Do your mornings start with your face pressed up against the bathroom mirror picking out all your flaws? Do you do a daily scan of your face and body, noticing all your imperfections, wishing you could look thinner, be younger, more attractive?
It’s an unfortunate reality that change is a constant in all of our lives. And trying to hold onto the past and the younger version of you will only end up with a promise of misery.
Are You Calling Yourself Nasty Names?
You may by heavier, and when you look in the mirror all you see is your excess weight. Perhaps in the privacy of your thoughts you hear a litany of hurtful words shouting out and calling you nasty names making you feel ashamed, horrified, disgusted and embarrassed about the way you look.
Does Shaming Yourself Really Motivate You?
I’ll bet like me, you’ve convinced yourself that you need that drill sargeant inner critic because it motivates you. But really if you’re honest with yourself you’d have to admit that it really only motivates you to run into the kitchen and grab something to eat to feel better.
Overeating is a Natural Consequence of Feeling Badly
Overeating isn’t a crime and being overweight doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re not undisciplined and you don’t have any character defects. You’re human. And if like me, you’re an emotional eater, then overeating is a natural consequence of feeling badly.
For Emotional Eaters, Negative Emotions Start the Cycle of Overeating
It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Something makes you feel bad. You run to food to make you feel better. Then you feel guilty about overeating, and eventually after trying to resist temptation, you end up eating more to feel better. And then you do it all over again.
I understand how it feels to be caught in that cycle of shame. And experience has taught me that if you want to be thinner and lose weight you can’t hate your way to a smaller size finish line. I know because I’ve tried it and wasted decades of my life doing that.
Self-Love Breaks the Cycle of Compulsive Eating
To break the cycle of overeating you have to fall madly in love with yourself and take full responsibility for your life. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
Take Charge of Your Life to Break the Cycle of Overeating
Breaking the cycle of compulsive eating means that you have to take charge of your life. Grab the reigns and steer in the direction you want to go. Stop waiting around for people and circumstances to change. If something is bugging you and creating stress in your life, stop complaining about it and do something to change it.
Don’t waste your time blaming others because that only reinforces a false belief that you’re powerless. To silence the gnawing bottomless feelings of hunger and emptiness that may haunt you, you have to gather the courage to confront all the uncomfortable situations and relationships that have been easier to avoid.
Despite what you may have been told by others, you are worthy and there’s not a single thing you have to to prove that. Value your time and talents and don’t waste a moment on anything that diminishes you. Change what you can and accept the rest. Forgive yourself and others simply because it frees you of the pain of feeling powerless and chained to the pain of your past.
Overeating Is Your Body’s Cry for Help: Listen and Be Kind
Recognize that every time you eat when your body is not physically hungry, it’s your body’s cry for help. Be gentle with yourself and curious enough to find out what you need and ask for it.
In order for food to lose it’s tempting allure, you have to learn how to make peace with it. That means feeling safe keeping all your tempting and favorite foods in your house. Eating when you’re hungry and putting the rest away knowing you can always have more. By learning to nurture and trust yourself, you’ll recognize the many times in your day when you automatically want to reach for food to relieve the stress. When you can look at that habit without judgment, you’ll be far along the way to ending your emotional eating.
Handle Your Stress Before It Gets Out of Hand
You are not your enemy. Food is not your enemy. The enemy is stress. An overload of chronic stress on your body will eventually cause disease that could end up killing you. You must take a proactive approach to getting healthy by learning how to handle the stress in your life before it gets out of hand. It sounds simple, but it’s not easy.
I’m a certified empowerment coach. Basically that means that I teach people how to see their lives from a place of strength. Rather than see yourself as pathetic poor-poor me victim, recognize that you’re a survivor and you’ve a long way from where you started. You’re not broken. You’re not cursed. You’re perfect as you are. You don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances.
Self-compassion As Your Superpower
A couple of the most valuable lessons I learned during the course of my coaching training were that we are always doing the best we can with what we know and there are real reasons why we do the things we do.
You can imagine that looking at your life from a point of view of more understanding and kindness could really wipe the self-pity slate clean. Self-compassion gives you permission to go easier on yourself for everything. That’s not a cop out. It’s true.
