Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Balloon of Cognitive Dissonance

There once was a time that you were on a quest to lose weight or to be a smaller size. You didn’t question your motivation to have a weight or size oriented goal. You simply believed that you would be happier with the numbers you had identified. Why would you question since everyone, everywhere seemed to have the same goal? Magazines & television were filled with diets, tricks and machines that supported your desire. It was just a fact of life, women want to lose weight & fat of any measure is undesirable no matter the cost to be rid of it.

But them something shifted.

Maybe you reached a weight on the scale or the dress size that you thought would be enough and found you still weren’t happy.

Maybe when 2lbs on the scale ruined your entire day you thought, “This just doesn’t make sence.”

Maybe you met a woman, who didn’t seem to care about her weight or size, was happy and enjoyed the nourishment of herbody, and realized a different way of being is possible.

Maybe after buying into more diets or machines than you’d like to admit, you decided, enough!

Welcome to the state of cognitive dissonance. A state of anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like.

In this case anxiety as a result of being able to understand the idea that weight and size doesn’t really matter but still hearing an internal voice that says that it does. Anxiety as a result of knowing that what is truly important is the functional health of your body and your overall sence of well being and yet still being unable to change behavoirs that reinforce the opposite of that knowing.

Upon first entering this state, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not a fun place to be. Your thoughts and behaviors are out of alignment with what you know deep down to be true and this causes you to feel anxious, hopeless, frustrated and maybe even angry. It was actually easier when you didn’t know any better, ignorance is bliss right? However, once you know you can’t un-know.

CONGRATULATIONS! As crappy as cognitive dissonance may feel- it is what I would argue the most essential step towards being able to accept yourself and your body and embrace a lifestyle of self love. I find myself telling woman all the time, how big of an achievement it is that they have reached this state. They often see themselves as being forever lost, but I see them as being one small step from being found.

Cognitive Dissonance is like a balloon. The more it is filled up with air, the bigger it gets. Stretched to its limit the latex is uncomfortable. However the more air that is added, a fact becomes inevitable. The balloon will pop.

In order to change, you don’t just have to know something is not right; you have to feel it- feel it in every cell of your body. Don's fight the feelings cognitive dissonance brings you. Don’t resist; rather embrace them, make them bigger, jump head first into them! Keep blowing more and more air into your balloon and eventually it will pop. The cognitive dissonance will fall away and you will move into a state of harmony between what you "know" and what you "think" and "do."
Your cognitive dissonace is a gift. I for one, am so glad that you have been brave enough to recieve it.


"Change starts when someone sees the next step.”

-William Drayton



If you or someone you know is interested in finding more about becoming a life coaching client of mine, please contact me at I am offering a special introductory rate for anyone who starts coaching with me in the next 3 months.


Fresh and Feisty said...

Thanks for this! I have totally been feeling like this and it is extremely crappy. Mostly because I feel like I am slipping backwards...not moving forwards. Your post gives me something else to think about.

Jenny B said...

This is awesome! I didn't know you had this blog. I've met you several times, and just found this on Nikki and John's new website. I'll post a link up on ours. Congrats on all of your accomplishments :)
Jenny-Crossfit West Chester

steph v. said...

@fresh&Fiesty- so glad to give a new perspective!!

@jenny- YAY!! glad you found me. See you arounf the CF block soon im sure!!

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