THE PROBLEM

Chapter 1.  

THE RIGHT WAY AND THE WRONG WAY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS 

"The American diet industry is definitely Big Business; catering to the 30 or 40 percent of the population who are overweight has become a multi-billion-dollar concern.…But it is because we try to overwhelm problems with technical and mechanical solutions that we guarantee the problems can never, ever disappear.…The problem of obesity in our society is…like trying to open a combination lock.…You’ve probably already turned one or two cylinders, but the lock still hasn’t opened.  That doesn’t mean you’re failed; it only means that you haven’t found the missing numbers.  This book will show them to you."

Chapter 2.  

MY OWN EXPERIENCE

“I could never see what it all meant before because I was looking at all the wrong facts, using all the wrong tools.  I had not yet started to ask the right questions.  The order of my life did not become clear to me until I was able to see it as inner experience.  When I saw it only as events that happened to me rather than as my constant reactions to them, I had no way to understand anything.  [What is important is] not the outer events of my life [but] the reactions to people and events that I repeated again and again under entirely different circumstances.”

Chapter 3.  

YOU ARE YOUR HABITS

“Dieting as it is usually done is like visiting a foreign country.  All the foods you say you like (are used to) you don’t get to eat; you make yourself stop your usual between-meal snacking; and you may even start up an exercise program at the same time.  All these new activities confuse your brain.  All the salads and meager scoops of cottage cheese stand out quite unappealingly.…the fact that the brain is processing this sensory overload does a strange thing to your sense of time:  it slows it down a great deal.  For an impatient person this maddeningly slow passage of time can be painful enough to justify giving it all up and sending out for a pizza.”

Chapter 4.  

BODYMIND

“We believe that the body and mind are two separate things with very different roles.  It’s not wrong of us to think this; clearly, my mind cannot eat breakfast nor my body do algebra.  But the difference is not the whole picture, either; the “body” and the “mind” actually represent two ends of a spectrum.…I use the term bodymind to refer to this hard-to-grasp thing:  our personal, ongoing biofeedback-based learning system.”

 

Chapter 5.  

CAN ANXIETY MAKE YOU FAT?

“If we boiled down all the internal obstacles to losing weight into one word, that word would be anxiety.  Anxiety, as both a personal trait and a response [to our culture], runs throughout an overeater’s life.  But can anxiety about your life cause you to get fat?  Yes.  Eating more than your body wants is a compulsive activity.  It’s something you wouldn’t do if you were in your right mind; you do it because you can’t help yourself.  The body is constantly trying to keep itself in the best equilibrium possible; if you constantly feel anxious and thereby keep on putting your body out of balance, it will arrange for you to have cravings that will redress that imbalance.  Strange as it may sound, compulsive eating and many other addictions are the body’s way of attempting to restore health under highly adverse conditions.”

Chapter 6.  

MESSAGES FROM YOUR BODY, 1:  THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF ANXIETY

“Anxiety is a state of body as well as of mind; it’s not just an emotion but a biochemical process as well.…If I seem to state that hormones or blood-sugar levels ‘cause’ emotions, I am only trying to correct the current view that emotions just ‘happen,’ with no connections to a person’s biology.  Always I mean to imply that it’s a circular process, with each biological event influencing a thought or feeling that influences another biological event, and so on.”

 

Chapter 7.  

RESISTANCE VERSUS GROWTH

“You are reading this book because you think you want to be different—very different—from what you are now, and you may be a little peeved to have me waste your time by dwelling on how strong are the forces that keep each of us the same throughout our lives.…This chapter is meant to be a long, hard look at the arguments on both sides:  the rewards of staying the same versus those of changing.  Many people fail over and over in their efforts to lose weight only because they never fully admitted that a big part of them resists change and wants things to stay the way they have always been.”

 

THE SOLUTION

Chapter 8.

 THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

“One of the most deep-seated illusions in all of Western culture is the belief that we can and should control our behavior by using will power.…As I’ve said before, if what we were already doing was working, we’d have no need for this chapter.  But it isn’t working; our problems aren’t getting solved.  We need a whole new mental outlook in order to discover what to do.…The amount of stress we feel is the direct result of how much we want things to come out the way we want.  Wanting results means wanting to control events.…All of us have both control-your-life and accept-what-you’ve-got traits, but it’s safe to say that compulsive people spend a lot of time trying to control and very little trying to accept.”

 

Chapter 9.  

YOUR OWN PERSONAL UNIVERSE

“So many people see obesity as a Problem that no one things to look at it as a problem—like a problem in geometry.  To “solve a problem” means only to use your mind to search for a solution that’s unknown right now; it does not mean to feel anxious or guilty.…Thus to solve the problem, the question of what to do is not as important as how to see.”

 

Chapter 10.

 LEARNING THROUGH AWARENESS

“Learning is not something that only our conscious mind does.  Since we are conscious only of our conscious mind, we believe that it does everything for us.  However, this is an illusion just as wrong as believing that the sun goes around the earth:  learning is done by the entire bodymind, the unconscious as well as the conscious.”

 

Chapter 11.

ANTI-STRESS EXERCISES

“The first step (a giant step, I know) is to learn to accept that everything in your life is—right now, anyway—a given.  It just is; there is no right or wrong about it.…Blaming oneself means being intensely dissatisfied with what is; but what is is all we have.”

 

Chapter 12.

SETTING INNER GOALS

“As opposed to what seems true, the conscious, ‘talking’ part of our mind does very little to help us achieve our goals; the creative part of us that seeks and reaches goals is the bodymind, or subconscious mind.  The conscious mind knows only how to talk and play commentator.  The talking self understands only the name of the goal (getting thin), not the goal itself (the experiences needed to make it happen).”

 

Chapter 13.  

MESSAGES FROM YOUR BODY, 2:  BALANCE AND IMBALANCE

“All the facts that dieters know about dieting are like beads dropped on the floor:  useless until strung together.  This chapter takes the ‘facts’ about losing weight and puts them into a structure…This chapter is trying not just to give you more information, but to show you what your knowledge means.”

 

Chapter 14.  

A NEW, HEALTHY BODY—FROM THE INSIDE OUT

“This chapter is the ‘nuts and bolts,’ the [detailed] instructions for what to do…As I said before, I believe that this book’s greatest value will be to help you see the whole; after you’ve done that, the rest of the instructions (anyone’s instructions) will be fairly simple to carry out.”

 

AFTERWORD:  WHAT ALL THIS MEANS FOR SOCIETY

“If the method that cured you was to improve the health of your body, increase your self-esteem, learn to get good feedback from your life, and keep that sense of joy with yourself, then that is what everyone else needs, too.…Most of our social and economic problems have one major source:  cleaning up the debris of a society that doesn’t pay enough attention to how people are feeling.…We have not set the right priorities—human needs first—and therefore have created a society that is not nourishing enough to its members, whatever their social position.…In a very basic sense, our society is a strange mixture of gluttony and starvation.”

 

© 2018 Nancy Lee Bryan - Thin is a State of Mind