The Real Heart of Weight Loss

Many of us use food to "kill" uncomfortable feelings. Instead of eating to kill these feelings, we can learn to identify, experience and work them through. As we learn to manage our feelings, we change our relationship to food and to ourselves. We increase our self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-empowerment and often lose weight. Today I want to explore two very powerful emotions that many of us "eat to kill."

Disappointment
First we feel hope and/or expectation. Disappointment never occurs without one or the other. We may hope for or expect love, understanding, attention, recognition or affection. When these hopes or expectations are not realized, we feel powerful disappointment.

The reason the disappointment is so intense is that the things we hope for or expect are often significant to our well-being. We need them for emotional survival. But, sadly, many of us have lived our entire lives below the emotional poverty line. We hope that these wonderful gifts will arrive at the doorway of our hearts, but we live in constant disappointment -- it never quite happens.

Periodic disappointment is manageable. Chronic disappointment is overwhelming. So we eat to avoid the hollow, sinking feeling. We will eat anything to avoid its heart-wrenching effects.  To those of you who are chronically disappointed with life, love and yourselves, and eat to manage it, I offer the following advice.


Make a disappointment list. Write down every disappointment you can remember. Leave nothing out. As you read it, let yourself feel. Breathe deeply and feel. Cry if you need to.

Then, make an action list. What were the disappointments about? What did you hope for? Make a list of new hopes and/or expectations you are willing to do something about. The key here is positive action. If you need attention, affection, recognition, admit it and go do something about it. Do something constructive. Act!

Deprivation

A client once told me she felt deprived every time she ate. She explained it like this. "When I cook a meal, I worry about not having enough food, so I buy more than I actually need. When I serve my plate, I feel a panic that I wonít take enough, so I take too much. I end up eating much more than I want or need because I feel so afraid that I will feel deprived. Itís so crazy. We werenít poor growing up. We always had enough to eat, but I have these feelings every single meal. Whatís wrong with me? Why do I feel so deprived all the time?"

Examining the underlying causes of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions will help you on your journey.

Matthew Anderson, D.Min.

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