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diphthong 01-31-2004 08:41 PM

Dr. Phil, Let's Start From The Beginning (again!) Chapter 4 - Key 1 Right Thinking
Link to Chapter 3 Discussion


Let 'er rip! ;)


Summerlover 01-31-2004 10:39 PM

I have so much to say about this chapter, I could quote nearly every line. So as not to bore you, I will try to make my reply as concise as possible.

I have an Internal Weight Locus of Control. It goes along with being a "child of an alcoholic," co-dependent, feeling responsible for EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE, being a perfectionist...which leads to "all or nothing" thinking, and have a huge fear of failure. I internalize everything, dwell on my mistakes and imperfections, and have a negative internal dialogue.

When I was a kid, I was tall and thin. I was a "girly girl." I was NOT athletic. I had a touch of scoliosis, and my right leg was/is about an inch longer than the left. Because of this I was rather clumsy, tripping on my own feet, and walked with a slight limp. Otherwise, I looked "normal," but it was clear to the other kids and my gym teachers that I wasn't very talented physically. I was the last picked for any team. I was taunted by the neighborhood tomboy. Hide and seek and Tag were daily games that I lost. I NEVER REALLY TRUSTED MY BODY to do what I needed it to do. I would be running the bases and trip making an idiot of myself. Or I would get really injured. I can't count how many times I've sprained an ankle because I landed on it the wrong way or dislocated a kneecap for the same reason. I was known as a klutz. I did take dance lessons and did very well, but the gymnastics that accompanied it seemed impossible. Even back then, if I didn't succeed at something right off the bat, I would quit. It was too embarrassing to fail over and over again. I never learned how to dive even though I was (and still am) a strong swimmer. I tried, and had trouble. I couldn't stand the kids watching me, waiting for me to fail yet again. I couldn't handle another public failure, so I quit trying to learn how to dive. I could ice skate, but roller skating was harder for me. Basically, whatever I did well right away, I continued. Otherwise, I would quit. Luckily, I was smart and got good grades. I was a good actress and singer, so I performed in every school show from grade school right up through high school. Those "drama" and "artsy" kids were more accepting of me and appreciated my sense of humor and talent.

As an adult, I do well with low-impact aerobics, probably because I did well with dancing as a child. But other physical activities intimidate me to this day. I have a really warped vision of my body. I put myself down with negative self talk when I see other women who are athletic. I feel like a failure, so I just avoid all sports activities including being a spectator.

Another problem I have is that I've failed at weight loss attempts so many times that I don't trust myself to stick with it. In the past if I would cheat, I would throw in the towel and binge. That half-day binge would turn into a couple of days, then the weekend (I'll begin again on Monday.)

When I was 12, I began puberty and my body began to "develop." I had full-blown breasts, my period, and some weight gain for the first time in my life. All my friends were petite late-bloomers. My mother and sister were on Weight Watchers at the time. I remember saying that I should go on WW as well. They laughed at me and told me I would never be able to do it. I was so mad that I did the diet (it was a lot harder back then!) and lost the weight. I proved them wrong, but I never forgot how awful I felt when they said that I couldn't do it. As a junior high and high school student, I was very tall, slim, and had a C cup bra. I look back at pictures, and damn, I looked really good. But, all my petite size 3 friends made me feel like an amazon. I thought I was fat. Talk about warped body image. It is amazing to me that I never became anorexic or bullimic.

So now, at 39, 70 lbs. overweight, I look back and can see where all of the negative self talk began. I have a lot of work to do to undo all of it.

I pray you ladies can help me. I really want to be slim again.


Jo_Pointer 02-01-2004 06:00 AM

Oh, Summer, thank you for your honest and touching message! I wish I could give you a hug! :grouphug:

I'm an adult child of alcoholics too, so I bet I know a lot of what you feel and tell yourself. Even though I feel like I've "dealt with" most of the crap that goes with being an ACOA I know my internal dialogue is a direct result of being brought up in a chaotic, dysfunctional, alcoholic household.

