In my work as a Certified Mind-Body Nutrition Coach, the one aspect I see consistently amongst my clients is how their emotions impact their eating, and yet most times they are completely oblivious to it until I point it out to them.
When people approach me about working together, they almost always cite their lack of exercise and overeating as the reasons why they’re overweight, and it never ceases to amaze me how naïve they are about why they’re doing what they’re doing, or not doing.
Figuring out your core emotional drivers to your eating patterns and behaviors is absolutely essential to losing weight, and losing it for good. Without knowing how your brain is currently programmed or how to reprogram it will keep you stuck in the loop you’re in forever.
Here is the pattern I used to repeatedly sink into that might be familiar to you too:
1. Find a new diet and become convinced that this time was different!
2. Plan a day to begin, and charge out of the gate with intense drive and renewed enthusiasm (but refuse to tell anyone in case I fail).
3. Do GREAT for a week! Maybe two. Three at the most.
4. Crave chocolate.
5. Deny chocolate.
6. Pretend I was happy, knowing I was doing the right thing.
7. Crave more chocolate.
8. Restrict and look away.
9. Develop a complex about myself and my inability to control my cravings.
10. Feel miserable.
11. Continue to crave chocolate.
12. Justify reasons why it made sense to eat it.
13. Eek out the few remaining drops of willpower I could muster and deny myself once more.
14. GIVE IN!
BREAKING NEWS: Less than 1% of the population loses weight permanently by cutting calories, over-exercising, and having more willpower. ‘Nuff said.
(FYI even if they do, it doesn’t last long because none of their subconscious programming has been reprogrammed in order to prevent the behaviors that made them gain weight in the first place.)
My weight issues stemmed from the fact that I was using my weight to protect myself, not because I couldn’t control myself around food. No matter how much willpower I had, my subconscious mind won out every time because I was programmed to believe that being at my ideal weight wasn’t safe, so every time I lost weight, I gained it right back, usually within 1-3 months.
No amount of Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers was ever going to fix that. I had to work on my subconscious programming first, which is where all learning and change takes place, so that my new habits became my new subconscious.
For example, it was easy for me to down an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting, or a chocolate pie, or a pint of ice cream, because to my mind, the more weight I had on me, the safer I was from unwanted advances. I developed this belief as a teenager, and carried it with me well into my 40’s, until I realized I was doing it.
Once I did, I was able to change it, and now my mind understands that I can use my mind instead of my body to protect myself. I don’t need fat to tell someone that I don’t want to date them, or that I’m afraid to get close to them because they might hurt me, or that I’d rather be alone because I feel like a loser and I don’t want them to know it. I use my intellect instead to keep people away that I choose not to interact with for whatever reason.
Your mind is so powerful. It fills you with all kinds of unnecessary fear, which prevents you from getting the very things you want in life because of a limited belief system that was imprinted on you as a kid (based on other people’s fears) that still dictates the decisions you make today. One of my clients, Myrna, is a classic example of how this works. Until we started working together, she was in a reactive pattern with her mom when it came to food and she didn’t know it.
When she was a child, her mother was very restrictive with her and food, all in an effort to protect her, but it deprived Myrna of all the foods she longed for. Later on, as an adult, she unconsciously decided to rebel against her mother by eating anything she wanted, whenever she wanted, and wound up 60 pounds overweight.
Ultimately, the pattern she was in only ended up hurting Myrna and kept her from what she wanted more than anything in life, which was to settle down, get married and have kids, because she had no confidence dating. Her resentment toward her mom was what I call her Take Away Emotion, in that it took her away from her desires, and harmed her health and self-image at the same time.
In helping Myrna reprogram this pathway in her mind, she was easily able to let go of eating behaviors that weren’t serving her and in the process, drop the weight that was preventing her from having the confidence to get back in the dating world so that she could ultimately find the right man to marry.
Which she did, and lived happily ever after.
Every action begins with an emotion, including how and when you eat and why. If you overeat, there is an emotion and a chain of behaviors that lead you to overeat. In order to change your eating strategy you need to understand the emotion that triggers that strategy. Otherwise, you’ll never access that part of you that needs changing in order to manifest your goal weight for good.
To help clients do this, I offer a 1:1 Emotional Discovery Session that’s specifically designed to target your core emotional drivers and bring awareness to what’s behind your eating behaviors so that you can shift out of your negative patterns in a jiffy and get weight to start moving without 3 mile runs or 500-calorie diets. In other words, no more struggle.
To learn more and set up your session, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.