I used be a rather assertive weight loss coach, assisting and urging clients to follow a very strict diet. Granted, diets are often life savers and provide amazing health benefits, such as lower cholesterol and glucose levels etc.
I did this successfully for over 4 years. In my past I also I taught smoking cessation classes and helped smokers get off the most addictive drug known to man: nicotine. I was quoted by one client in a joking manner: “Petra rules with an iron fist.” My heart was always in the right place. After all we were dealing with addiction, a world where one thinks in “black and white” terms. I grew up in a household, where addiction was omnipresent (alcohol and cigarettes). As a counselor I was finally able do something about it and help my clients live a healthier longer life!
In contrast to all addictive substances, food is a different “beast” altogether. We need to eat and nourish our bodies to survive. So, how do we free ourselves from using food to numb, take the edge off and cope with our emotions?
Diets fail when emotional eating is not addressed. Diets further disconnect a person from her/his internal cues to physical hunger versus emotional hunger. What are you truly hungry for? What does your “hungry heart” tell you? That is the true path out of food addiction and food obsession.
In my work I teach clients to be present with difficult feelings, to “hang out” with the discomfort. As a client stated correctly: ”Feelings won’t kill us.” But do YOU want to go this route? Isn’t numbing easier and more doable? Sure, eating provides instant comfort. However, after you eat, you are left with the added guilt plus the original emotion, which caused you to overeat. It is an unhealthy cycle. The way out of emotional eating is to CONNECT with the core emotion, which causes you to reach for food when you are not hungry.
Rather than pushing your feelings down, you can pause and explore what is bothering you. It takes a lot of courage and will give you the freedom to get off the dieting yo-yo cycle.
I now consider myself a “Self-Care Coach”… My days as weight loss coach are long gone. I now teach mothering, self-nurturing and self-compassion. It’s a longer, much deeper journey. I love what I do. Contact me if you’d like to learn a different way of embracing your body and having a relaxed and healthy relationship with food!