I have read and re-read this key, and feel really good about the work I've done so far on it, but this is going to be a long journey for me. (For my original post on Key #1, please click here.)


I pray you ladies can help me. I really want to be slim again.
We are all in this together to help one another--I have no doubt we will get there!

Jo :wave:

The quality of my life is entirely in my hands.

Summerlover 02-01-2004 06:36 PM

Jo, I will accept that hug and send one right back at ya!

Thanks, Summer

diphthong 02-01-2004 08:55 PM


So now, at 39, 70 lbs. overweight, I look back and can see where all of the negative self talk began. I have a lot of work to do to undo all of it.
Summer, that's half the battle right there. Hugs for both of you for "naming it to claim it. And "you cannot change what you do not acknowledge." Doing this in a public forum is hard, I know, but I personally think it's important to put it out there.

Although I have no idea what it possibly can be like to be a ACOA, I did attend Al-Anon last year because a family member's drinking was out of control. There I was, 50 years old thinking I heard and seen just about everything. My problem was miniscule in comparison to some of those folks who themselves were ACOA. The experience changed me, no doubt about it.

The first time I read Key 1, I highlighted in yellow. This time I am highlighting in pink, and again, missed alot. I thought the first time around, I already had this key down, and in a way I did. But going through this again, I'm seeing into myself a little deeper, as well as recognizing things in other people, giving me a broader understanding and empathy. It's also made me take a closer look at the 'excuses' I fed myself for almost 30 years for my obesity.

I hope to have more later, maybe in a few days. This is a chapter that requires much thought and rationalization.

More Hugs,


Georgia0124 02-02-2004 10:15 AM

Hello! I'm new here but I just wanted you to know that I woke up exhausted from a night of crying about my weight and comparing myself to my tiny size 4 sister. I was on the vergo of throwing in the towl and found this website and saw your signature and it really made me feel better and made me want to keep on going-- I have copied it down and put it over my computer. Exactly what I needed to read and exactly when I needed to read it. Just wanted to let you know! :) Thanks!
Brandi from Georgia

kim150 02-02-2004 01:27 PM

i am so glad i found this thread. i was a 3fc user a year ago, but so much concentration on my wt problem made me MORE FRANTIC and more obsessed w/ food. i recently came off phentermine, a rx diet drug, and i put all that lost wt on, plus!! i started dr. p's book two weeks ago. what a huge change he has made in my life! i read the book twice, and it is hilited, tabbed w/ file folder labels, and marked with post its. i am near my heaviest, and i no longer have access to rx diet drugs, so i was really overwhelmed by the scale's 179 reading. I am only able to cope because Dr P is so RIGHT ON with his analysis, and then he follows up with action plans that really work. i will post later to specifically address ch 4/key 1....just wanted to say thanx!

Bedford19 02-02-2004 05:39 PM

I am so glad that I bought this book. If nothing else, it is starting to make me really take a closer look into my own life. After reading this chapter, I am starting to understand just how far back my feelings of negativity go.

My parents both have children from previous marriages, and growing up, my mom's two kids resented me and my fathers two left home when i was young. By the time I hit ten years old I was already feeling like everyone that i loved didnt want to be around me. I always knew that when I hit puberty that I started to gain weight, but now I am understanding why. I turned to food to fill that void. As I went through my teen years, I ended up with a guy that i thought was wonderful, but in reality, he was there putting me down in so many ways, making myself feel worthless.

A friend of mine, now my husband, finally convinced me that this was not a healthy relationship and I ended it. My future husband and I got together shortly after that, but we were only together a short while.

I ended up learning how to be independent for the very first time at age 26. That summer, when my he and I broke up, I was finally able to put my life together again. We got back together and my friend became my husband this past July.

He loves me for me, and tells me all the time that I dont need to lose weight. But I need to do this for me. I need to put the past where it belongs and I need to learn to stop blaming myself for the feelings of others.

My sisters dont know what they are missing by not having me in their life. I think I am a good person, and its about time I did something to make me feel better.