We can be so mean to ourselves in the privacy of our mind. Can’t we? And it’s that constant verbally abusive shaming chatter that bombards our thoughts which can keep the cycle of overeating running endlessly in your life.
Have You Been Verbally Bashing Yourself?
How many times today have you called yourself fat, ugly, stupid or any other derogatory word? If we’re always telling ourselves how stupid, incompetent and unworthy we are, pointing out all the ways we don’t measure up, we can never muster up the strength to change. Here’s an example to consider:
Think about a baby learning to walk. If mom discouraged and yelled every time the child tried to lift itself up eventually the baby would stop trying.
When we treat our bodies with disrespect and call ourselves nasty names, we become that shouting verbally abusive mother to ourselves.
Maybe you’ve been put down in the past and people have made nasty comments about your body. I know how that hurts. But here’s something you don’t know. You don’t have to continue to carry that burden of hurt and shame anymore.
You Have the Power to Change
You have amazing powers. You’re kind of like a magician in that you can manifest things and change your reality.
I’m not talking about pulling rabbits out of hats or anything like that. But your real power is in being able to change your thinking. And when you can change your thinking, you can change your life.
I’m an abuse survivor and for years I walked around feeling like a victim, thinking that I was born under a curse. I would stand in front of the mirror glaring with disgust at my fat body. Negative thoughts would flood over me like a tsunami and I’d react by grabbing a piece of flesh and squeezing myself until it hurt. I’d shout obscenities at myself and end up walking away from the mirror with tears streaming down my face. Feeling disgusted and ashamed, I just wanted to hide.
As a child in a dangerous situation, hiding made a lot of sense. But I grew up holding onto the same toxic belief that I had to stay hidden and be invisible in order to protect myself and feel safe.
Have You Been Using Food and Overeating to Avoid People and Situations?
For many years I used food to create a fleshy boundary to keep people out and give me a sense of being protected. Can you relate? Now I love my bigger body, even if it’s not the size I want it to be. But it’s mine. It’s the body that I created over years of hiding and being afraid of people and situations. Now I have enormous compassion for myself and my body because I realize that up until recently eating for comfort has been all that I knew.
When you look at your bigger body, instead of letting shame cloud your perspective, think about some of the situations you’ve survived in the past.
If like me, you’ve ever experienced abuse, neglect or trauma it’s likely that you also developed an unconscious belief that you weren’t safe in your body and the world was a dangerous place.
Your body rushed to your defense and did what it could to protect you from being vulnerable. If you’re like many abuse survivors, there’s a good chance that you have been carrying around excess weight. There’s no shame in that and there’s no cause for judgment. You haven’t done anything wrong. Weight gain is just proof that the rules of physics apply.
Hating Your Body Isn’t the Answer: Recognize Your Fat As Protection
As an abuse and incest survivor, I spent years hating my body and feeling deeply ashamed for being overweight. I never thought of the fat on my body as being anything other than just proof that I had no self-control around food.
As a coach, I’ve since learned that our bodies reflect our thoughts and the way we feel about ourselves and our lives. If like me, you know what its like to feel powerless, you may have also used food to build a suit of armor.
How to Release Your Excess Weight
To take off that suit of armor and release the extra weight that you’ve accumulated over the years, you have to recognize the purpose that those extra layers of skin and fat have served for you.
There are really good reasons why you have been overeating. But in order to break the cycle that keeps you using food for comfort, you have to learn how to become your own nurturer. That means you need to know how your excess weight has been serving you emotionally so that you can figure out ways that you can satisfy that same need without jeopardizing your health by constantly overeating.
Your Brilliant Body Is Always Working to Protect You
Your body is brilliant and it knows exactly what you need and it will give it to you. When you fall down and scrape your knee, your blood and cells coagulate to form a scab.
This protects you against infection and speeds healing. Your emotional needs are also cared for by your body. Some of us wear our battle scars on the outside, but others carry their hurts on the inside. It may not be obvious to anyone looking, but your body is showing the signs of where your emotional distress originated.
Where Do You Carry Your Armor? Where on Your Body is there Excess Fat?
Think about where your fat is on your body. Is it on your face, neck, across your arms, back, chest, legs, or evenly distributed making you heavier all over? Is it concentrated in one area, maybe on your thighs making you a pear shape? Or does it manifest in your stomach and abdomen area where the rolls of fat cover your genitals? Where is your excess weight?
