Unsticking Your Weight with the ACT Matrix

Learning weight watching that works!

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The Unsticking Your Weight Matrix

Notice your five senses at the top, and
your behaviors are also listed above the horizontal line.

Notice your mind at the bottom...
The thoughts and feelings that help motivate you to move toward or away are below the horizontal line.

Toward behaviors are the things you do to move toward who and what's important to you. 

Away behaviors reduce or get rid of yucky feelings like fear, pain and despair.

Eating can be either a Toward or an Away move. It can even be a bit of both at the same time.


"Be Skinny and Sexy"

The first problem that gets you stuck is that every day you are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of what can be called "be skinny and sexy" ads.

These ads are designed to influence you to buy stuff like food and weight loss programs. Sometimes you buy to move toward who's important to you, and sometimes you buy to move away from yucky feelings.


I Googled "skinny and sexy"

and got this image.

If you are watching your weight, what shows up inside of you when you see this picture?

See the matrix above. The "skinny and sexy" picture comes in through your five senses (sight), and then ends up in your mind. In an instant you compare your self image with the picture.

Then you have one of these two types of feelings:

  1. An Away feeling is yucky, you want to get rid of it.
  2. A Toward feeling is one that you want more of.

Thus, this image "leans" you Toward or Away.

She's too skinny for a neutral response. The image helps get you stuck.

You Should Eat!

The second sticky problem is that you get hundreds (maybe thousands) of "You should to eat" messages every day.

Again, either an Away or a Toward feeling shows up in your mind...

And then you eat to get rid of the Away feeling or you eat to have more of the Toward feeling.

Either way you are stuck with eating.

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I googled "Eat Food"

and got this image. She looks slim to me, and she has one heck of a meal! 

What's happening in our minds is that the model's slender looks are being related to a big meal. Slender and Big Meal are now related, and that gets you more stuck.

The picture tells you that being slim and having a lot of food go together.


I googled "Skinny and Eat"

and got this image. Again, a lot of food is being related to slender.

Being told you can eat a lot and be skinny at the same time must be one of the cruelest things the advertising industry has ever done to the human race.


Next come the "articles"

In one way or another, the articles about being a healthy weight and eating the "right" foods come down to saying...

"You are weak." If you would just eat right and exercise, you would be skinny, sexy and more." In the matrix I've shortened this to "You're Weak" messages coming in the five senses.

You might defend yourself and think, "I'm not weak." Good luck with that. The more you think, "I'm not weak" the more you think "I'm weak." That will really get you stuck.

I've also listed, "I'm lazy" and "I'm stupid," and there are lots more. What are your thoughts?

When you have such thoughts you seek comfort. Let's see... You can (according to the articles) Eat, Not Eat, or Exercise. Just lovely.


Ads and articles are constant and have their "You Need to Be Healthy" effect on us...

I "started" this sequence with "I need to be healthy" in the lower right of the matrix.

Eventually you get on a scale or see yourself in a mirror. I put those behaviors in the upper right as a healthy toward moves.

The information from the scale or mirror ends up in your mind and gets compared to the pictures of skinny models. This comparison conjurs up stuff like "I'm fat", I'm a failure, I'm ugly, and I'm hungry!"

This leads to despair...Which is very yucky!

You seek comfort...

and you Eat, Don't Eat, or Exercise.

You Need to Eat to Survive...

so guess which one of the "Eat, Don't Eat, Exercise" choices wins a lot of the time?

Eat often wins inside of me.

Supercharged Eating!

"Skinny and Sexy" ads are here to stay. So are the "exercise and be healthy" articles. And the "you're weak" articles will keep rolling off of the assembly line. They all make money for some industry.

Your natural hunger to survive is going to combine with unnatural hunger from the media and you (and the rest of us) have supercharged eating!


The trick is learning "workable" eating.

The matrix diagram you've been looking at is based on the "Workability" model. That means you learn through experience what works to get you where you want to go in life.

That's different from all of those articles that TELL you what you SHOULD do. Using the workability model you learn through experience what eating and weight combination works for you. You become the master, not all of those experts from the ads and articles in the media.

So you eat, and then gently notice if that eating worked to get you toward where you want to go in life. If you truly need to weigh less, then that's what you will learn. If you need to weigh more, then that's what you will learn. Same with maintaining weight.

This is a long-term project. Over time you will get on scales and look into mirrors. If you are honest with the feedback (your mind does not bullshit you), then you will know if your eating is working. 

Keep at it until a weight that works for you shows up. You probably already know about what that weight is, and your doctor will also tell you.

Not Eating and Exercise

Of course you may respond with not eating or exercise.

A combination of Eating, Not Eating and Exercise IS going to happen.

Sometimes eating, not eating or exercise will be to move away from yucky feelings. Like when you eat comfort food.

Sometimes eating, not eating or exercise will be to move toward who and what's important to you.

If you keep asking, "Is this eating, not eating or exericse working for me?" Over time (a few weeks and months) you will learn what works.

You will notice and learn the eating, exercise and the weight that works for you.

Note: Consulting with your health care professional about your overall health and weight is advised.

Be gentle with yourself when it comes to this weight and eating stuff. The media is cruel, but that doesn't mean you need be cruel. 

If you notice your mind being cruel, say something like, "Thank you, mind." and then get back to learning what works.

Listen to Dr. Polk's Recording of "Getting Unstuck from Supercharged Eating" that goes with this page.

About Kevin Polk, Ph.D.

Kevin has over 28 years experience getting people unstuck and finding workable solutions. He trains individuals and workgroups how to almost instantly let go of what’s holding them back and then move toward their maximum potential. He also does “train the trainer” trainings in advanced motivational techniques for businesses, schools, hospitals and more. He's the principle developer of the ACT Matrix diagram for rapidly increasing psychological flexibility and safety in essentially any setting.