I have promised myself to exercise at least 3 times a week and to change my eating habits. So far, its only been a week, but I have lost 2 lbs, so i am encouraged. I cant wait to see what the rest of the book has in store.

Summerlover 02-02-2004 09:41 PM

WOW! Isn't Dr. Phil the BEST?!

Dip, thank you.

Brandi, I'm glad I could help. Stick around, Dip is awesome!

Kim, well if I ever wanted to try diet pills, you've convinced me that it would be a huge mistake. I'm glad you have found us and Dr. Phil.

Bedford, isn't it amazing how much one's childhood really affects how we cope with life? I guess all of us who are using food as a drug have a lot of baggage to deal with. Let me tell you, my first time I read Dr. Phil, when I read the chapter on Healing Feelings, I came face to face with some really dark things in my past. I wept for hours. I ended up feeling a lot better. When I read it again, I wonder if I will discover more that needs to be healed. Either way, Dr. Phil has been just what the doctor ordered for me.

Robyn, where are you?!


Georgia0124 02-03-2004 07:34 PM

Man this book is hitting home with me in sooo many ways!! Even beyond weight loss-- for instance I am now seeing that I have such a tendency to do a lot of "All or Nothing" thinking and I also do a lot of turning small defeats or disappointments into catastrophes. The best advice I have taken from this book regarding weight loss is the idea that I don't have to lose all of this weight Tomorrow, kwim? I always get on a kick and then when I don't see results right away I get disappointed and think it's not working but I feel an odd sense of peace this time. I also so a quote on Oprah.com that really hit the nail on the head: "Get great at the wait-- Perseverance separates the winners from the whiners." Amen to that! That's exactly how I feel-- I just need to stick it out day after day, follow my program and be patient.

I have currently been doing WW on my own and as of my weigh-in day (Sunday) I hadn't lost any weight (but I got on this morning and was down 2lbs!! :)) I am committing to doing at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday (either Tae Bo or a cardio machine at the Y), drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily, taking the slew of vitamins Dr. Phil talks about in his book, and last but not least doing something everyday to work on my appearance that is not weight related. That is really important to me because I get so caught up in thinking that it's all about my weight but I have an overall problem with my appearance, self-image and confidence that I can do things about by taking better care of my self and I don't have to wait until I'm a size 6 or 8 to do so, right?? :) So there it is folks, I've made this promise to myself and put it in a public forum! Thanks for letting me come here and ramble. Glad to be a part of this great group!

Summerlover 02-03-2004 10:13 PM

Georgia, reading your posting was like looking in a mirror. Wow.


diphthong 02-04-2004 07:09 AM

Georgia/Brandi said, "The best advice I have taken from this book regarding weight loss is the idea that I don't have to lose all of this weight Tomorrow, kwim? I always get on a kick and then when I don't see results right away I get disappointed and think it's not working but I feel an odd sense of peace this time."

Bless your heart! Aren't we all so into the "instant gratification" thing on just about everything we do? Here's an analogy - The one thing as women that we want right away and have no control of is pregnancy and creating a life. When we find out we're pregnant, we want that baby in our arms here and now. But we have to wait 9 months. We have no choice in the matter. We commit to taking care of ourselves and being as healthy as we can for baby's sake, all along thinking and dreaming of little else but that baby.

So how about we all make a commitment to ourselves and each other, for the next 9 months to reshape our lives, our inner-selves, and our bodies? Let's dedicate our thoughts and imaginations to ourselves as a project in the works. Let's take time, even if 5 minutes each day, to clear our minds of everything but imagining what our lives and health can be like 9 months from now. And how we will create that new life by using the 7 keys honestly and diligently.

The reason I say that is because I never would have believed 9 months ago, that applying and enforcing new habits in my life like this would automatically become a way of life. It's true. Everything is so automatic now, that I can't imagine ever going back to the way I was, or thinking the things I did about myself. If you watch Dr. Phil's Show, at this point, the Challengers are saying the same thing too. It takes conscious effort, and at times it's hard, but persistence and patience will get you there, I promise.

For those of you who have children, remember back to your first, how you felt like "you've always been a mother" and how "how did I ever have a life before this baby." Try making yourself "the baby."


Summerlover 02-04-2004 08:43 PM

That is certainly a new way of looking at it. I am the QUEEN of instant gratification! When I have to work at something over a long term before I get what I want, I always wish I could sleep through it and be woken up when it is over.

I will give your suggestion a try.


skjolden 02-05-2004 02:45 AM

I think I have to read Dr. Phil again
I thought I didn't like the book, but your comments on it are so thought provoking and just downright challenging that I'm going to read it again.
I was thin until puberty also. I never really thought about it before, but my Mom started working and I got braces and zits and a gang of kids were beating me up after school every day and suddenly I'd gained a lot of weight. Also, I had my full height by the time I was twelve and probably just couldn't eat as much anymore. Another factor was that I started having seizures that year (just at night but I'd wake up with my memory wiped and I had to go on an anti-seizure medication, which I still take today. I don't have seizures anymore, but I don't think the meds exactly help with my weight problem). Still I only weighed about 140 through high school (I'm 5'5"). I always wanted to lose 10 pounds, but never stuck with a diet long enough to actually do so. I had ups and downs for years (worked at a dude ranch and got very thin, had several children which fluffed me back up) and my weight always seemed to come back to about 140. Then my third child developed leukemia and suddenly I was 200 pounds. Yikes. (BTW, he is fine now and has been in remission for 14 years but I seem to still be carrying the weight :o ).
I loved the idea of thinking of changing our bodies as one would think of having a pregnancy. To be pregnant with health or hope... very cool thought.
I've often wondered about the connection between having a genetic tendency toward alcoholism and overeating. Both of my Grandfathers were alcoholics. My folks drank very little, nor were they overweight, but my Mom had an anxiety disorder (can't help wondering if her father did too, and that's why he drank?) and my Dad was very obsessive/compulsive.
Anyway, I'm rambling.

diphthong 02-05-2004 06:48 AM

Skjolden, I personally have found food to be an addiction, and use it to self-medicate in negative emotional situations. But I didn't realize that I was doing this until I read the book, and actually caught myself doing it. I caught myself because I was aware of it when I hadn't been consciously aware of it previously. Not only have I curbed doing it, but since relieving myself of the negative emotions by practicing Key #2, the negative emotions are few and far between now. I'll describe the experience in more detail when we get to Key 2.

It was ironic that BEFORE the book came out, I was practicing Keys 3-7 just from educating myself about nutrition and behaviors. But it was Keys 1 & 2 that kicked my butt and pulled it all together. I am 51 and I can't believe how good it feels to finally feel like I am in control of myself. And the control doesn't apply just to food, but other negative behaviors I've used for comfort such as shopping. As this journey progresses, I have a growing desire to clean up other behaviors as well as to live life to the fullest.

I believe from experience and observation that addictions do run in families. But some times it's not always apparent which are addicitons, and which are learned behavior. I did a "family tree" diagram starting with my mother's parents down to my nieces, nephews and cousins. Both of my mother's parents were alcoholics (as a kid I had no clue-back in those days it wasn't necessarily socially unacceptable) my mother and her sister were not, but their 3 younger brothers were serious alcoholics before age 20. And the same for their sons, and my aunt's sons, and my brother, and my 4 nephews. The girls in the family weren't effected as badly as the males, but were obese or had an another kind of eating disorder. It was an enlightening and interesting study, however, as Dr. Phil says, it is NOT external forces, such as genetics doing this to us, it is us doing it to ourselves, or ourselves allowing it to happen. See page 61, second paragraph where it starts with "Advice: . . . . ."

Yesterday, I picked up the book to reread the chapter, and stopped dead in my tracks because I noticed something I hadn't previously. The name of the chapter is Key One: Right Thinking - Unlock the Door to Self Control. I hadn't noticed Unlock the Door to Self Control before and I just sat back in my chair and had to think about that for awhile - Self Control. What a concept. My brain guides my hand.


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