Simply put, weight loss is emotional because the reasons for keeping weight on your body are emotional. Humans eat to live. We also love/live to eat! Our entire culture is engaged around the “Eating=Happy” equation. We invite friends to dinner. We have parties, potlucks, small visits with tea and cookies, and, of course, holidays. It’s everywhere. Commercials, cooking shows, you name it. We build our culture around opportunities to share food. Food is good. On a (mostly) daily basis we must eat to stay alive and healthy.
There’s also a physical connection there. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you’re stressed you turn to chocolate, ice cream, potato chips (or whatever your favored comfort food is) because you feel good after you’ve indulged!
One conceptualization gaining media and research attention in recent years is that foods, particularly hyperpalatable (e.g., high-fat, high sugar) ones, may possess addictive qualities. Stress is an important factor in the development of addiction and in addiction relapse, and may contribute to an increased risk for obesity and other metabolic diseases.1
To put that in English, that quote means that when we’re stressed we crave high-fat, high-sugar foods to calm down. In addition, by using that behavior repeatedly we create an addiction to that food and are very susceptible to relapse.
If you thought that losing weight or changing your eating behavior was merely a physical thing it’s time to come into the light! It’s not. I repeatedly tell my clients and whomever else is willing to let me bend their ear that weight maintenance and weight loss are 90% emotional & behavioral and 10% physical. Because weight loss far more emotional than most of us are willing to let on, it’s not easy to begin a healthy eating course of behavior. Even more, it’s not easy to stay on it.
You will veer off of your desired path and need to set the course again and again in this choice. Every time that happens you will find yourself tiring of the course of action you’ve chosen and begin wonder if it’s worth it. This is where a supportive atmosphere comes in as well as the ability to put other people’s opinions aside.
Are you beginning to see the skills needed to succeed? Emotional regulation skills are not easy for anyone I know. This is why I’ve chosen this as my path. I’m here to help you as you embark on the journey. I’m also here to help you choose the time to embark on your journey. You may need some time up front to stabilize what you want in your mind.
It’s important to become powerful for yourself. You’re doing this for you. Other people will notice and approve (or not). Yet, in the beginning, middle, and end, this entire process is for you alone. The sooner you realize that it’s an emotional journey rather than a giant physical one, the better you’ll feel.