How much resistance stands between you and getting thin?
Getting thin and staying thin is more than physical. You have to change the way you think and feel. Emotions and losing weight go together.
In a recent survey, psychologists named emotions as their clients’ “top obstacle” to slimming. Over one thousand licensed psychologists, also referred to emotional eating as well as food selection and lifestyle among the common challenges their clients faced. Find out more from the NHS Eat Well campaign.
Emotional eating is when you eat, especially comfort foods in response to feelings and emotion, and not out of being hungry. This is often to suppress or soothe negative emotions. And when we learn that food can give us control and comfort, it can become a habit.
What you think, you feel
What you feel, you do
What you do gives you what you have
So are you stopping yourself from losing weight?
Sometimes our issue is self worth – when we think we don’t deserve to be slim and happy. We may subconsciously punish ourselves, or we don’t want to upset others close to us by becoming thin or achieving our potential.
Sometimes negative self-talk stops us from taking the first step, or we may get so far and the negative self-talk catches up with us once we’ve lost some weight.
Many people understand the food or physical side – the meals, the snacks, the lifestyle. They get it and give it a shot. For many people it’s the psychological side that acts as an obstacle to getting thin.
Maybe it’s from childhood or early memories, abuse, neglect, bullying or depression. If we turned to food to soothe tough emotions then the cycle can take time to break.
Or it can be your self-image (your view of yourself as defined by Dr Maxwell Maltz), maybe being overweight is protective for you, a shield to hide behind or a reason not to achieve your potential. How do you define your life?
Maybe you used to be slim and hit a point in your life where you put weight on and for the first time in your life found that you could relate to people with weight problems. Maybe you had views about ‘being fat’ and now you don’t think you deserve to be slim.
Negative self-talk can be a way of dealing with stress and situations.
Be aware – try to identify the roots of your emotions, the triggers that affect you and the negative self-talk.
At the same time, build a picture of your ideal life in your mind. Experience it fully in vibrant color and sound. See yourself living how you want to be and having already achieved your health and weight loss goals. How do you feel?
As you become more aware, and build a picture of your new life, your self-talk will improve and you will find that less resistance stands between you and getting thin.
How to take control and get slim
Remember that it’s ok not to be perfect. Sometimes we get our strongest cravings for food when we hit a low emotional point. We may turn to food for comfort – knowingly or unknowingly.
Emotional triggers include:
lack of sleep
And can come from big life events or daily life. It can soon add up and lead to a cycle.
Here are tips to break the cycle:
Try to relax more, listen to music, get more sleep, have a massage, take a warm bath, focus on your breathing or try yoga or meditation.
Plan out your meals and snacks in advance so that you know when you have eaten and can spot when you are hungry or not. Plan healthy snacks, and these can just be a healthier version of your favourites.
Record your feelings – this will help you express and release your feelings, so you are not relying on food. You’ll also spot patterns over time.
Lean on friends, family or others with a shared goal.
Do something to banish boredom, go and see a movie, read, take up a new hobby, make new friends.
Shop once a week and don’t keep tons of supplies at home.
The 80/20 Rule
Remember small deviations are part of the journey, and not the end.
Be kind to yourself
Forgive yourself, be mindful – give space for your thoughts and feelings to come and go without judging them – just be aware. Don’t keep punishing yourself for past mistakes or events – move on.
Make self-care a priority, understand the difference between self-care and self-soothing. Self-care is looking after yourself, making sure you don’t burn out and taking care of your needs.
Self-soothing is an emotional approach to stress or other factors. Often we overdo the self-soothing side and neglect the self-care.
Make self-care a priority and think about what activities and options can bring harmony to you, on a physical and emotional level. Which healthy indulgences would bring balance to your life? For example, relaxation, massage, manicure, reading, visualizing your body as you want it to be, time with friends.
Anything to nourish your mind and your body in a holistic way will help you to side step the triggers that lead to eating out of an emotional need and reduce stress and anxiety at the same time.