The Late Louise Hay, the Queen of Self-Esteem
Where do you carry your armor? Yes. Let’s think for a moment of your extra fat as being like a suit of armor. The late Louise Hay was considered to be the queen of self-esteem.
Growing up she was abused by a step father who beat and tortured Louise and her mother. By the age of 5 she was raped by a neighbor.
She lived through some very harrowing life experiences that included a teenage pregnancy, poverty, a cheating husband and a cancer diagnosis.
In the early 70’s she had a realization that there was more to life than feeling like a victim. She began pursuing a journey of discovery that led her to change her thoughts and heal her body.
Louise Hay’s Book, “You Can Heal Your Body”
In 1976 she wrote her first book; a pamphlet containing a list of different diseases in the body and their likely metaphysical causes. That little blue book later went on to sell 40 million copies and became her bestselling book, You Can Heal Your Life™ In the book she explains that there are really just two mental patterns that create disease in our body; anger and fear.
In 1977 her beliefs were put to the test when she was diagnosed with incurable cervical cancer. Based on all that she was learning, she came to the conclusion that her illness was partially caused by the resentment she held against those who had abused and raped her. She refused medical treatment and instead pursued alternative medicine in the form of reflexology, nutrition and colonic enemas. She started going to therapy and learning how to forgive. She ended up beating cancer.
You Can Heal Your Life
In her book, You Can Heal Your Life™ she speaks about the armor of extra weight our body can accumulate as an unconscious effort to deal with unresolved anger and fears.
According to Hay, where you carry your weight speaks volumes about the type of emotional pain you’re holding in your heart. She goes on to describe a variety of correlations between body parts and illnesses that in turn correspond to various emotional blocks within the body. She calls these probable causes, and offers new thought patterns to release the blocks. Here are some of the examples from her book,
Excess Weight on your arms – Anger at being denied love
Excess Weight on your belly – Anger at being denied nourishment
Hips – Lumps of stubborn anger at the parents
Thighs – Packed childhood anger. Often rage at the father
Ask yourself, “Does this feel true for me?” By learning to trust yourself, your body will give you everything you need.
Your Body Gives You All The Answers You Need
The heart, as part of your body, is electromagnetically charged and carries impulses to your brain and throughout your body. It communicates and offers vast stores of information that often go unnoticed or disregarded.
According to the science and technology known as, “Heart Math, you can reduce your levels of stress and anxiety by learning how to tap into your intuition.
Our bodies know what is best for us. Whenever something feels right or is true for you, you feel it first in your heart. Some people call this intuition or inner guidance. To my way of thinking, it’s all a way of accessing your soul’s higher intelligence. God, Buddha, Higher Power—no matter what you call it, it’s yours, and when you quiet the mental chatter in your thoughts, you can tap into that internal communication and wisdom anytime.
Try It! Finding Your Truth
Place a hand over your heart and slowly read aloud the following quote by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. Repeat it several times.
“Every extra pound I carry on my body equals a pound of emotional pain I’m carrying in my heart.”
Keeping your hand on your heart, take some time to think about the words and what they mean to you. Notice what images or memories come to mind. What words or thoughts do you hear when you think about it? What feelings arise when you read those words? Now, with that new information, keep your hand over your heart and ask yourself, “Does this feel true to me?”
Now I want you to think about this. What has your body armor been protecting you from? If Dr. Virtue’s statement felt true for you, what would the emotional pain be that you carry on your body and in your heart?
If your body could talk, what would it say? If your thighs could ask for something, what would it be? What would your arms want to tell you? What message does your stomach have to share? Sounds stupid, I know, but your body has been trying to tell you something every time you ate when you knew you weren’t hungry. Isn’t it time that you listened?
In my book, “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In: The Juicy Woman’s Guide to Making Peace with Food and Friends with Your Body” I share the story of one of my first Losing Weight without Dieting clients who we’ll call Elaine.
How My Client, Elaine Stopped Overeating After Her Husband Died
Elaine had been married for 29 years when her husband was diagnosed with Cancer. After nursing him up to the point of his death 2 years later, Elaine was lost. She shared with the group that she had no idea how to live in the real world on her own. Everything she had in her life was as a result of having a wealthy husband.
