Friday, April 17, 2015

How The "F" Word Affects Your Weight

I am a big fan of the "F" word.

It's not what you might think.  It's not "fat" or "food" (and it's not the other "F" word, either!).  I'm talking about this word:


Part of what makes us all human is our ability to feel emotions, so having emotions is part of what makes us feel truly alive.  However, we live in a culture that tells us there's something wrong with our feelings.

Angry?  You have an anger management problem.

Sad?  Take an anti-depressant. 

Anxious?  There's a pill for that, too.

Scared?  Be strong!  Fight!  Don't give in to fear!

Happy?  You might be a bit too happy.  Hypomanic, maybe?

No wonder people often have difficulty recognizing that emotions, needs, desires and reactions are part of being human, not a defect.  A feeling is a reaction to a situation, not a reflection of your character. 

When you cannot identify or process uncomfortable or intolerable feelings, because the mere existence of those feelings is viewed as weak, bad or wrong, you may turn to food as a way of dealing with those feelings.  

Food can't take away feelings.  As counterintuitive as it may sound, the only way to actually get rid of feelings is to actually feel them.    

Check out these three common feelings:

1) ANGER: Annoyance, frustration, rage and fury are all derivatives of anger.  It helps to make a gauge of what you're feeling.  On a scale of 1-10, what's a 10?  Rage?  Fury? 

What's a 2?  Frustration?  Annoyance?  

If you don't gauge your feelings, every emotion seems like a 10.  Everything feels like too much.  And if your feelings are overwhelming, you're more vulnerable to turning to food (or from it) for relief.

Check in with yourself about your conflict over anger by finishing these sentences.

I don't like getting angry because:

I'm afraid to feel angry because it reminds me of:

2)  SADNESS:  Gloomy, unhappy, glum, hurt, dejected, depressed, grieving, are all forms of sadness. 

I don't like feeling sad because:

I'm afraid to feel sad because it reminds me of:

3)  HAPPINESS: You might be thinking, "Happiness is a good thing.  All I want is to be happy! "

Some people are afraid of being "too" happy, fearful that the rug will be pulled out from under them.  They are afraid they'll lose that good feeling, so they sabotage themselves.  

Food is also associated with celebration and reward.  We commemorate birthdays, achievements and transitions food and allow ourselves a "treat" for a job well done.  If food is associated with special celebrations, it's difficult not to eat or overeat on those occasions.

I'll know when I'm happy when:

If I let myself be happy, then:

When you can identify, gauge, and process a range of emotions, you won't need food to escape, numb or distract yourself from them.

And that's how you make peace with food!

Here's a video on this topic:

*          *          *

No comments: