Become Emotionally Fit (Part Two)
In my last blog, I talked about how avoiding your feelings can hold you back in your weight loss goals. (If you haven’t read it yet, click HERE to read.
If you want a permanent solution, you not only have to train your body and eat healthy, but you also have to train your mind and be emotionally and mentally fit.
When you avoid your feelings, you’re not working with and through them, so you can’t get stronger by “dealing” with them. You’re doing the opposite. You’re losing your ability to feel them, understand and master them, and as a result, they’ll work against you; they’ll become your enemy.
Mastering your emotions, mind, and body will get you not only a fit body but also the balanced happy life you’re looking for.
For example, take one of my clients; let’s call her Isabelle. I have mentored Isabelle for close to two years now. She has achieved amazing results. She changed the way she eats and thinks about food. She has gotten to know her own body better since she’s paying much more attention to her needs. She knows and understands herself much more.
As a product of her continuing and dedicated work, she lost a lot of weight, and she feel so much better about herself and much more confident in herself.
She is so close to reaching her final goal. She’s only a couple of pounds away. A couple of pounds doesn’t really matters much, but she’s determined to achieve this goal. She won’t stop until she gets there. The one thing that’s blocking her from crossing the finish line is her emotions.
Isabelle, like many of us, went through a challenging childhood. As a child, she protected herself by numbing her feelings.
When we’re children, we can’t stand up for ourselves. We can’t protect ourselves. We depend on our parents and other caretakers to protect us, to take care of us. When the stressors come from our immediate environment and we can’t resolve the conflicts because we don’t have the necessary support, we have no choice but to suppress our feelings, and most likely we’re going to numb ourselves. That’s our protection from the pain, from feeling hurt.
As I mentioned in my last blog, all the repressed feelings are stuck in our energy field. They’re a part of us until we learn to let go off them.
Let’s get back to this specific example about Isabelle.
When I saw her the last time, she told me that one day she felt really bloated, and as a reaction to that, she had potato chips. She knows that potato chips aren’t going to help her cross the finish line, but why did she do that?
Most of you would react by saying she has no will power, right? I believe that things are much more complicated than that. Let’s take a closer look and dig a little deeper.
I found out after questioning her that she felt disgusted and frustrated about being bloated, and she felt that way because she believed she wouldn’t reach her goal. And if she cannot reach her goal, she isn’t worthy, and she isn’t good enough.
What does this all mean?
Isabelle felt bloated, and that deep down that condition made her feel unworthy, and so she ate potato chips. You’re probably still puzzled, and you’re still not sure what I’m getting at.
Why did she eat the potato chips? It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? Well, there’s one more thing I need to mention here. Knowing, living, and understanding your emotions are extremely important. But there’s another part we need to look at: how our minds react to emotional triggers. What are the habits we have repeated without even questioning them when we feel emotional triggers?
So, what really is happening in Isabella’s mind/brain? Her habitual loop/pattern in her brain is that any time she feels an emotional trigger (in this case feeling bloated), she will reach for something to release the emotional pressure that built up inside her. That will give her not only a feeling of relief but also a temporary satisfaction. In her case, it was potato chips, but it could be other things like wine, cigarettes, sex, self-harming, over-exercising, overeating, under-eating, avoiding, withdrawing, etc.
While it seems like a great solution at the moment, we can all see how it isn’t a solution at all but a quick fix that’s completely self-sabotaging. When she’s reaching for the chips, she isn’t thinking about what’s really happening (that she feels bloated, which makes her feel disgusted, which makes her feel unworthy). If she were aware of the underlying emotions and the pattern she’s following based on the emotional pressure, she would understand it, and she could control it and make a conscious choice. When we’re more in touch with what’s happening inside of us, we most likely won’t feel the triggers so much and won’t reach for the fattening food because pressure wouldn’t have built up. You’ll have it totally under our control.
But what happens when we’re at the same place as Isabelle, when we’re not fully aware of our feelings just yet, and we are just at the beginning of understanding them, noticing them. So there’s still pressure there, there’s still a great trigger we need to work through.
Here is what I suggested to my client. The next time she reaches for the chips, pause and get down to the bottom of her emotions. Work through them. As she releases the internal pressure by becoming emotionally aware, it will be much easier to address the need for food. If she still needs/wants food, she can choose to have tea or whatever her healthy choice is that won’t sabotage her health or her weight loss goals.
That’s what I mean when I talk about becoming emotionally fit and also mentally fit and becoming a master of the human experience.
This work is not easy and it takes time. To fully get to know yourself and understand yourself takes practice, patience and trust. I will use a quote from Marianne Williamson to finish this thought for me:
“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
Use all the trials in your life to learn about yourself, to master yourself. Look at them with gratitude because they’re blessings to you. Through them, you can discover parts of you you’ve never met. You get to know yourself and find out who you truly are and learn to let go of the blocks that hold you back from living your life fully and freely.