Research has shown that, chances are very high that you already know enough about how to eat well and lose weight. That isn’t the problem at all!
Our good friend Dr. Jeremy Dean from the superb PsyBlog points out that according to research, the greater challenge is self-awareness. Those who learn to pay attention to their emotions are much more likely to make healthy choices and lose weight.
In fact, paying attention to your emotions may be the most powerful weight loss strategy of all.
The study’s authors concluded:
“With a better understanding of how they feel and how to use emotions to make better decisions, people will not only eat better, they will also likely be happier and healthier because they relate better to others and are more concerned with their overall well-being.”
People with emotional training choose better foods consistently. And that is the key to losing weight. And here are some additional, equally compelling facts…
1. Most people with weight issues tend to eat mindlessly. In other words, their underlying emotions determine what goes in their mouths, not their conscious minds. When you increase emotional awareness, you also increase your level of conscious choice.
2. Most people assume that “comfort foods” reduce stress, while this is a scientifically proven fallacy.
3. Most people, after receiving some basic emotional training, are surprised at how easy it is to make better food choices.
4. Most people discover that the negative emotions they experience after overeating are actually psychological attachments that they have been subconsciously seeking (yes, you read that right – we seek familiar negativity all too often).
5. Many people – based on experience in the AHA Weight Loss Coaching Group, have discovered that losing weight is the emotional equivalent of betraying someone close to them.
For example, if you come from a family that tends to be overweight, then there is often a deeply unconscious expectation to be heavy. If you lose weight, you feel …
When you tip the scale on January 2nd, 2015, what number do you want to see? Your current weight plus 10-15 pounds?
I didn’t think so.
The problem is, so many of us succumb to the desire for immediate, temporary tastebud gratification (even though most holiday treats don’t really taste that great if you really think about it).
How do you get past the sudden desire to indulge in junk?
If you believe that negative emotions are the only ones people avoid, consider the following.
A psychological study recently confirmed that depression is not caused by the simple presence of a negative state of mind. There is another huge, overlooked factor.
That factor is the avoidance of positive emotions that you already have.
In other words, each of us experiences natural positive emotions that want to surface every single day. Then, something mind-boggling happens.
When the positive emotions start to rise, they get repressed!
Yes, I lost my extreme desire for junk food and for overeating as well.
This wasn’t an act of will. And it wasn’t luck, either.
Losing my cravings for bad food – and for too much food – was the result of something else entirely. And that is what I’d like to explain to you in this article.
Before I get started, let me be clear about a few of things:
1. I am not about to present a magic formula that promises to end your food cravings. I did not go through a step-by-step process.
2. I don’t promise that you can do what I did, or that it would “work” for you, even if you attempted my methodology and succeeded.
3. There is no scientific evidence that I know of that supports my claims. In fact, what I did is not even possible to study scientifically.
4. I am not suggesting that my food cravings will never return. They haven’t, in fact, and it has been quite some time. Yet there are no guarantees, are there?
5. Finally, there is a good chance that by the end of this article you will think that I am crazy. I accept.
How’s that for reassurance?
In short, you’re on your own. You and only you can decide if what I am about to relate makes any sense – and whether or not to believe me.
Over a course of years, I have developed a deep awareness of my feelings. I am 47 years old at this point. At age 24, through the course of my NLP training, I learned that I was almost totally out of touch with my own feelings. I couldn’t tell you what I was feeling. I couldn’t admit when I was afraid, frustrated or angry – or happy, joyful or enthusiastic, either.
I was Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected. No feelings required!
Of course “Mr. Cool” was a facade and I ultimately felt like a fake, especially given my chosen career.
When this hit me, I vowed to get in touch. It took some time. More than 20 years later, I …
We don’t mean to.
In fact, in a string of self-doubtful years, my entire goal in life was to gain greater self-confidence. It turned out that many of my behaviors (that I thought might help) were chronically backfiring on me.
Your greatest tool is awareness of how self-doubt can work. Here are 5 behavior that nearly guarantee that self-doubt will rule your mind.
Marriage, buying a house, making a career change….these are big decisions that help determine your quality of life. It’s amazing how quickly some of us make them.
