What could be the absolute least favorite topic in relation to weight loss? Drum roll, please. The answer is FEELINGS! When you’re trying to lose weight, you might discover very quickly how much you might use food and alcohol to deal with feelings. This is because you have started to measure your food and be really conscious of what you are consuming. Then, all of a sudden, you start to notice some very uncomfortable feelings because you are no longer suppressing them with snacks!
LISTEN UP…I’m here to tell you that big girls DO cry.
And if you want to be successful with weight loss LONG TERM, then you have to get used to feeling and processing your feelings instead of suppressing them with toxic positivity.
There’s this thing called willpower discipline.
You just are told to put your head down, to stay in your lane, put your blinders on to you, focus on your goal, ignore everything, and pretend it doesn’t exist. So when you get an urge to eat because of your feelings, try making a list of all the things you can do instead of eating. That list might include:
Going for a walk
Cleaning out a cabinet
Brushing your teeth
Locking yourself in your room
In truth, all of those work. And I’m not saying you can’t do any of that stuff. In fact, I would say it’s probably very helpful to have a list of actions you can take when you’re, roaming your kitchen.
Are you overly tired?
In reality, a lot of times this is happening on a Friday night at 8:30 pm. Are you really going to leave your house for a walk? Chances are a lot of times we find out that we’re experiencing feelings at the end of the day because we’re really tired. This happens for different people at different times. You might be someone who starts their day really early. So by 3:00 in the afternoon, this becomes the bewitching hour for you.
Tell me if you have said any of these things at the end of the day:
“I’ve had such a hard day.” “I need to relax.” “I need to let off steam.”
Typically, the habit that follows these statements has been to go open the cabinets and start eating, or maybe even to start eating while you’re making dinner. You get home at 5:30-6 PM and start the process and start to do all of the eating. Many of us, because of COVID, might already be working from home and we’re in our kitchens all day long.
I’ve been working from home from 2015 to now. I’ll give you an example of myself that I’ve noticed. When I have to sit down and do a project and it’s on a timetable, I find myself getting up to go look for something to eat. And I’m not even hungry. Clearly, it’s procrastination.
But it’s not just procrastination. There is some kind of feeling under it. Procrastination is self-sabotaging behavior. Self-sabotage is really the brain trying to give you some self-preservation to help you not feel feelings.
So, when I really think about it, the feeling I don’t want to feel is fear that whatever I’m going to create just is not good enough. And I think if I really try to tap into it, that’s just me all day long.
Eating after your day is done.
While you may not be someone that’s in your snack closet all day long, you may be someone who eats after the day is done. We’re packing so much into the day, Then, the day is done. Now, it’s 10 o’clock at night and suddenly, everybody’s gone to bed. And there you are. You might start thinking, “Now it’s my time. I need a reward and to relax.”
There we are finding ourselves settling down in front of the TV with that bag of popcorn. I don’t want to go to bed. I didn’t get any “me” time. This all really seems kind of logical. Your brain is really voting for this because this feels good. We’re driven towards that reward and the pleasure of sitting down and watching whatever TV show you’ve recorded and just being by yourself and eating.
Our brain will even go as far as to convince us that this is self-care.
This is how you take care of yourself and prioritize yourself. If you really think about it, it does sound fucking ludicrous. Self-love or self-care is me sitting down in front of the TV at 10 o’clock at night mindlessly eating popcorn and watching TV. Wrong!
How does any of this have anything to do with weight loss?
For a long time, poo-pooed this whole idea of feelings having anything to do with weight loss. You might be doing that, too. But hear me out. How are you feeling? Have you really ever asked yourself how you’re feeling?
Toxic positivity doesn’t help.
I think a lot of us women are very capable, very bright. We go on to be the overachievers, Tthe perfectionist, and the people pleasers. You may have grown up with sayings like:
Big girls don’t cry.
You’re fine. Get over it.
Never let them see you cry.
You’re tough. You can do this.
It doesn’t matter. Get over it.
Put your head down, and keep smiling.
This is toxic positivity. We all do this without even realizing it. Most of us were raised that buck up kind of way. As a result, we suck up a lot of food and alcohol in an effort to not feel our feelings.
The next time you start to hear yourself saying these toxic positivity type of statements, you need to check in with yourself. Stop and ask yourself how you are actually feeling in that moment? How does it feel in your body. When you can do this, yyou really start to experience the feeling a little bit more quickly and get to process the feeling, not just walk around with them. You want to actually go deeper into the feelings.
This is really the missing piece to weight loss. If you’re not ready to go there, it is okay. It’s taken me decades to get to this place. Step one for you, might just be noticing those feelings and allowing them to be there.
How can you start to feel and process your emotions and feelings?
You have to be willing to approach weight loss in a different way. This is coming at it in a different direction. If you don’t want to feel the feelings, you can just still put them aside and still not eat. We can have all the feelings even if we don’t want to fully process why we can allow them to be there. They can bounce around in the backseat of the car, and we can still be fully driving in charge and not be eating.
Gain awareness around your triggers.
Start to notice in your life when some of these things are happening and when you’re starting to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, anxious, or angry. Then, notice the habits associated with those feelings.
Allow yourself to take a PAUSE.
You just have to allow yourself to take a deep breath. Put your hand on your heart and asking yourself, “What do you need right now?”
Checking in with ourselves and ask ourselves, “What are you feeling? How does it feel? What do you need right now?” It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s about being curious.
Try to give yourself a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 on how hungry you are to really calm yourself down. There are times and I think it happens with weight loss and with dieting that we’re almost afraid of hunger. Really getting in touch with true hunger is important.
The reality is “99%” of weight loss is not about eating.
It’s not about the right combination of foods, the magical macros, or the exact right number of calories. It really comes down to overeating. Eating when we are not hungry. We are trying to feed ourselves out of feelings. We’re trying to overcome feelings, drown feelings, push feelings down with food and alcohol, and it just doesn’t work. It works in the moment. It’s a nice distraction. It feels helpful. But ultimately, it’s not.
Doing these 5 things will really help you figure out when your emotions are in the driver’s seat of your eating habits. Let me be the one to tell you that big girls DO cry and it’s okay to feel your feelings. In fact, it’s important to feel your feelings. I really do think that when you’re looking at long-term weight loss, we need to go really past the calories and past the food choices and the recipes and all of that and we need to look at what we’re feeling.
NOTES IN ANCHOR
What could be the absolute least favorite topic in relation to weight loss? Drum roll, please. The answer is FEELINGS! When you’re trying to lose weight, you might discover very quickly how much you might use food and alcohol to deal with feelings. This is because you have started to measure your food and be really conscious of what you are consuming. Then, all of a sudden, you start to notice some very uncomfortable feelings because you are no longer suppressing them with snacks! LISTEN UP…I’m here to tell you that big girls DO cry. And if you want to be successful with weight loss LONG TERM, then you have to get used to feeling and processing your feelings instead of suppressing them with toxic positivity.
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak has been in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. As a former bikini competitor, Bonnie helps other women achieve their dreams of being on stage as bikini competitors through her bikini program at the gym she owns in Massachusetts called Fitness Asylum. But as a self-proclaimed professional dieter, Bonnie also realized the toll dieting takes on the human brain.
Bonnie helps women over 40 lose weight without killing themselves in the gym, eliminate all the BS food drama, and help to create a life and body they LOVE. She wants to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities. Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet. It is about MUCH more than that.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out. Transformation doesn’t happen on the scale. She is an expert at Demystifying weight loss and helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
Connect with Bonnie-
Facebook Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/707942356603835