Because Deep Down we know it’s not about the Diet
It’s about being able to STICK to a diet which, as we all know is incredibly difficult.
Simply following a diet in a book or from a nutritionist is all well and fine but if you can’t get yourself to do what you need to do, in this case eat a certain way, then there is no point in wasting time, effort and energy via frustration and stress.
You need to address the core issue which is that:
EATING IS EMOTIONAL
Specifically I mean to say that overeating is emotional. We do it for 2 main purposes:
1- Distraction: Almost everyone carries subconscious pain and angst to some degree and it usually stays there, in the shadow because we don’t want to deal with it. Perhaps it’s too much for us, or perhaps we don’t feel there is any way out of it, or even that ignoring it has been our habitual way of dealing with it for so long that we are used to it.
Eating allows us to focus instead on the pleasure and enjoyment it brings, which means everything else takes a backseat for a short time.
2- Anxiety Management: Anxiety is always, always there and again we all experience it differently but it is one of the main culprits in our overeating. It can go from being uncomfortable to debilitating and so we are always looking for ways to manage it.
Eating, specifically carbs and junk food is one of the ways we do this. Eating tasty food releases neuro chemicals in our brains responsible for pleasure which takes us away from our anxiety. Also, eating, and specifically the feeling of being full, activates our para-sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for calming us down.
Overeating isn’t good for us and it does make us feel badly in many ways, but it also decreases how badly we felt before the food. In essence we are trading one negative experience for another.
This is why dieting has such a high failure rate. We’re dealing with forces that are REALLY really powerful and so we’ll never win by simply changing the foods we eat, even if we use our will power.
TREATING THE CAUSE
The way to create the change you want is to obviously go to the source and treat the underlying cause. When it comes to weight loss that cause is of course emotional eating.
The problem with treating emotional eating is that, like any other neurosis (depression, anxiety) it takes TIME. Lots and lots of it and so even if we embarked on that journey we’d still have the problem of being over weight and unhealthy.
The solution is to work on both at the same time.
The first step then is to manage your weight which you can read about in the weight loss management section. What you are trying to do here is to make small changes that will slowly lead to you losing weight permanently. Changes that are easy to stick to and, most importantly, not painful. They should even FEEL GOOD so that you are motivated to continue moving forward.
While you are working on your weight, in that specific way mentioned above, you are also working on your underlying subconscious challenges. This work is about emotional growth and is slow and steady but incredibly powerful over time.
Journal, write, talk with friends, therapy etc. just a bit each day is all that is needed. It may not seem like much but over time it really does add up.
BECOMING SOMEONE NEW
Making changes at that level is powerful! When you work on your psychology you are working on every other aspect of your life. It’s not just your diet that will change but your quality of relationships, your health, your success with money and more. It ripples through the entirety of you so that you don’t have to work on 100 different things at once, trying to put out fires that never die.
You only have to work on one main area and just for a little bit each day. The results are worth the investment by far.
SOME PEOPLE DO LOSE WEIGHT ON NEW DIETS THOUGH?
There are some people who seem to lose weight simply by changing their diet. But if you looked a little closer you’d find that what you see on the surface doesn’t reveal all.
Although they are in the minority, the people who lose weight and keep it off while trying a new diet or way of eating are:
1- People who at that point in their lives are fed up. They have been that way so long and just can’t stand it anymore. This qualifies as more of a psychological change. The pain of being overweight and the awareness that went with it were enough to fuel some growth and the result is new way of eating. For them, the pain of not changing was greater than the pain of changing and so without realizing it they grew emotionally which made dieting much easier.
2- People who have undergone a big change in their life. Getting the job you always wanted, moving to a new city or starting a new and exciting relationship are all things that can change your emotional state which again changes your behaviors. Going in a fun, new direction and feeling good means you don’t need to overeat anymore.
3- People who are not true emotional eaters. Some people use other ways to manage their anxiety and distract themselves from their pain which can include anything from internet surfing to drinking to working too much etc. For them, eating isn’t that big a deal, it doesn’t do it for them and so when they try a new diet it’s relatively easy since there is no strong, emotional pull to eat. These people are a tiny fraction of the tiny minority of those who lose weight simply by adopting a new diet. They likely gained weight by making bad choices or by being lazy.
Most people don’t lose weight simply by deciding to change their diet. The emotional factors at play have such a significant influence that they need to be addressed (read The Guide).
The extra weight needs to be addressed as well and some good info on that can be found in the management section.
Most important, a little each day and small steps consistently.
THE EATING LOVE GUIDE (FREE)
The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.