Are you angry with yourself for being fat? If you are, you’re not alone. Many people struggling with weight issues have gotten the subliminal message that it’s their fault that they’re overweight. If you’ve ever been criticized for not having enough will power, teased and taunted because of your weight or told that you’re too fat because you’re just lazy or undisciplined then you know that hurts and it’s a feeling that you hold in your heart.
There’s a good chance that you’re walking around with a sense of shame about your body because it goes against the grain of society to demonstrate that you love and accept yourself if you’re larger than most. There’s a pervasive belief that you’ve given up.
Do you often catch yourself wondering, “Why am I so fat?” Are you angry with yourself for being overweight? If you are, you’re not alone. Many people struggling with weight issues have gotten the subliminal message that they’re just not okay being overweight and that it’s all their fault.
If you’re like most women who grew up in a diet obsessed society that values thinness and considers dieting to be the one and only solution to getting slimmer, then you’ve learned to think of food and your body in a very skewed way.
Dieting is not the solution. It’s a big part of the problem, because it leads you to fear food and to rely upon an external authority to tell you what to eat. It erodes your ability to believe that you can trust yourself around food. If you really think about it dieting is kind of like learning how to ride a bike with training wheels. It gives you a false sense of security and it keeps you believing that you are the problem, not the diet. But it’s not what you’re eating. It’s what’s eating you!
Food Is Not the Problem
My experience has taught me that if you’re a chronic emotional eater, the problem is not food. It’s easy to say, “Well I just love food, and I have no self control.” But as true as that may feel to you, it’s not the real truth.
Liking food may account for being an extra 20 pounds or so overweight, but if you’re dealing with a larger amount of weight, or find yourself struggling much, much too hard to keep it off, it’s my belief that you’re eating for another reason, other than just enjoying the taste.
Geneen Roth is an international teacher, speaker, and writer of best-selling books on emotional eating. Her belief is that we eat the way we live and all of us have exquisitely good reasons for overeating.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” According to Geneen, our relationship to food, money, love, is an exact reflection of our deepest-held beliefs about who we are and what we believe we deserve.
In order to break the cycle of compulsive eating and find out what we truly hunger for, we need to be willing to be curious and kind with ourselves.
She calls this feeding your hungry heart. This is when you eat to cover up hurting or feeling vulnerable. The pain that triggers your urge to eat, and obsess about food, comes from a time when you felt emotionally overwhelmed in some way. You may have a sense of when specifically you turned to food to feel safe, validated or loved, or maybe you have no idea. The important thing to know is that your body remembers. It’s that sense of neediness that you experience whenever you get overwhelmed that triggers that sudden urge to eat. It’s an old unconscious habit.
Your Baaaaaaaaaaad Habits: Are They Your Fault?
When you got dressed this morning, how did you put on your socks? Did you put on your right sock first or your left? Did you do the same thing yesterday or not? What about your handwriting? Do you always write with your right hand or your left? If you are wearing earrings today, which one did you put on first, the right one or the left? Do you always do that? When you walk up a flight of stairs, with which foot do you lead?
Think about your habits. I’m willing to bet that you do these things the same way each time. At least, you do them the same more often than not.
If you favor doing something one way instead of another… Is That Your Fault?
You are probably wondering why I asked you if it is your fault. I did that so I can help you see things a bit differently, and because we always find new and wonderful ways to beat up on ourselves, don’t we? Don’t you blame yourself for so many things? Let’s explore this further and put it into a different context. So I’ll invite you to think more about the question. Is it your fault? Absolutely not. It’s not your fault. Remember that!
The Mind/Body Connection: Your Body Knows
Going back to the premise that energy is all around you and always moving, consider that the stress that is built up around an emotional event creates feelings of pain that get reinforced and played out in your body each time something happens to remind you of it again. It sticks like Velcro to every cell of your body and every time you are reminded of it, your body clenches in a lock down and stress hormones pour into your system, making you feel physically and emotionally awful. It’s a conditioned response; similar to what the Russian scientist Pavlov proved when his dogs learned to salivate in response to hearing a dinner bell. In other words, it’s a knee jerk reaction, something done automatically without conscious thought.
Unlike dieting’s traditional solution, putting pressure on yourself to eat less or restrict your food intake won’t work in the long run, because it will only make you feel more pressured. And you will only do what your brain already has done before, eat. If you don’t learn alternate methods of dealing with stress, your brain will continuously default to its old programming; eating to soothe your soul. At times like these, you’ll find yourself unable to think straight, obsessed with images of food, feeling certain that you are hungry even after a full meal.
For emotional eaters, food equals comfort. Without new programming, your stressed-out body will misguidedly push you to eat when you’re not hungry. That’s because the onslaught of emotions that are causing a chemical rush in your body are creating major stress in your body.
By using stress relief techniques, you can release the negative charge on the memories and emotions keeping your resistance in place. It will melt like hot butter, leaving you free to move forward.
If you’d like to learn how to short circuit the stress in your life that is causing you to abuse food, and get a handle on your emotional eating, then join me in my new Juicy Woman Yahoo Group.
Here’s the link to register: