Here is the dilemma: you’ve followed plans in the past and gotten all Machiavelli on yourself. You’ve let the whip cracking Relentless Critic rule your eating and it made your life a living hell. Part of you realizes that an eating plan would help you to lose the weight you want and yet, heck if you’re going to let that  #$%^&!! Critic back at the helm! Not in this lifetime.

This time, you rationalize, you’ve signed on for a gentler, more compassionate and consequently more sustainable approach. Thus it’s natural for you to reflect on your history, associate plans with the Critic, and say no way to the idea of a new plan.

Yet, just because this line of thinking is understandable, doesn’t mean it’s true and helpful guidance. In these moments, it’s helpful to remember where the resistance is coming from. It’s the child who doesn’t want to commit and be hemmed in by rules. Just because you were rigid in the past and let the Critic call the shots doesn’t mean that you have to make that choice again with a new plan. There’s another way.

Expecting the past to repeat itself is a classic ego argument that keeps you stuck. The ego uses past suffering to instill the fear-based notion that the past is a reliable predictor of the future. It’s not. This is the same Child voice that argues: whenever I blow my plan early in the day, I’m on a path of no return. I might as well throw in the towel for the rest of the day. What other Childisms can you think of that leave you feeling doomed or not important enough to care about?

Instead of rolling over for the Child, take the belief that planning = rigidity to inquiry and see what happens. Is it true that planning means that you have to be rigid and harsh with yourself? Is it possible for plans to be more moderate and balanced? Do all plans have to be extreme? Can you be tender and gentle with yourself and still plan?

Ask yourself what you are afraid of. Ask: what is this resistance about? What are the beliefs I’m carrying about this? The resistance is there for a reason. It has something to teach you and is coming up to be cleared. But in order for that to happen you have to do a little reconnaissance work. Find out which beliefs are holding the resistance in place. Once you’ve questioned and debunked those beliefs, you will likely find that it’s easier to commit to a plan, if that’s what you want to do.

But this new plan will be of a very different sort. It will be a loving, supportive plan that you commit to right along with your intention to honor and be compassionate with yourself. Keep in mind that by following such a plan and following it in this way, you will be embarking on uncharted waters. For this reason I recommend that after your inquiry work, you ask for help to support you in choosing and following this more conscious, Essence based plan. Here are the criteria:

  1. The plan is reasonable, balanced, and healthy. No extremes or crash dieting allowed. Preferably it will align with the way you will be eating for the rest of your life.
  2. You will make a firm commitment. No wishy washies allowed. You are either on board or you’re not. The wishie-washies are a sign that you’re not ready to commit and are still aligned with the Child. There is no shame in this. For the moment, recognize that this is just how it is right now. Everything happens in its own time. You will know when you are ready. In the meantime, take any beliefs that you find underlying your reluctance to commit to inquiry.

Finally, if you backslide and go off your plan, be gentle with yourself. Backsliding is natural and nothing to brow beat yourself about. This is a new way of being with yourself that fortifies rather than demolishes your self-esteem. Simply see the backslide as an opportunity to practice being loving and kind to yourself and recommit to your plan.