In the last episode, we discussed how family guilt can undermine your business. In this episode, we discuss how it also can contribute to overeating and overdrinking, and thereby put excess weight on your body. Listen to this episode to learn a two-prong solution to the problem of family guilt and creating a happy family. It will help your family, your business AND your body.
Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps you change your business and your body at the same time. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and I’m glad you’re here because we’re continuing our discussion about family guilt. Last time we talked about how guilt can undermine your business, and today we’re going to talk about how it can undermine your body. I’m also going to share with you a two-prong solution for ending guilt and creating an amazing family experience, not just for you but for everyone in your family.
Guilt leads to overeating for many of us
The first thing I want to say about guilt is that, for me, it goes hand in hand with overeating. And this is something that I have a ton of experience with. I remember my mom telling me not a super-long time ago that she had a new friend, but she didn’t like to go out to eat with this friend because the friend would order a meal, eat a few bites of it, and then package it all up to go. And my mom said, “That’s no fun.”
And in that moment, it occurred to me that for most of my life, I have been eating food that I didn’t really want to eat because I didn’t want anyone in my family to think that I wasn’t fun. I didn’t want to feel guilty about ruining their fun.
I also remember countless times when someone was upset—usually around the holidays—and I would overeat because I felt so terrible. I thought I had ruined their Christmas or their birthday or whatever the holiday was, or if I didn’t think I had ruined it, I still thought that they were having a bad time and I felt awful, so I ate.
It wasn’t always this way. As a kid, I was naturally thin. It would never have occurred to me to overeat to make someone else feel better. But once I started doing it, the idea that I could fix things by eating food became so lodged in my brain that eventually I didn’t even question it. I didn’t see the sheer folly of that idea.
It’s kind of fascinating, isn’t it? Me eating more food than I want is going to help someone else feel better. How can that possibly work? It can’t. In my lifetime, I’ve eaten so much food because people were upset, and after I ate the food, guess what? They were still upset.
Last time, in the last episode, we talked about how feeling guilty about family can undermine our businesses, and we discussed three things to help with this problem. And today I want to show you how the skills you develop when you do those three things in your business can also help you with your body. They can also help you with weight loss.
I’m going to repeat all three skills and show you how they apply to weight loss, because repetition is helpful, and also to illustrate why you can move your business forward at the same time you lose weight. If you solve for the problem that is holding your business back, such as guilt as we’re discussing today, you are also solving for the problem that causes you to overeat and keep excess weight on your body.
Three thought patterns about family that are putting weight on your body
So basically, the gist of this episode is that the same thought patterns that put weight on your business and undermine your profitability also cause you to overeat and put weight on your body.
“Fixing my body is going to hurt my family.”
One of the thought patterns we talked about last time was the common and illusory problem that “it’s my business or my family, and my family comes first.” As if there’s a marauding grizzly bear coming for one or the other, the business or the family, and so of course only the family can survive.
What did we say about this? We said, there is no bear. There is no “choice” that must be made, because there’s always a third way. But when we’re struggling, this is what we think: it’s one or the other, so the family must survive!
And we do this with not only our businesses, but also with our bodies. I was recently speaking with a client who said, “I’ve gained weight and I’m having difficulty losing it because I’m making these meals for my kids who are in sports and they need a ton of carbs, and it’s killing me.”
This client has a false grizzly bear in his kitchen. He could be cooking great vats of pasta every night for his athletic kids, but there is no bear that’s going to eat the kids if he doesn’t eat the pasta.
There’s always a third way, my friends. You can have the family you want and the business you want, and you can have the family you want and the body you want. Lots of people figure this out when they find the third way, and we can, too.
“No one else can do this but me.”
Another business-killing thought pattern we discussed last time is, “No one else can do this but me.” We talked about how we’re often tending to “kids” who are fully capable of tending to themselves, and some of the reasons that we do this.
This thought pattern, no one can do it but me, affects your body as much as it does your business. Perhaps more. Because what happens when you look around your house and see all the things that need to be done that no one else is doing? Are you inclined to hit the gym? To take a walk? To get a good night’s sleep?
No, no, and no. All of those things are good for your body, but if you’re thinking it’s your job to do everything that other people in the household aren’t doing, what are the chances you’re going to go out and do any of the things that will help your body? Slim to none.
My sister is a prime example of this. She lost 50 pounds last year, and has a goal to lose another 50 pounds this year, and she identified a single thought that enabled her to accomplish this. She comes first. She basically told me, I just had to trust that everyone else would be okay if I started taking care of myself, and it turns out that they were okay, and that I could have done this a lot earlier.
