For many, the struggle to lose weight is not a matter of willpower but a matter of emotional control. When you’re sad you eat, when you’re happy you eat, when you’re stressed you eat, because, for one reason or another, food can help alleviate those bad emotions and elevate the good ones, if only for a moment. It makes sense, food doesn’t judge you, it doesn’t insult you, it doesn’t look down on you, it doesn’t demand anything of you… Heck, you need it to sustain your life, to live and grow strong and be healthy, and the stuff we seem to lean on during emotional highs and lows taste very good! It’s a necessity.
But, at the end of the day, when you’ve given in, when you’ve tried to lift yourself up out of a depression, tried to elevate your happiness and party, tried to find something to distract you from your stress, you’re left feeling stuffed, upset, and even angry at yourself for giving in, be-cause you want to stay healthy, on track, and lose that weight.
It’s understandable and it’s not your fault. The weight loss industry has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with books, products, and programs available everywhere. But amongst all those books, few ever address the subject of emotional eating, except to tell you not to do it. Few offer strategies, techniques, and methods to help alleviate anxiety, worry, sadness, or help you to direct your happi-ness in more productive manners.
You’re often left with suggestions such as, “Find a way to keep yourself busy: “Redirect your sadness into some-thing productive other than food: and other common sense resolutions that, though they work when you’re one hundred percent focused and trying to eat better, the moment you get really overwhelmed-the moment something can shake you from that control, you’re back to doing what YOU DON’T WANT TO DO!
I understand the frustration. I’m not some skinny doctor who has never had to deal with weight loss. I still struggle with my weight to get control of my love handles. At one point, I weighed 347 pounds, much of that weight brought on through stressful eating, eating because I was sad and miserable with my life, eating because I didn’t know what I wanted from my life, eating because… well, just because I hoped it would make me feel better. It feels good not being judged, it feels good for just a moment to have something that can take your mind off your troubles, whatever they may be.
It wasn’t until I could overcome those patterns, until I could take control of my emotions better, that I could finally begin to drop the weight, and I’m happy to tell you, I’m down more than a hundred pounds, and I keep it off.