Because I work with many remarkable people dealing with the challenge of weight loss, I frequently get asked this question, “I want to lose weight more than anything, so why am I always choosing things that are inconsistent with weight loss?” I asked that question myself for decades.
Overeating, eating when we’re experiencing any feeling we don’t like, boredom, sadness , anger etc., or eating things that don’t support weight loss, comes from trying not to deal with, or cover over, our painful emotions. It’s the very thing that guarantees those feelings will stick around. When we allow ourselves to feel them and not judge them, they will go, and so will the need to compulsively eat.
We all experience painful or unpleasant emotions from time to time. It’s part of being human. I’ll be the first one to tell you, accepting painful emotions is not the most fun thing and sometimes it’s not easy, but it has a big pay off, FREEDOM. There’s a relief from the pull or control of negative emotions.
It’s helpful to be kind and gentle with yourself while you’re experiencing a painful feeling. Here are some examples, think of a comforting thought, recall a pleasant memory, read a favorite book, go for a walk or have a cup of tea.
Here’s what I’ve learned, the more we spend time doing what we love, the less important food becomes”. When we are doing things that make us happy, food is frequently the last thing on our minds.
The opposite is also true.
So what’s the answer to why we eat when we want to lose weight or adopt healthier habits? We are avoiding feeling painful, unwanted or unpleasant feelings. We are stronger than these negative feelings, and so it is possible to enjoy a healthy life and a sensible weight, but we must choose or the feelings we wish to avoid will remain.
With love, Jackie
P. S. The same is true for any other addiction. Remember that an addiction is much more than just drugs or alcohol. It’s anything we can’t stop doing or over doing.