In my last post, I shared my journey of how I lost 75 pounds. If you missed that, you can read about it Here.
I want to share with you the postscript....the debrief. Over the past 10 years, I've had tons of people ask me HOW I lost the weight. As I shared in my last post, the HOW was not complicated. I think most people who are overweight know that if they exercise more and eat healthier foods, they will lose the weight. The reality is that 68% of Americans are overweight or obese. 68%! It is not hard to find information about HOW to shed pounds. There are gyms on every corner and restaurants are posting the calorie counts of their foods right on the menu. Its not the math that people need more of. I think we need a deeper understanding of WHY we are overweight and an action plan for addressing that WHY. Over the past 10 years I've had much occasion to ponder and study this and i'm going to share my top 3 breakthroughs.
1. Each pound of fat you carry represents a negative emotion you "stuffed" of did not properly address. Food is a powerful drug. If you start to pay attention, you will notice that you use certain types of food to numb specific emotions.
Suppose I had a long day and my husband came home in a grumpy mood. That easily leads to a conflict where I feel wronged and trapped, and I immediately call a girlfriend and ask if she wants to meet me for some Indian food. Anger/Frustration = Spicy food. Add a pound. What if I am feeling lonely and trapped in my home with my small children and I start to feel sad and sorry for myself? No problem, the kids and I will make cookies! Sadness/Loneliness = Sweet. Add a pound. Repeat this process daily for a couple of years and you too can pile on the pounds.
With this being said, understand that when you go to shed the fat, your body will release the memories of those toxic emotions which it has literally stored in your fat cells to protect you. This means that you will FEEL those negative emotions all over again as you go through your weight loss journey. You need a powerful game plan to deal with those ahead of time.
2. You don't think you have much value. You may tell people that you feel great about yourself and that you can be beautiful at any size, but deep down inside you don't think you are worth it. Healthy food takes time and money to prepare. I used to rationalize that I needed to make things that my kids would actually eat, so I would make their food and then be too tired to make something different for myself. So I ate a lot of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches and Goldfish crackers. There is a basic principle underlying this that their happiness is worth more than mine.
Exercise takes time and sometimes money. Most of us have other people in our life who want our time and attention. That may be kids who need to be fed, clothed, bathed, and carpooled. It may be a boss who requires that we work certain hours of the day. For many years, I did not exercise because I felt like it would make me a bad mom. Good moms meet their kids with smiling faces and hot breakfast when they wake up was my belief. I couldn't work out later in the day because I didn't trust that the staff in the gym daycare would take care of my kids the way I would. And what if they came home with bad habits or germs? This left the only remaining way to exercise as going for a walk with 3 children under 5 in tow. It happened about once every two weeks and lasted 10 minutes. All of these excuses have the underlying message that other people's comfort is more important that my health and happiness. If you place a HIGH value on yourself and believe strongly that you are WORTHY of being healthy and happy, you will see that it's okay for other people to make adjustments to their expectations so you can make exercise a priority.
3. You are afraid of becoming thin. As part of the low self value, I had a belief that I was not good enough to fit in with the "super" moms. I would never be as organized or beautiful or popular as they were, so why try? I actually created stereotypes in my mind about how they were all shallow and stuck up anyway. Being overweight gave me the ability to opt-out. I didn't have to worry about running marathons or entering my home in the Parade of Homes because I simply wasn't one of them. I didn't have to worry about being left out if I chose to OPT OUT. My appearance took me out of the competition I felt sure I would fail anyway.
Another reason we are afraid to become thin is that frequently our food choices are wrapped up in treasured experiences or traditions. These traditions are frequently a big deal in family culture. I have fond memories of so many holidays that all center around traditional food. Cinnamon Rolls and pie for Christmas. Orange rolls and Jell-o for Easter. Strawberry French Toast and bacon for Birthdays. Choosing a lifestyle that doesn't include those foods brings up the fear that we will betray our family. Maybe they wont like us if we become different. Maybe they will think we are snobby, or shallow, or that we no longer belong. Thats a pretty big risk to take when your value is already low.
Do any of these sound familiar? Your specifics may be different, but chances are that the fears and beliefs are the same. I have found some really great tools to help deal with the emotions that are preventing you from achieving your goals. They apply to people who are trying to lose weight AND people who are trying to reach any goal that requires growth and stretching. I would love to share them with you! Click here for free access to an audio training that will teach you a powerful tool to help you release those negative emotions so you can move towards those goals you want.