So much has been written about weight loss that I’m a bit hesitant to go down this road – almost like “Don’t talk politics or religion during the holidays…”
But, despite the volumes written on the subject I have found little information that addresses the emotional root of the issues facing those wishing to shed pounds and keep them off.
If you approach the role of emotions in weight loss from a little deeper perspective, not only can you lose the weight, but you transform other aspects of your life which leads to being more empowered overall. You can be more successful in losing and keeping the weight off as a part of a deeper transformation.
Issue 1: Your Feelings Play a Major Role in Your Weight and Size!
Astounding thought, isn’t it? Often, when feelings are there influencing our choices we don’t even recognize them. And feelings govern more of our choices than you’d think! We’re constantly told, “It’s our thoughts,” but the mind is only an interpreter of emotional and energetic impulses from the subconscious.
I assert, that for most people with chronic weight issues their physical weight has something to do with creating physical boundaries with others. Yes, your increased size is a way to artificially keep others at a distance! This happens because a person feels uncomfortable claiming clear, spoken boundaries with others. In an attempt to claim their boundaries, most people feel like they might hurt another person’s feelings or offend someone. Usually, these feelings occur with very little awareness of them. This impulse not to hurt someone’s feelings can be very debilitating and keep you from the need to define your own safe space.
The first step in claiming these boundaries is to be able to identify your authentic needs in a given situation. In order to know what your needs are, you must be able to identify your feelings honestly for yourself. In order to be emotionally connected to yourself, it takes willingness and courage, and it takes a decision - a decision to make yourself a priority in your life. But without access to what you are feeling, your needs will seem distant, illusive and can go painfully unmet throughout an entire lifetime! If you are a parent, I can understand the challenge this seems to pose. But by not doing this for yourself, you can inadvertently pass this emotional trait along to your children.
Try it out. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Answer with authentic needs such as: I need rest. I need to be allowed to be by myself. I need someone to listen to me without interrupting or giving advice. To help you find your authentic needs, say your feelings to yourself (out loud is preferable) as I encouraged in my previous post. Once you identify your feelings, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling the way I am?” Then, you can discover your needs more easily.
Ironically, because many people with chronic weight issues are so focused on the needs of others, it is hard for them to turn their focus on themselves in order to identify a single feeling. Then, they tend to numb out. Food becomes part of the numbing-out process. Eating also becomes the replacement for those unmet needs that have long been ignored.
In the moment, food takes on less healthy roles. The person uses the food to try to feel better, by numbing out or escaping from their own feelings or from feeling the needs of others. They also use food to maintain the physical and energetic boundaries from others.
For those of you who have a harder time identifying feelings, don’t be discouraged. Many people simply lack practice. So, if you are able to say just one feeling, then that is a win. Believe me; I’ve worked with many people for whom at the beginning of their path, identifying a single feeling was a challenge. Some folks may also tend to beat themselves up for this – sink in on themselves – another reason to reach for food. As a way to nurture yourself through this, remember the great Buddha quote, “Compassion is incomplete if it does not include yourself.” Learning to love yourself is the greater goal here. So, while you are moving towards feeling healthier and less burdened by excess weight, remember the ultimate goal is to like and love yourself more and more…
In these ongoing posts, I will continue to address the role of emotions in personal transformation.