and deals with only one criterion—weight—the Wellness Filter is positive and enables a person to view themselves in a larger context according to their health and vitality.

Whereas the Weight Filter has people looking at life through a negative reinforcing lens, leaving them feeling bad about what they do and who they are, and that “the cup (life) is half empty”, the Wellness Filter has people looking at life through a positive reinforcing lens, enabling them to focus on what is good in their lives and to see that “the cup is half full”.

Focus on your weight and feel like a failure, or focus on wellness and feel like a winner. Not such a difficult choice, eh?!

Walking a mile a day adds one year to your life!