“If there is a struggle on the inside, there’s always a struggle on the outside.” ~Fabienne Frederickson.
Emotional eating has little to do with food – food is nothing more than a portal for the feelings/emotions that you are attempting to avoid. Behind emotional eating lies days, weeks, months, and sometimes years of avoidance of dealing with issues that consciously and subconsciously have caused tremendous distress in your life. Therefore, dieting alone is not the answer. Making better food choices, while important, is also not the answer. Exercising on a regular basis, while very important, is also not the answer. Then what is? How does one break this cycle and stop using food as a tool for stress management?
Well, it’s not easy but it’s also not impossible. It’s about changing your perceptions of yourself, your environment and your reality in general – for me, this all comes down to a few important elements: Mindset, Awareness/Skill Building and Implementation.
In my experience, I have found that mindset is the key to behavior change, period. If you don’t change your mindset, you can’t make permanent changes in behavior. Attempting to change behavior without working on your mindset will likely lead to short-term, temporary changes that will eventually lead you right back to your old behaviors. I believe this is why many people do not have long-term success with diet and exercise programs – they follow an eating/exercise plan and it works for a little while. But often times, it’s not sustainable because their mindset around eating and exercise has not changed. Then the cycle of failure, frustration and despair sets in which results in falling back into your old habits of eating more and more to avoid these feelings and soothe the distress over another “perceived” failure. The reality is, the diet didn’t fail and neither did you. The problem lies in the fact that there is still some unresolved “gunk” on the inside that needs to be cleared out and until that is done, the cycle will continue.
When you are an emotional eater, food becomes your main coping skill for all areas of your life. When eliminating the use of food as a coping mechanism, you need to learn skills that will replace food with positive, healthier coping strategies. If you don’t put the effort into replacing food with positive strategies, you will eventually resume your old habits as you have no other effective way of coping.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Without implementation, you are bound to keep repeating the same behaviors over and over again in an endless cycle. You can work on mindset, gain awareness and learn new skills however if you don’t implement, meaning “walk your talk,” you won’t see lasting results. It is necessary to take all that you have learned and create a customized lifestyle plan that works for you. This is not a plan that will work for your sister, friend, mom, co-worker, or neighbor. This is a plan that will work only for you as it is based on your work and the things that you have learned about yourself.
Can you do this alone? Maybe? But if you could, then why haven’t you done it yet?
It is my experience that most people require support, guidance and accountability when making major life changes. I know I sure have and I still do. I resisted the need for “help” for many years until I realized not only is it okay to ask for help, it is necessary to achieve my goals. It is not a sign of weakness, in fact, I believe it is a sign of strength. It takes a very strong person to know that they can’t do it alone.
I also know that there are specific steps that one needs to take in order to master the key elements outlined above. There is a lot of work that goes behind making cognitive and behavioral changes and it generally takes the support of a professional to move forward and see results.
What benefits will you see from working on these issues?
- Lose weight – this isn’t a diet plan however weight loss is generally a “side benefit.”
- End cravings and binges.
- Increase your energy.
- Look forward to “bathing suit” season.
- No longer will “weight loss” be your New Year’s resolution!
- Shift your mindset around food and what purpose it serves.
- Enjoy the freedom of eating to live rather than living to eat.
- Learn to enjoy food without feeling guilt, shame or embarrassment over your eating habits.
- Increase your confidence.
- Own your brilliance – love who you are on the inside and out.
- Own the room when you walk into it – no longer will you feel self-conscious about how you look or are being perceived by others.
- Dress for success (and fun )! Wear those cute clothes you only wished you could wear – now you will pull them off and turn heads!
- Pursue those professional opportunities that you have put on the back burner until you “lose the weight.”
- Have the confidence to speak at networking and marketing events.
- Run towards the camera not away from it!
- Post your pictures/videos on your website and Facebook with confidence and pride.
- Look forward to social events and enjoy socializing and meeting new people.
- Flirt with someone knowing that they will flirt back. 😉
- Have the confidence to pursue the intimate relationship you have been longing for.
- Achieve a balanced life full of joy and abundance.
- Feel your emotions again without fear of losing control.
- Enjoy exercise and actually look forward to it!
- Feel “in control” of yourself and your behavior.
- Be a role model to your family and friends.
- Know that you can do it and so much more!
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