Tag Archives: overeating and awareness

Weight Loss, Honesty and Denial Part I: Why Are You Overweight?

One of the things that needs to happen if we want to lose weight permanently is being able to be completely honest with ourselves. No armor, no bs, no stories, no excuses. Pure, direct and clear accountability to ourselves. We have to get honest about why we’re overweight to begin with.

Can you answer the following questions with more than “I don’t know.”?

Why do you think you’re overweight?
What do you think caused your weight gain?
What actions do you take on a daily basis that keep you overweight?

If you can’t, it’s possible you’re not being fully honest with yourself. Sometimes we use “I don’t know” as a way to not be fully present in our lives and not take responsibility for the outcomes we’re getting.

Unintentional Lies
If you asked me 20 years ago why I was overweight, I would have told you I was born that way and had always been a big kid. While that was partially true, I was slightly bigger than other kids in elementary school, it was actually the habits I developed during adolescence and teenage years that made me truly overweight. I’d come home, park my butt on the couch to watch “General Hospital”, mindlessly snacking on whatever I could find in the house – chocolate chunk cookies or frozen pizza or mini pizza bagels by the trayful. The TV and snacks served as a way to me to numb myself from a crappy day at school.

If you asked me 15 years ago why I was overweight, I would have told you it’s because the food at the dining hall was so bad that I had to live off of grilled cheese and french fries – the only edible things in the dining hall. I gained the “Freshman 15” three times by the middle of sophomore year. I conveniently forgot that I also drank double the beer than most of my peers and often ordered pizza late at night. Oh and I forgot to mention that I ate 2 grilled cheese sandwiches with those fries most days.

If you asked me 4 years ago why I had gained back so much of the weight I had lost in the last decade, I would have probably told you it was because of the desk job I had. Going from waiting tables to sitting at a desk for 8-9 hours a day was a bit of a shock to the system. What I would have probably omitted telling you is that I had turned to binge eating after the said desk job on many nights.

I wouldn’t have seen my answers as lies, certainly not intentional ones. I was in denial as to the source of my weight for a long time. I talk to a lot of women who have been in the same boat. Looking really closely at ourselves and owning up to how we got to where we are is not easy.

Even now, a few years into what I feel is my healthiest relationship with food yet, I still find myself in periods of mild “dishonesty”. When my weight hasn’t changed in a long time, there’s a part of me that wants to contribute it to metabolic changes due to a lifetime of dieting but if I’m honest, it’s because I’ve let certain things sneak back into my regular diet more often than I’d like them to be (like sugar and cream in my coffee). It’s ok – while I’d like to lose a few more pounds, I’m comfortable at my current weight but that tendency to lie to myself does try to inch its way in. This is the nature of the beast and I know I need to keep an eye out for the games I used to play with myself. I know all my old tricks and not being honest with myself is one of them. Lying to myself was a huge component of why I gained so much weight back a few years ago. Deny deny deny! Gain gain gain!

Barring a handful of medical conditions, which I talked about briefly in Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight (even though you’re giving it your all), the reason most of us struggle with getting to a weight that we are comfortable with is because we’re eating more than our bodies need for fuel.

It’s really that simple for most.

Many of us believe that we’re overweight for some unknown reason. We don’t believe that there is a direct correlation between the amount (or quality) of food we’re putting in our mouths and the weight that is on our bodies. But to be direct, unless you’re dealing with a medical condition as mentioned above, you are probably overweight because you eat more than your body needs. That is the truth.

There’s no judgement in that statement. There’s no shame here. There’s no reason to feel badly about yourself. There’s a million reasons why we eat more than our bodies need an none of them require beating yourself up over. If you want to get to a happier place with your weight, it really does start with being 100% upfront and honest with yourself. The only person we hurt when we stay in denial and ignore reality is ourselves.

Ignoring truths sure makes it easier to go about our day and continue the habits that we believe we’re participating in to bring us comfort or because we “deserve” to, but in reality just keep us fat and unhappy. And our weight will continue to cause us pain as long as we deny to ourselves how we got into this mess. When you can be totally honest with yourself, it’s a lot harder to plow through an entire bag of chips, hitting the drive-thru in secret or eating entire cartons of ice cream in one sitting. (Not impossible – just harder!)

Can you take responsibility for how you got to the weight you are at? Can you be honest about how much and what you put into your body?

Do you often eat secretly, in private or alone? Do you look forward to when you can next do that? Do you actually count down the minutes until you can put that secret food in your mouth?

You don’t have to beat yourself up for it, you don’t have to feel ashamed about it but you do need to be totally honest with yourself. Getting to a weight that you feel good about starts with laying out all your cards on the table. If you are unwilling to do that at this stage in the game, what else will you be unwilling to do to get to where you want to be? This is only one obstacle that will be in your path while losing weight – we have to be ready to get around many obstacles.

How can you learn to trust the hunger signals your body sends you if you can’t trust yourself? How can you be willing to feel the emotions you’re feeling if you can’t own up to the reasons you are overweight?

You can’t.

Let me tell you, trying to conquer emotional eating without learning to pay attention to our true hunger and feel our emotions is like trying to win a gold medal in the breaststroke in the Olympics without learning to swim. I sincerely wish you luck but I won’t be surprised when you don’t come in at the top.

Losing weight for the long term means putting down your armor and being completely honest to you! When you do that – recognizing the difference between hunger and fullness is more accessible, feeling our emotions is possible, food becomes less of a weapon and weight less of an issue.

Maybe you think you’re being honest but are still confused as to why you are heavier than you want to be? Ok, I get that – it certainly happens – especially when we first start wanting to get serious about this stuff.

Here’s what you do then:

  1. Find out if you are dealing with a medical issue. Get your doctor to run some tests to rule out Thyroid issues, PCOS and other medical conditions that legitimately can interfere with your natural weight. They are common – but not as common as we want to believe!
  2. 2. Keep a food journal for a month. Write down on paper every single thing you consume. Food, drink, supplement etc. Calories we don’t care about so much but quantity is helpful – did you go back for a second serving of mashed potatoes at dinner? Did you eat out of the bag of chips instead of pouring out a serving and putting the bag away? Did you have 3 cans of soda? Did you finish an 11 serving box of cereal in 3 days? This exercise is just to help you see what and how much you are actually eating.
  3. Analyze your food journal. Were you 100% honest in the journal? Lots of us have trouble doing that at first – even if we’re the only ones who will see it! Something about writing it down is scary. If you were honest, you should see some info that will surprise you. I know for me, when I began keeping a food journal years ago, I noticed a pattern – If I went out for drinks or if I had a bad day, I would skip finishing my entry for the day. It looked like I ate less on those days but I actually ate more. Or I would put down that I had less than I thought of something – I would put down that I had 2 tbsp of cream cheese on a bagel but after measuring one day I discovered that I was using double that! Try to be as honest as possible – and equally as important, don’t judge yourself for your choices
  4. Call me. If you are stuck and dumbfounded as to where your weight has come from (or just want help period), I want you to schedule a Discovery Session with me. We’ll talk about where you are and how you think you got there and I’ll help you uncover some of what might be getting in your way. It’s not always easy to see our own shit and a second pair of eyes can help you do that. No judgements – I promise. I’ve done whatever it is you do to yourself and probably worse. What do you have to lose? other than weight? 🙂  You don’t need to live near me to schedule one of these – I coach many people by phone and it’s just as effective as in person sessions, sometimes more so!

Being honest and taking responsibility is just the beginning of having a healthier relationship with food and your body. If you are willing and committed to do this, you are far ahead of many many people! Want that as much as you want to eat food your body doesn’t need and you’ll be able to see your way out.

It’s time to show up in your life the way you were meant to. Don’t let yourself down. You’ve got this. Can you show up fully? I challenge you to do this!

Stay tuned – Next week I’ll be posting part II on how Honesty & Denial affect Weight – this time I’ll be talking about the false Images we create and where else in our lives we practice denial. I hope you’ll check it out!

If this kind of stuff interests you, make sure you are on my email list (green box below), as I’m in the beginning stages of creating a program specifically for emotional eaters who want to end the struggle with weight and being on my email list is the BEST way to hear about it when it’s ready.

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!



We Can’t Shame Ourselves Thin

For some reason, we think that if we could just hate our bodies a little more, it will spur enough motivation for us to change it. We believe that if we could reject it more, that we’ll finally reach the weight, size or shape that eludes us. That there is a level of disdain, distrust and disgust we need to reach with ourselves before we’ll diet enough, exercise enough and have willpower enough to reach an ideal in our heads.

So many of us think this way and unconsciously accept this type of thinking as truth. But have we ever seen even a modicum of proof that it works? Of course not – but yet we act it out as though it was the only way. And we hold onto this body hate so tightly, as if we loosen our grip on it, even a little, we’ll lose total control and end up in a worse body than the one we already are living in. But this is total lie.

Here is the honest truth:  There is no amount of self-rejection that will lead us to the body we want. No one has ever lost weight and kept it off with hate. You can’t shame yourself thin.

The more energy we put into rejecting ourselves, the greater our struggle will be. It’s tiring and the goal always seems so impossible to reach. As long as we direct hate at ourselves, we will continue to do the very actions that keeps us in a body we are unhappy with.

To lose weight and to change our bodies, we actually have to let go of our habit of beating them up. We have to choose love and appreciation instead. We have to accept what we look like and how much space we take up right now. We must consider this:  What if I had to stay in this body as it is right now for the rest of my time on this earth? How would that change how we lived our lives? And what is holding us back from living that way right now?

The way we think about our bodies is a choice. I know it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, but feeling the way we do really is a choice. It all comes from our brains – which we are in charge of. We choose to hate our stomachs. We choose to see dimples on our thighs as repulsive. We choose to view a number on the scale as good and another as bad. We choose to put energy into feeling disgusted with ourselves.

Ask yourself, why am I choosing to think thoughts about myself that cause pain?

Why am I choosing to think thoughts that cause me to do harm (restrictive eating, bingeing, over-exercising, not exercising etc)?

Why am I choosing to think thoughts that prevent me from living the life I want to live?

How do you want to feel about your body, about yourself? Really. Think about this. If you could choose how to feel (and know that you can), what would you willingly choose to feel? I know that the answer is not hate, shame, disgust or pain.

Halting negative thinking is not easy. It takes a lot of practice and awareness. The first step is noticing where those painful thoughts creep in.

I have a little homework for you. Will you do it?

Homework assignment:
This week, just notice how your brain operates. Our brain likes to be efficient and do things it’s good at (think how we go on autopilot when brushing our teeth) – and it’s excellent at thinking painful thoughts about ourselves. Just notice where it goes. Become a witness in your own mind. Become aware of your patterns. Notice what you are thinking about your body and notice how that influences the choices you make. Write these thoughts down – and write down what was going on when they came up.  Be honest and don’t hold back.

Don’t focus on changing your thoughts with this assignment – this week I just want you to notice what your brain is up to! And please, let me know if anything comes up that surprises you or if you have any questions.

How A Meditation Practice Can Help You Lose Weight

11187217_944500648914551_6888870963403059405_oMost of us know that practicing meditation can help us feel more peace, more focus and generally more at ease, but did you know that a meditation practice can also help you lose weight?

It’s true. It’s especially true for those of us who identify with being an emotional eater. For people who find themselves eating in order to not feel an emotion (or in order to feel a certain emotion), one of the things they have in common is a lack of paying attention to their eating. What I mean by that is, if we are eating emotionally – usually the act of eating isn’t a memorable one. We eat fast, we chew quickly, if at all, we barely taste the food we’re eating before we swallow it. Many of us read, watch TV or browse the internet while eating. We do anything we can to not be present during our meal.

Why is that? Well, most emotional eaters don’t want to feel something that they’re feeling and they believe that eating this food will bring them comfort. Eating fast and without thoughtfulness is in an effort to distract themselves from the feelings they don’t want to feel. On some level, they believe that overeating or eating the wrong foods feels better than feeling the emotions they are trying to avoid. The worst part is that eating this way feels terrible afterwards and the guilt and shame that comes with it leads to us repeating the habit again and again.

Overeating is the opposite of awareness. And when we overeat regularly, it leads to weight gain. Let a few years of this behaviour pass and it won’t just be a couple of pounds that we want to lose, it can be many pounds as well as health problems.  Most emotional eaters are aware that their eating behavior isn’t normal (how do we know this? We hide our emotional bouts of eating from other people – it’s usually done in secret).  They know it’s not a normal way of eating – so in that sense they are aware that there is a problem, but they aren’t always aware that the issue stems from a deeper unawareness in their entire lives. Overeating to deal with emotions allows us to not be present or mindful or take responsibility for our feelings and actions. It’s a distraction. It’s a painful way to live and can feel impossible to get out of.

Earlier I mentioned that meditation can be helpful in losing weight. The reason for this, is that meditation can be a path back to mindfulness, back to being present and being thoughtful about our choices, not just in our daily lives with how we treat others and feel about ourselves but with how we interact with our food and our bodies. There is nothing mindful about overeating, whereas meditation essentially is the practice of being mindful.

When you first start a meditation practice, it can be really challenging. Your brain likes to keep a constant chatter of thoughts to distract you and your body doesn’t feel comfortable no matter how you sit. But with practice and consistency, it gets easier and you get more out of each session. You’ll find that your meditation sessions bring you awareness in so many other areas of your life, including eating. Your meditation practice will put you more in tune with your body which can help you determine feelings of hunger or fullness and it will put you more in touch with your emotions, which can make us less likely to reach for food. If we’re not using food to deal with our emotions as often, weight loss often becomes a side effect of practicing being mindful.

Will meditation alone fix emotional eating issues? Probably not but it’s one of many tools we can use that can make a huge difference.

Mindfulness Meditation is one of the types of meditations that emotional eaters can benefit from and it’s actually a part of what we’ll be doing on June 1st when the 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse begins.  If you’ve ever considered starting a meditation practice, this is a great way to learn! If you are interested in joining us, my email subscribers get a discount so sign up in the green box below!