Is Weight Loss Your New Year’s Resolution?


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By Bonnie Moehle –

It is that time of year again where we make resolutions. Surveys show that the number one New Year’s resolution is weight loss. So many of us set this goal and so many of us are unsuccessful at achieving it. Why? We are trying to change a behavior without really understanding and resolving the cause of that behavior. What we fail to understand is that hunger is not in the stomach…it is in the mind.

During my early teens and 20’s I was overweight. My favorite foods were sweets, pastas, breads and fried foods…and too much of everything. I had no sense of being full, and if the offerings were good I would eat until I was sick. I tried every diet. There was the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the hot dog diet…but nothing seemed to work. What I came to discover is that letting go of weight was not about a diet. It was about awareness, beliefs and embracing and dealing with my emotions.

I would overeat regularly, probably every day. It had become such a habit that I was usually unaware of what I was doing until it was too late and I felt sick to my stomach. Then, I would beat myself up for what I had done. During my childhood, I came to believe that I wasn’t good enough. I believed that putting myself down would make me better…and I always had to be better. What I didn’t know is that beliefs create behaviors. When we believe we aren’t good enough, our actions and perceptions follow. I had self-destructive self-talk, therefore I had self-destructive behavior.

I tried to change my eating behaviors over and over again, but it wasn’t working. The few times that it did work it was only temporary. It was not the behavior that needed to change, but the underlying beliefs that were creating the behaviors. In addition to my negative self-talk, I was constantly telling myself that I was fat. What I know now is that when you tell yourself something repeatedly, the subconscious mind believes it and follows your instructions. I told my subconscious mind I was fat and it followed my instructions by influencing me to crave fatty foods, and eat whenever I felt uncomfortable. This would keep me fat and confirm that I wasn’t good enough creating an unstoppable vicious cycle.

Lastly, I didn’t know how to properly deal with my emotions. If I was happy I ate, if I was unhappy I ate. Because I didn’t properly deal with emotions, I would stuff them in with food or express them through food. Most people are not taught to properly deal with their feelings. They avoid them, bury them, distract themselves from them or get stuck in a story that makes them into a victim. Eating something yummy and delicious is always a fast and easy fix when we are even the slightest bit uncomfortable. When I learned to embrace my emotions rather than to avoid them, I no longer had to turn to food.

This was my story. For many that I have worked with, the weight is also a means of protection. “If I stay heavy, then people won’t expect much out of me.” “If people don’t like me I can blame the weight.” Or, “I had bad relationships in the past. The weight will protect me from future pain.”

For whatever reason we hold on to weight, the answer is not a diet. Yes, we must have a healthy eating plan, but in order to maintain it we have to love and accept ourselves, be self-aware and learn to embrace and resolve our emotions. When we do, then we not only let go of the old eating patterns, but we maintain a healthy weight for life.

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Comments

  1. I was unemployed for about 8 months in 2013, but instead of using that time to focus on losing weight through diet and exercise (something I had all the time in the world to do!) I actually gained weight, no doubt because of the emotional struggles I went through by being out of a job. I’m starting 2014 with a new job, and I’m hoping those good emotions translate into my hitting my weight loss goals.

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