You’re Doing Everything Right, Why Are You STILL Not Losing Those Pounds?
Written by: Michelle Wilson
So many of us struggle with maintaining or managing weight.
You torture yourself with the newest fad diet and end up feeling frustrated when you don’t achieve the results you want.
Why, when you are eating the “right” foods and exercising 5 times a week, are you still not losing weight? The answer to that is actually quite simple – you’re not likely acknowledging a key piece of the puzzle…
Emotional eating occurs when you eat but are not actually physically hungry. This can often result in binge-eating, extra weight gain and an unhealthy relationship with food.
People eat emotionally for a number of reasons. One: You’re trying to “numb” difficult feelings that you don’t want to deal with. Two: The cycle of dieting has brainwashed you into thinking that you need to punish yourself by restricting the very food you need to live. Three: Your life is unfulfilled in areas such as relationships, work, money, intimacy and spirituality, so you turn to food to “fill” you up. Four: You live in a society that uses food to celebrate, socialize and soothe.
So, how do you counteract emotional eating so that you gain a healthy relationship with food and lose those extra pounds?
1. Be Mindful: Mindful eating is one of the most important strategies anyone can use to heal emotional eating. It includes being aware of your body’s physical hunger cues, why you’re eating, what you’re eating and how you’re eating. Being mindful when eating means that you’re slowing down, checking in with your body before, during and after the meal to uncover the intention behind the eating. It’s invaluable in understanding your emotional eating because without this understanding, you’ll never stop the behavior.
2. Get In Touch With Your Emotions: This seems like such an easy and obvious concept but, for us emotional eaters, it is a bit more difficult than that. If you’ve been numbing your emotions with food for a while, identifying your true feelings becomes elusive. You don’t want to identify the feelings because they are too painful, so you “stuff” them down with food, thereby ignoring them altogether. Facing the discomfort of your true feelings is the only way to overcome emotional eating for good and I promise you that feeling your emotions is not as terrible as it sounds!
3. Tune In To The Non-Food Areas Of Your Life: Are you in a healthy relationship? Do you have conflicts with yourself or others that you haven’t faced? Are you living your life’s passion? Do you have what you truly desire? Are you making enough money to pay the bills and have fun? If the answers to these questions fall short and you tend to be an emotional eater, then chances are you’re using food to fill voids in these areas. Be brave and create a plan to make these areas shine brighter. You’ll be surprised by how actually living a fulfilled life will make food your secondary concern.
4. Drop The “Off Limits” Label You’ve Put On Certain Foods: Once you start depriving yourself of food (or anything else) what happens? You want it that much more! This is a mind game that chronic dieters play time and time again. It’s essentially a cycle of restricting, binging, feeling guilty and then starting it all over again. This cycle shreds self-esteem and body image and causes people to eat emotionally in order to escape these negative feelings. Additionally, food (and water) is one of two things that keeps you alive (the other is sex) and the restriction we inflict only serves to deprive us of the very thing we need to live. Of course, our bodies work and feel better if we choose to eat more nutritious foods, but those “off limits” foods can and should be enjoyed in moderation.
5. Bring The Joy Back Into Eating: Eating was designed to be a pleasurable and sensual experience. Society has come to label food as our enemy and, as a result, we all fear it. You can’t fear something you need and expect to have a healthy relationship with it. Enjoying food by eating slowly, tuning in to how your body feels before, during and after the meal and eating in a soothing environment can bring awareness to your eating that will help you lose weight and gain a healthy relationship with food. This is also very helpful to practice because our culture socializes and celebrates with food!
These strategies are not meant to work overnight, they are meant to be practiced. Perhaps this is why addressing emotional eating hasn’t been at the forefront of weight loss strategies. Each of these things serves to subtly shift your mindset when it comes to food and weight, which is the only way many of us have found to heal the issues we’ve been dealing with forever.
The great news is that you can free yourself from the struggle, torture and frustration of weight loss diets, binge-eating, chronic dieting and other eating issues. With just a bit of soul-searching, checking in with your body and fulfilling the non-eating areas of your life, eating can become the pleasurable, joyful experience it was meant to be.
Michelle Wilson is a Certified Emotional Eating Coach, a transformed binge eater herself and a writer. Michelle is committed to guiding others towards a healthy relationship with food and has combined her own personal experience and education to create a coaching approach that is K.I.N.D., holistic and engages the mind, body, heart and soul. Her mission is to help her clients in uncovering WHY we eat, in order to better understand destructive eating habits and provide the tools so that weight issues can be healed for good.
When she’s not writing, you can find her on the golf course, tennis court, yoga mat or beach towel.
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