What to do with those unwanted kilos
January, the beginning of a new year and traditionally a time when we give some thought to what we want to achieve for the year ahead. I have noticed that one of the more common New Year's resolutions seems to be around weight loss, especially after the recent festive season. If you have noticed that your clothes are feeling a little tighter than usual or that you have to squeeze into your favourite pair of jeans, then maybe you have set an intention to shed a couple of kilograms. (This might be a recent realisation or something that has been plaguing you for a while). Along with this observation you might also be aware that although the weight gain snuck up on you, it is a tad more difficult to shed.
The negative psychological side effect of gaining and holding extra weight works at a subtle level with tentacles into many areas of our lives and eats away (excuse the pun) at how we feel and think about ourselves and operate on a daily basis. Yet holding extra weight need not have this much impact nor be an ongoing struggle.
A while back I had an ah-ha moment as I noticed that whenever I went through an emotionally challenging pactch or was faced with uncertainly, my weight increased. The result of living through any prolonged unsettling time was that I gained weight - (the biggest clue being the increased number of visits to the fridge). Yet I had no idea of the extent, depth or impact that my feelings had on my weight gain, never mind how I was to remedy the added discomfort of carrying the extra kilo’s.
As I delved further into the relationship between the mind and the body, I began to understand the far reaching effects of my unresolved emotions and how they had somehow infiltrated every aspect of my life. The most obvious being in the form of my physical weight gain. What I also discovered was that science has proven ‘all things’ emit energy including emotions and that the essence and ‘degree of truth’ of this energy can be calibrated or measured using the scientific testing method of kinesiology. At the bottom end of the scale are the heavy, negative emotions we carry of shame, guilt, fear and anger which all calibrate at a low level causing us to feel bad about ourselves.
So understandably when experiencing a situation which triggers us emotionally or causes us to feel any of these low energy emotions means we too would feel weighed down, sad and depressed. You would only have to think of how you feel after receiving bad news, or being betrayed by someone to be able to relate to the heavy feeling that comes with these types of experiences.
So how does this fit in with gaining and holding weight? Whenever we experience these lower vibration emotions and feel bad about ourselves we look for solace and a way to alleviate the discomfort and pain we feel. Eating then becomes an opportunity to forget about how lousy we feel and provides temporary relief as a means of comfort - with the unfortunate side effect of an increase in the consumption of food leading to gaining weight.
If you have already figured out that you eat to feel better and it comes as no surprise, the next question is probably, how do I change this? The first step is to simply be aware that emotional pain triggers restlessness or uneasiness in your body, which you had already worked out can be alleviated by some form of distracting activity for example, eating. Therefore, once you are aware that this is how you manage your discomfort you can immediately jump onto recognising this behaviour when it is activated.
Once you have that sorted, you would then watch the habit playing out and focus on intervening the moment before you engage in the distracting activity, which in this case is reaching for food. At that point STOP, BREATH, and NAME the emotion that has been activated and feels so uncomfortable.
This is by far the most challenging aspect of breaking the pattern and changing this behaviour as it may already be so automatic that you miss the gap between recognising your discomfort and then attending to it. In addition, there is the required awareness of dealing with the added unpleasantness of the triggered emotion that is present in your body and the innate need to eliminate it as soon as possible.
Once you have conquered naming what it is you feel, stay with the uneasy feeling and allow it to be present without trying to suppress, repress or avoid it. Notice where you are feeling it in your body, what it feels like while not judging how you are feeling nor criticising it….simply allow it to be. You will soon notice that as you stay present in the experience the emotion starts to subside and fade away. Once addressed, you will find that your need to reach for the comfort of food will also subside.