Hello World. This blog post is brazenly personal. Here is the story. I have this tool that I use on clients to help them like a certain foods less or more, depending on their preference. It's an NLP technique called a "sub-modality shift" but it feels more like a parlor game or trick. Everyone wonders what just happened and then forget about it. Till 2 months later they mention that they have had no cravings for cheese but have been eating a lot of oranges.
One day one of my writer's mind students asked me if I had ever done it on myself. I was surprised. I hadn't. I usually use all my tools on myself. But it is a tricky one to do on one's self, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to like less, because I fancy my tastes as pretty healthy. I thought of some things I don't like. The first thing that came to my mind was Kalamata Olives. I hate Kalamata olives. I realize hate is a strong word, but if there is one thing that can ruin the flavor of any entire salad or pizza it is these ugly purplish black deformed things. I thought, "why would I want to like that more?"
But to give it a good test, I decided to do a shift on Kalamata Olives. The technique is actually deceivingly simple. You just make a picture of the thing in your mind and then move the picture around to a place where something you like is.
Once I finished, I had no way of testing because make no mistake there were no purple olives found in my house. I forgot completely about it. So completely that a month later when cooking dinner with a friend at her house and the recipe called for them, I begged her not to include them. "Yuck. I won't eat it," I said.
Another month later, I found myself at a social gathering with an unidentified dip in front of me. It looked suspiciously like olive dip, and even as I scooped some onto my pita chip, something in my brain was saying "No! It could be gross. You might have to spit it out in front of everyone." But this other part of me was directing my hand and popping it into my mouth and chewing it.
What happened in my mouth is difficult to explain. I will try. It was like I was tasting a whole new food, but my taste buds hadn't yet formed an opinion. I walked around a bit and then the buds and the brain conferred. I suddenly felt an urgent need for more. I went back and had another bite. I could see the black dip getting bigger in my sight line as it came toward my mouth. A part of me was saying, "I don't think I like this..." but another part of me kept eating it.
I thought perhaps I was in some warped version of reality or dream until I remembered what I had done months before. Had I really done that? I couldn't believe it. They literally tasted different to me. They tasted good. I realized how much of my world suddenly opened up. I could order so much more food now. I could order Greek salads. I didn't have to firmly remind them to hold the olives every time I ordered the Tuna Niciose at Tender Greens. It didn't realize I had all these restrictions in my life. And now I had so much more flavor. It took part of me a while to catch up with this new change, but I finally allowed myself to buy them at the store and wholeheartedly accepted that I love Kalamata olives. I confess, I think about them as much as avocados. Even though I accept it and I do it every day with my clients, it still blows my mind.
And I can't help wondering about all things that we don't even realize we are missing because we think, "Why would I even want to do that?" It's the classic you don't know what you don't know. At least until someone challenges you. Which I am doing.
I was barely an adult when an older woman I knew said to me, “I’m such a neurotic worrier. I got it from my mother. It must be genetic.” Even at my young age, I couldn’t help but question, is that true? Some gut part of me knew that she may have gotten it from her mother, but it wasn’t genetic. It was a kind of imprinting during pregnancy. Years later, I found scientific research that confirmed that stress during the first two years of mothering, beginning in the womb, imprints on a girl’s nervous system through what is called epigenetic imprinting (“epi-“ meaning above the genes). It literally overlays the genes.
Another of the most fascinating experiments I have ever heard about used primitive worms called planaria. The worms were kept in a dark box, and flashed with a light and then delivered an electric shock. Soon, whenever the light flashed, the worms curled their bodies in preparation for the electric shock. Scientists then took these worms, ground them up, and fed them to another fresh group of worms. When they flashed a light at the new group, the worms curled into balls. Amazing!
The implications of this study--that there is a physical existence of memory in the body-- creates interesting possibilities. For one thing, our own experiences, and the consciousness of the food we put into our body may profoundly affect our offspring. The physical existence of memory also means that mental processes can alter the body, and physical processes can alter the mind. Most people know the power of the mind-body connection to some extent, but never have I seen it as dramatically as in childbirth.
Since the beginning matters so much, and because they are cute, I have spent much of the last 5 years working with babies and their moms. As a hypnotherapist and mediation instructor, I help women prepare their mind and body for comfortable birthing, free from fear and pain. Sound wonderful? It is. Not surprisingly, there is something different about a hypno-baby. Not only are they all natural (no drugs or anesthesia) but they have also been taught from the womb how to be calm and relaxed. Many parents who learn these tools during pregnancy go on to use them for the rest of their lives, which has impact for generations. So if you are concerned about the future, start with the babies and the baby makers. Feed them well, love them, and help them chill out.
Okay. There are many problems with traditional weight loss programs. For one, everyone knows how to lose weight: eat less, move more. But since not many are making it work long term (less than 5% keep it off) it is clearly not about that. It's about emotional stuff. Self love, self care, stress, comfort, knowns, etc. Losing weight isn't just about forming new eating habits, although that's part of it--but even if it were, think about this: many weight loss programs make you buy all of your food from them. Sure people may eat better and have portion control and lose weight that way. But what they are really doing is creating a new habit of opening a package to eat. So when they reach their goal weight and stop buying the food, they don't have the right lifestyle habits to support their goal weight.
I just did a weight loss session today. I love this therapy the most because I see so much lasting good coming from it. Not just released pounds, but released emotional distress and new coping strategies that will have a positive effect for generations.
I'm a hypnotherapist, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher, spiritual childbirth educator, writer, and human American. I'm also a mom.