Getting married after you’ve known someone for a few short weeks.
Buying a house after shopping around for a day.
Starting a business without taking the time to really assess the market and your own financials.
More than 150 people and counting have taken at least one of our new email coaching programs. Hope and I have learned a lot about the self-sabotaging habits that people tend to struggle with.
First, a self-sabotaging habit is a recurring behavior that takes us in the opposite direction of fulfillment and happiness. Knowing this, you’d think all of us would simply stop.
Yet, experience with clients and in our own lives tells us that it’s not that simple in practice.
Yes, by all means, STOP your self-sabotage. Just quit it.
And when you can’t seem to get yourself to simply do that, seek education and guidance. You’ll need it. When you just cannot keep yourself from doing things that cause you harm, then you need more information and guidance.
Why do people make choices, then, that lead to pain?
For example, a woman has been dating a guy who has shown all the red flags. He won’t admit mistakes. He shows little interest in her. He’s had that angry, dangerous look in his eye more than once.
Yet, she keeps on dating him, upping the ante until his true colors blossom in the form of hurt and rejection.
Or, a man knows that if he just does his duties around the house, his wife will stop nagging him. He knows because he’s experienced this. Yet, he drags his feet, watches TV or tinkers in the garage until she’s so frustrated that she becomes a broken record of nag.
He hates the nagging more than anything. It makes him feel controlled. Yet, he keeps doing the very things that invite more nagging into his life.
Or, you see the plate of donuts and cakes in front of you. Of course, you know that if you indulge, those pastries will leave you feeling bloated and sick. On top of that, you’ll feel like you’ve let yourself down again – like a loser.
Yet, you eat.
And our various problem behaviors and feelings serve that purpose.
At least we’d be starting from a practical and productive place.
Instead, most of us start to solve personal problems by complaining. Then we play an endless, neurotic game of cat and mouse with our psyche that leads nowhere. I’ve done my share of this, believe me.
Let’s stop the shenanigans and cut to the chase.
The choice often involves two options:
1. Persist (the tough get going)
2. Quit (which is often a smart thing to do)
It’s difficult to know which is the smarter choice, so I’ve written an entire life skills post about this (it even includes a free worksheet).
For this post, we’ll assume that the smart choice for you is to keep going in spite of how difficult things have become.
Here are four things to remember as you persist in your chosen direction.
1. You’re choosing this.
If you’re working on a goal or solving a problem in your life, it can help to realize the point at which you chose to do exactly what you’re doing. Otherwise it might be tempting for you to consider yourself a victim, which would be really bad news.
If you’re working on a goal, you chose that goal.
If you’re facing challenges in a relationship, you’re choosing the relationship. (Even if it’s your parents or siblings, you’re now choosing to remain involved with them).
If you’re dealing with a challenges at work, you chose your job. Even if it’s unfair, you’re choosing to go along (and it may be a necessary choice).
Getting in touch with the free choice you made – or are actively making – is empowering. Don’t be a victim. It will sap your strength.
2. Asking for help is a noble thing.
Refusing to ask for help denies you access to a world of resources that you need. Chances are there people who want to support you. Are you asking?
Often, we don’t ask for help because we’re too proud. We’re embarrassed that we can’t do it all on our own. This is self-sabotage – a path to failure. If it’s your ego you are concerned about, then you should definitely ask for help when you need it. You’re much more likely to be successful.
3. You have built in resources for this.
Most of us have deeper mental and emotional resources than we typically use on an average day. Is it time to access yours in a stronger, more …
There isn’t a fix for that. We live in an imperfect world. The question is, are you doing the one thing that has been scientifically proven to take things from bad to worse?
The simple mental habit mentioned below has been shown to create the following symptoms:
• Chronic stress
• Reactive responses (as opposed to proactive responses)
• Low quality relationships
• Feelings of depression, isolation and despondence
• Lack of sleep
Recent research has pegged a mental habit – rumination – that guarantees low satisfaction, depressed mood and low productivity in people who do it consistently. The context of the study was a work environment, although it certainly applies in other areas of life.