Have you ever had the experience of doing and feeling great – eating healthier foods, less food and feeling more in control and then suddenly, you feel yourself backsliding?

What happens next? Do you panic? Over the years, I’ve frequently received e-mails from people reaching out to me for help. When in the throes of feeling dread or despair over slipping into old, unproductive behaviors long ago sworn off, it can be difficult to remember that all feelings pass.

Just because you are feeling regretful and afraid that you’ll lose all the ground you’ve gained, by making a mistake or two, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the strength within yourself to get back on track and achieve ultimate success.

However, when you are in a state of fear, it’s impossible to make wise decisions. You can not make wise choices and decisions from a place of feeling frantic or desperate. To get yourself back on track you must start by simply grounding and centering yourself. No matter how anxious you are to just have this problem fixed, the only way to do that is to connect to the Wisest/Highest part of yourself and allow that part to guide you now.

As a hypnotherapist, my role is to help you connect to that place. Ultimately, it’s that part of you that will guide you.

If you could have prevented or solved the problem with your conscious mind alone, you already would have. The conscious mind thinks it has all the answers. When it comes to losing weight, it knows all about points, calories and body mass.

Unfortunately, what it doesn’t understand is how to motivate you at the deepest level to respect and love yourself enough to follow through with self-care, no matter what you are feeling in the moment. Fortunately, your Wise Mind, deep in the center of your subconscious, does.

The issue is that in addition to a Wise Self, you also have a needy child within that wants its needs met, now. To quell that, it doesn’t help to berate that part, but rather to sternly and gently offer guidance as well as compassion.

On a practical level this can be achieved by practicing self-hypnosis. Regular inner exploration allows you an opportunity to enter a centered place within yourself where the answers to your challenges can be found. It sounds simple enough, but it can work magic.

In addition to practicing self-hypnosis, I recommend that you carry a small notebook around with you and find times when you can write down your thoughts. It may look like this:

“I am such a pig, I can’t believe what I ate last night.”
“That’s it, I’m not going to eat at all today.”
“That’s ridiculous! Now you are just back to dieting like you’ve always done.”
“I’m a failure.”
“I’m terrified that I will gain the weight back.”

Etc. Etc…. Just write down your thoughts and feelings without censoring them. Write your thoughts down, and cry if you need to. Let yourself feel your emotions, but remember that you are not your emotions. You don’t have to identify with them and remember that they will pass.

In my book, The Craving Cure, I included a whole chapter on breathing. Practice the different breathing techniques. When you arrive at a centered place through deep breathing and self-hypnosis, ask your Wise Self to inform you of a new way to respond to your life challenges. Don’t force an answer—simply allow one to come.

Put pen to paper again and see what guidance you are given. Write down the guidance you receive from your higher wisdom in a different color ink (than the one you were using to write down your thoughts and feelings).

Though you may want to hear something dramatic or revealing, don’t be surprised if your inner guidance tells you something as simple and practical as, “Don’t let yourself get too hungry,” or “Eat plenty of protein—such as fish or chicken, with vegetables,” or “Eat only just enough to satisfy your physical hunger,” or “Carry around healthy snacks—plan ahead.”

One of the most common issues I hear about when someone backslides is that they are wanting to eat too much again. Naturally that would be nerve-wracking to anyone who just lost weight and wanted to be sure to never gain it back.

If you are craving carbohydrates again it is very likely simply because you’ve put them back into your body to a point that has triggered an old carb addiction. That’s normal for a carb addict. It doesn’t mean that you are weak willed or destined for failure. It just means that those carbs are back in your system in excess and need to go.

When I eat bread (even after 28 years of being off sugar), I just want more. Consider the possibility that you have the body type that is addicted to carbs and/or sweets and that the only way to be successful is to stay off it. Even if in the past you were able to eat those foods, for now, if you are back in the throes of addiction, decide to take a break.

Fantasizing about foods that lead you (and other people, too) to being overweight and miserable is a foolish waste of energy. Remind yourself that you can and have been perfectly happy with healthy, nutritious foods that taste wonderful (with enough healthy fat) and remember how great you felt eating that way. Don’t compare yourself to others, just as you intuitively know it’s not healthy mentally to compare yourself to others in other areas of your life.

Reward all your successes and write them down. Success breeds success. Right now you may have some momentum going in the wrong direction, but with a gentle nudge coming from love — not panic — you can get back on track.

Imagine a train going 100 miles an hour needing to stop and realize it takes some energy. In the same way if you’ve gotten off track, it requires some energy from you to get back to a positive direction.

Write down how horrible being overweight was and link the “bad” foods you may be eating to that condition. Stop glorifying poisonous, harmful foods. If your mind goes to a particular food, don’t focus on the taste, but rather on the EFFECT.

I do that all the time. My family was going to an Italian Restaurant and wanted to split a pizza. For a split second I thought about the bonding and how good the pizza would taste.

Then immediately, I thought about feeling fat the rest of the day, and that horrible feeling of being heavy from carbs and wanting more, and it became easy to just order the salad (mind you, the salad had cheese, nuts and salmon on top) so it was delicious and completely satisfying.

As I ate it, I focused on the company and never once did I focus on how lucky they are because they ‘get’ to eat pizza. I know that I could’ve, too, but I didn’t want the result that my body gets.

It can be helpful instead of avoiding ‘tempting things’ to keep being more aware of the pleasurable associations you have with those foods, and remember the actual pain and discomfort they cause, mentally, physically and emotionally. This way you don’t have to ‘try’ to avoid them, you just naturally become more and more repelled by them. It works!

Your subconscious mind has all the resources you need but you’ve got to take the time to connect to that wisdom. Remind yourself that no matter what happens, you are safe and protected.

Remember that what matters to your Wise Self is to live your life as your best self, truly happy and free, and that’s why this is so important to you. It’s not whether one cookie is bad or good, but that you want to eat foods that lift your vibration, not the ones that bring you down to misery mentally, physically and emotionally.

As painful as a backslide is, in any area of your life, there’s always a gift. Take the opportunity to look inside yourself and discover the strength, courage, wisdom and fortitude within yourself that is calling out to you and ready to guide you home.

Health and Happiness to You!

I’m so excited to now have my Gastric Bypass Hypnosis Surgery Program available on cd, for those of you who would like to take the program at home. Learn more at: Gastric Bypass Hypnosis Surgery now available on cd