If you begin delegating and creating systems to keep your house running well, if you set the intention that you will not be the only person in your family who does everything, you will begin to function as the CEO of your own life. This will take weight off of you, and it will take weight off of your body, and out of your business as well. Because you can’t learn a skill in one area and not have it bleed over into other areas. Delegating is delegating. Begin doing it at home and just watch what happens at work.
“I don’t want anyone to feel bad”
So now let’s cut to the chase. Why are we foregoing taking care of ourselves and running and fetching and carrying for other able-bodied people in our families? Why are we thinking thoughts such as, no one else can do this but me?
The big granddaddy reason underlying all of this is that we don’t want anyone to feel bad. Last time we talked about the category of thoughts that has us doing things we don’t want to do because we think, “I don’t want them to feel bad.” And I mentioned, as I have repeatedly throughout the prior episodes, and as I will many more times again, we cannot control what other people think or how they feel. We can burn our business opportunities and destroy our bodies trying to make someone else feel better, but it never works because their thoughts are what make them feel better or worse. Nothing we can do will fix that.
Today I want to go a little deeper into this concept, and talk about why we want them to feel better. Sometimes we want them to feel better out of pure altruism, but rarely are our motivations that pure. Mostly, we want them to feel better because we think when they feel better, we will feel better.
This is where the guilt comes in. Consider Elena, the listener who wrote in a few weeks ago and whom I’ve been coaching with on her new business idea. When we initially started working together, she had a zillion different business ideas floating around in her head, and we went through a distillation process to get to the ONE thing she really wanted to do, and then what came up?
Guilt. Elena had some potential projects in her contemplated list of the oh-so-many projects she was considering as a new entrepreneur, and one of them she knew definitely was not for her. She said she was only contemplating taking it on in an effort to make another family member feel better. She said she wanted to support that family member because she felt that she didn’t do enough for that person. I think she actually said that she felt she didn’t do enough for anyone in her family.
This is a really lovely-sounding thought, isn’t it? But the loveliest sounding thoughts often get us the worst results. Here’s how this one played out for Elena:
When she thought this thought, I’m not doing enough for my family, how did she feel? Guilty. And also angry and resentful. And when she was feeling those feelings, what did she do? Her typical action plan was one of two things. She would withdraw from her family, basically hiding from things that she thought she should be doing for them but that she didn’t really want to do, and she would eat, or she would get angry at them and lash out, and then she would eat.
Either way, lashing out or hiding out, she was eating, and she said that her weight is pretty high right now, and that she hasn’t been doing anything for her family, so notice how the result proves the thought. She thought, I’m not doing enough for my family, and she didn’t do anything for her family, and with all that overeating, she was gaining weight and that certainly wasn’t helping her family. And it wasn’t doing anything for Elena, either.
So check those thoughts and see what they’re getting you. If your thought rises out of the negative muck and mire, things are pretty much guaranteed never going to go well, because we get what we think, and when we have stinkin’ thinkin’ going on, we start doing things that don’t make sense in an attempt to manipulate how other people feel, which never works, and we start playing small, and we lash out and feel resentful, or we hide. And we eat and we drink and all manner of other behaviors that don’t serve anyone.
Stinkin’ thinkin’ always leads to broke and bulky, so that’s one great thing about our work here at Rich & Thin™ Radio. If the numbers aren’t going your way, in your bank balance or on the scale, or both, the first place to look is in your brain because there’s something going on there that are moving the needles in the wrong direction.
And I want to be clear, I’m not singling out Elena. She is not unusual. She’s simply a very generous client who agreed that I could share the work we are doing together on the podcast.
So now I want to offer Elena, and everyone else, a solution that will help all of our families work better. The question you’re probably asking yourself, is, okay, what’s the solution to, “I don’t want people to feel bad”? It’s a lovely-sounding thought but it doesn’t work. That’s great, I get it, but what do I do about it? And the answer is, as far as our families are concerned, there is a solution, and it has two prongs.
Step 1 to a happy family for entrepreneurs: “Everyone is responsible for their own good time.”
If you’re getting bogged down by thinking, “I don’t want anyone in my family to feel bad,” the solution, the first step, is to do the opposite, and here let me clarify. I’m not saying that you should think, I do want people to feel bad. That’s not going to go anywhere good, either.