Food had always had a very special meaning to Elaine. But after her husband’s death when she first became a widow she gained 35 pounds. She was also diagnosed long-term carbon monoxide poisoning, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and anemia. She said that with all the mental fog she was experiencing that further contributed to her out of balance relationship with food.
When I began working with hypnosis to guide Elaine to reaccess many of her former resources and positive memories she tapped into one of her greatest joys; music. This memory of how much she loved playing the piano reignited her connection to herself.
After making the initial association and remembering who she was before she married, she regained the strength to handle many of the challenges that lay before her. I taught her how to use a variety of stress relief techniques to deal with her fear of confronting people, voicing her opinions, expressing her discontent, asking for what she needed and getting what she deserved.
By handling the deeper rooted reasons why she was overeating, she was able to feel safe stocking her kitchen with foods she loved. It became easier and easier for her to eat only when she was hungry. When we last spoke, Elaine proudly mentioned that her pants were too big on her and she was planning a shopping trip to buy some new outfits.
As her self-esteem increased, her clothing sizes decreased.
Forgive yourself whenever you overeat
As I taught Elaine and I teach all of my clients, forgiving yourself for overeating is essential because it breaks the cycle of self-abuse that keeps the pattern of overeating going.
To begin the process of melting away your excess weight, you must recognize that your emotional eating is your body’s way of reacting to feeling threatened and unsafe.
Nurture Yourself In Other Ways Besides Eating
In order to reverse that powerful stress reaction, you need to nurture yourself and create feelings of safety and peace in your life. Whenever you overeat, be kind and compassionate with yourself. If you have a tendency to be critical and speak to yourself with hurtful words, be curious and kind as you question yourself each time you overeat. By taking a gentle non-judgmental approach, you will learn more about the situations and people that make you feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Become Resilient: Flexibility is Strength
It’s undeniable that change is the biggest constant in all of our lives. You do yourself a great kindness by taking time out of every day and doing whatever you can to learn how to be more resilient. By taking back your power and building a firm foundation of confidence you’ll be able to stand and face the hurricanes in your life and bounce back each time you fall. You may have been convinced that losing weight gives you confidence. While that may be true for the short term, the real formula for gaining confidence is pushing out of your comfort zone and doing things that you did not believe you could do. You will gain self-confidence with every small action you take.
One of the most important things to do as a kindness to yourself is to let go of the pain from your past. As long as you are not in imminent danger, you can remind yourself that you are safe now and you can start to peel away those many layers of excess weight that has worked for you by giving you a sense of safety when you felt vulnerable.
Forgiving Other People Frees You
Forgiveness is the greatest gift that you can ever give yourself. I urge you to practice this each and every time you overeat in order to create a new empowering habit of self-love and gentleness.
Feeling the need to protect yourself from harm and always trying to shield yourself from being hurt creates a lot of anxiety and stress. Although food may have worked in the past, as we age, the consequences of habitual overeating can lead to poor health.
Deal with Your Stress Consistently to Avoid Illness and Pain
I understand how stressful it is to face a situation that overwhelms and frightens you. That’s why I want to offer to teach you some stress-relief tools that will put the power of choice back in your hands. Life is filled with twists and turns and many times the road we’re travelling is like a minefield; all bumps and ditches. If you don’t have tools to get yourself out of a negative thinking space, you can spend years trying to climb out of a hole.
Depression, grief, feeling betrayed, angry, hurt, shame–these are all emotions that feel like empty pits and ditches in our lives. They can sweep us off our feet and keep us twirling around endlessly, feeling lost and alone.
I wrote my book, “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In” to give you tools to overcome the adversity in your life so you can get back up, dust yourself off and stand firmly in your power. That book is my love letter to you reminding you how powerful you are. At 464 pages, it’s an empowerment bible. If you are struggling with hating your body, that self-hatred and loathing will sabotage every aspect of your life. I’m on a mission to empower 10.5 million women to love and respect themselves and recognize their value so they can go after their dreams.
Want to get started learning how to love yourself to rise above your past so you can get healthy, lose weight and be happier? Your first step is to join my Facebook group. Click the link below: