Download
Four FREE
Self Mastery
Sessions

Lies, Damn Lies, and Healthy Exercise

Have you ever run the same conversation in your head over and over again?  You might find that after looking at it for a while you will notice a certain circular pattern.  Of course that’s part of the problem,,,, we don’t look at it.  That loop of thinking is taking us in a circle, and really being aware and skeptical of the thoughts in our head is not part of the circular logic.  So that circular logic remains in charge of our thoughts and we get dizzy.  Dizzy with lies that is, damn lies.   Here’s an example of the internal dialog of thoughts in one person’s head as he battled with food, exercise, and getting healthy.  Let’s call him Ben.  It’s Ben’s battle with “Lies and Damn Lies.”

“I’m a fat slob.  I’ve got to lose 20 lbs.  I’ll never be able to do it.  It’s too much. Maybe I’ll just go for a walk and start there. No!  That won’t do it.  That’s not enough.  You need more than that. You need to go for a run, a big run, a 10 mile run. If you workout really hard you can have a lean sculpted body.  You can even have six pack abs.   That’s what you need to do.  When you get fit like that you’ll feel awesome.

But you are going to need to watch what you eat too.  No more sugar, no more caramel macchiato coffee drinks.  No more desserts.  No more beer either, so stay away from happy hour after work and any social life with your friends.  You need to take this training seriously or not at all.

 No social life, no relaxing with a glass of wine, no wonderful desserts?  Just work and workouts? That’s no fun.  I think I’ll feel deprived of all the stuff I enjoy.  I’ll be miserable if I do that.  I don’t want that. Maybe I’ll just get some potato chips and see what is on TV.”

Then it starts again,,, from the beginning.  “I’m a fat slob.”

(Repeat from above)

The circular thinking resulted with my client on the couch watching television for a number of weeks.  Why are we trapped in unhealthy cycles like this?  It’s a function of our fear based and false beliefs.  These beliefs are lies.   Damn Lies.

When you look closer and study the beliefs held within these words you’ll see what holds this self destructive cycle together.  You’ll see how these thoughts lead our attention and look at certain things and not others.  How our attention goes into certain thoughts and builds whole imaginary dreams out of them.  Then we have emotional reactions to those imaginary dreams, and those emotional reactions cause more thoughts that take hold of our attention again.

I’m a fat slob.

It’s a self judgment: a verbal self rejection using the image of the body as a basis for self worth.  Basing our self worth on our body is an assumption and is the first lie.   Our self worth doesn’t have to be based on our body, but if it is, and you judge your body, you end up feeling emotions of unworthiness.   It’s a damn lie. But we can still create a lot of emotions by believing imagined lies.

I’ve got to lose 20 lbs. 

Maybe that emotional feeling of unworthiness is painful.  Maybe it hurts so much that you get motivated to change it.  So you decide to lose 20 lbs so you feel better about your self.   The problem here is that it wasn’t what your body looked like that made you feel bad.  What created the feeling of unworthiness was believing the lie about your self worth.  That was on top of the other lie of self being related to what your body looks like.

The proposed solution to feeling bad is to change our body even though it didn’t cause us to feel bad.  We lie to our self about the solution and change how we feel by changing what our mind is judging.  We believe changing our physical appearance will change how we feel emotionally. (Lie)  Our physical appearance can be amazing, but if we still believe a judgmental thought, our sense of worthiness doesn’t change at all.  But we get lulled into the effort of changing our body and ignore what goes on in our mind.  (more illusions)

I’ll never be able to do it.  It’s too much.

When we think of making a change our mind can imagine the shift in one step.  That’s not how change actually happens, but that’s why we call it imagination.  Because the imagination produces the new result immediately it didn’t fill in the actual action steps.  The mind has produced an illusion of success.  There is no plan with a step by step approach with time to execute it.  Without a scenario of how to get there, our common sense awareness kicks in and tells us the result looks impossible.  We conclude that the change is too much to do in one step.  Our conclusion is a truth, but it’s based on the lie of doing it in one step. So our thought becomes, “It’s too much.”   Our emotions go to failure and defeat.

Maybe I’ll just go for a walk and start there.

We back up and catch our self.  We begin to piece together some steps to get to our final goal of losing 20 lbs. (or whatever the amount you have I mind.)  We have a start and perhaps develop a sense of hope and possibility.

No!  That won’t do it.  That’s not enough.  You need more than that.

This thought came from a tyrannical voice of authority.  It was the side of Ben’s personality that was serious about getting things done.  It’s the voice in his head he puts in charge of hard projects requiring commitment.  There was some truth to what it said, and that made the rest of the thoughts hard to recognize as a lie.  Yes it was going to take more than one walk to get to the goal.   But it ignores the long term plan with many small steps necessary to complete a long journey.  The truth is that just getting off the couch and going for a walk might be enough to start with.

You need to go for a run, and a big run, a 10 mile run.

Here the tyrannical voice throws out another over reaching goal.  It wants’ to start off with a level of training Ben was at two years ago when he was doing a lot of training.  It’s one that isn’t going to be achieved so it’s a set up for failure.  The flag for the lie here is the word “NEED.”  Ben doesn’t need to go for a run and he certainly doesn’t need to do a 10 mile run.  That’s more likely to be self abusive and injure his body instead of make him healthier.

If you workout really hard you can have a lean sculpted body.  You can even have six pack abs.   That’s what you need to do. 

Here the conversation of voices in Ben’s head goes from abusive tyranny to a sales job.  It’s a beautiful story and it has a happy ending with lots of self images of the ego getting stroked in the process.  The salesman is trying to be his friend and get him on board with the lofty goals.  This illusion takes Ben’s attention away from the present moment and putting his shoes on for a walk.

When you get fit like that you’ll feel awesome. 

This is dangling a carrot out there and telling him his emotions of happiness are dependent on what his body looks like.  It’s a carrot made of good feeling emotions.  All it actually does is reinforce the NEED to run 10 miles story with and make it emotionally appealing so we want to believe the lie.  This is what I’ll call a damn lie.  It’s a lie that makes Ben feel good but has no basis in anything real.  It’s most dangerous because it cloaks the others lies behind this emotionally appealing self image.  It’s setting the goals too high and leads to disappointment. If we buy into the salesman’s pitch here we will have overspent on expectations.

But you are going to need to watch what you eat too.  No more sugar, no more caramel macchiato coffee drinks.  No more desserts.  No more beer either, so stay away from happy hour after work and any social life with your friends.  You need to take this training seriously or not at all. 

If we bought the lie the salesman was selling we feel committed now.  The underlying assumption is that it would be wrong to back out on our commitments.  That’s a lie too, mostly because what we are committed to are stories in the mind.  Once the salesman has got us on the hook with those feel good emotions that it linked to a fit body, it starts pushing for more.  Now it’s not enough to be committed and to run 10 miles at the first work out.  Now you have to give up everything else you enjoy in order to get that fit body.  The salesman just raised the price you have to pay before you can feel good.  Ben would be better off just going for a walk, but that’s not what the lies in his head tell him.

No social life, no relaxing with a glass of wine, no desserts?  Just work and workouts,,, that’s no fun.  I’ll feel deprived of so much I enjoy.  I’ll be miserable if I do that.  I don’t want that. 

There’s a truth in this lie as well.  You rightly figured out the salesman’s voice in your head raised the price and it was too high.  He wanted you to make your self miserable by going to an austerity plan living a fanatical lifestyle of workouts.  Truthfully this is too high a price.  Ben is not deciding to train for a triathlon.  However, the rejection of the extreme lifestyle is a general rejection of, “I don’t want to do “THAT.”   What is the “that” he is rejecting?  It’s called a healthy lifestyle.  The tricky lie is that the salesman bundled healthy lifestyle with a fanatical one.  We are saying NO to the fanatical part, but in the process we are unaware that our mind is throwing out moderate exercise and eating as well.  Another damn lie where the stuff we don’t want got mixed in with the lifestyle we do want.   Without awareness we throw out everything by believing the thought, “I don’t want that”.

Maybe I’ll just get some potato chips and see what is on TV.

When we consider the lies of a fanatical workout and social austerity lifestyle, our mind dreams an unhappy life.  Our natural instinct is to look for something that will make us happier.  At this point watching TV and eating potato chips looks like a good idea.  When we try it on in our imagination it feels a lot better than the last option.  It’s another damn lie that feels better.   We feel better for the moment but that’s only compared to an imaginary nightmare where we have no friends, no social life, and no fun.  The previous ugly scenario makes the couch feel like a relatively better lie.  It doesn’t feel genuinely good, just not as worse.  It’s also an illusion that distracts us from any small healthy steps like taking a walk and having a piece of fruit.

Of course that distraction only lasts until another familiar voice in Ben’s head proposes that he is overweight and should get off the couch.  The end result is that Ben’s imagination is running laps in a circle, but his body doesn’t get taken for a walk around the block.

If you want to get out of such a loop, then you need to get out of those lies, and damn lies.  How so you do that?  Become so aware of what is going on in your mind that you are able to see the lies in there for what they are.  When you are aware that the thoughts in your head are lies, you won’t believe them anymore.  Sometimes it’s not enough to have an opposing belief, or to try and think something else.  This does make pre-existing lies go away.  Just like the story above, these only moved Ben’s attention on to something else.

What helps to get rid of these types of lies is to become aware of the assumptions they are built on, and notice the lies within these assumptions.  That’s what I tried to do above.  I broke down each thought so you could see the underlying false beliefs (lies) they were built on. When you not only see a thought as a lie, but know WHY it is a lie, you are much less likely to fall for that tricky voice in your head the same way.

 

There are practical steps to learn how to do this in the Self Mastery course. 




The Self Mastery Course: Practical Tools for Getting Rid of the Emotional Drama in Your Life
  • Stop Emotional Reactions
  • Change Core Beliefs
  • Quiet the Criticizing Voice in Your Head
  • Develop Communication and Respect in Your Relationships
  • Create Love and Happiness in Your Life
Check out Gary's Self Mastery Audio Program and Download FOUR Sessions FREE