What I’m saying is, for step 1, let yourself off the hook for how they feel, and let them off the hook for how you feel. If you’re worried that they’re going to feel bad, basically you’re thinking you’re in control of it, you’ve taken on all the weight of that. The opposite thought pattern, that gets you a much better result, recognizes that you are not in control of what they’re doing, feeling, or thinking. What works for me to get to this place of recognition is the thought: Everyone is responsible for their own good time.
And here you also have to be the change you want to see in the world. If you want to live in the space where you’re not responsible for what other people are feeling, you need to be clean in your own emotional hygiene as well. When we find ourselves hiding or lashing out, basically what we’re doing is thinking that someone else’s thoughts, feelings, actions, likes, dislikes, you name it, are affecting how we feel. If we want things to begin to change in our families, for our families’ sake and also for the health of our businesses and our bodies and everything else—we must also recognize that they are not responsible for our good times. We are.
So if you’re interacting with a family member and you’re having some thoughts that don’t feel very good, practice saying this in your head, “I am responsible for my own good time.”
This gets you out of the mode of thinking that what they are doing is making you angry or resentful or whatever it is you’re feeling, maybe guilty, and it gets you into the mode of taking control of the only thing you can actually control, which is yourself. Your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.
So that’s step one—cleaning up your emotional hygiene. What’s step two? There has to be a step two because within a family, you can’t stop there. It doesn’t feel like quite enough to say, “You’re responsible for your own good time and I’m responsible for mine.” There has to be something more in a family, and there is. It’s love.
Step 2 to a happy family for entrepreneurs: The only reason your family is there is for you to love them.
Once you’re clean in your emotional hygiene—you realize that no one else is responsible for how you feel, and you are not responsible for how they feel—the next step is to love your family beyond what you think are the outer limits of your capability. They are not there for you to fix their lives. You are not there for them to fix your life. Everyone is in that family for one reason: to love and be loved.
You can’t control whether they love you. That’s up to them. What you can control is whether you love them and to what degree. Within a family, this is how you create your own good time. Because what is the one thing that is always guaranteed to feel good, as far as family is concerned? You just love them.
Why do you do this? Because that’s why we have families. We don’t have families so we can control them and they can control us and we can all get mired down in a broke-and-bulky mess together. We have families for exactly the same reason that I have my precious little dogs, Winston & Sheffield. These precious perpetual puppies of mine are here because it feels so good to love someone.
When do we feel horrible, as far as our families are concerned? When we haven’t been loving.
So the solution to all family guilt is this: everyone is responsible for their own good time, that’s step one, and step two: the only reason you’re here is for me to love you.
You will notice some amazing things happening when you just love everyone in your family without limits: one, you’ll feel amazing. It feels so good to just love everybody. Two, you will let go of all the stuff about what you should be doing and what you’re not doing, and what they should be doing and what they’re not doing, and what you said 10 years ago and what they didn’t do 20 years ago. And then, three, you start to experience some big shifts, because what happens then? Once you’re just loving your family and not trying to control them or placate them, you feel energized. You feel clear. You stop dragging your feet and worrying about how messed up things are in your family and what you’re going to have to do to fix it, and you start enjoying your family rather than complaining about them or fretting about them, and you just get on with living your life and serving your people and building your business. You also stop overeating and overdrinking out of frustration and anger and guilt, and you let the body that represents the true essence of you begin to emerge from beneath all the weight that’s accumulated when you were thinking your job was to fix everyone else.
What else happens? Slowly but surely, your family begins to change. Love spreads. It’s more contagious than anything. The change starts with you, and it infuses your entire family.
I want this for you, I want it for Elena. I want it for me, too. I want it for all of us. I also want to take some NyQuil and go to bed. Can you tell I have a terrible cold right now? I do, so what I want to leave you with this week is that if things are going awry with anyone in your life, your family members or anyone else, just remember that they are there for only one reason: for you to love them. If you just do that, you will feel so much better and it fixes everything.
I’ll close for today by saying that if you need some help with something that’s weighing you down, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, because it is my mission this year to help you get out from under everything that’s preventing you from having the amazing business, and the amazing body, that you want. Oh, and I also want to say that if you’re enjoying the podcast, don’t forget to leave a review in iTunes and send it to me. Kelly@richandthin.com, so you can be entered in the drawing on February 25 to win a DVD of A Star is Born. I know that movie is going to sweep the Academy Awards, and for every Oscar it receives I’m giving out a free DVD in a random drawing the next day. So please leave a review and email it to me, because I would love to send you a copy. And I also want to say I love having you as a listener. Thank you so much for being here, and I’ll look forward to talking with you next week.