By feeling and examining the emotions, you teach yourself that they are allowed to be there.
Causes of emotional overweight
Waking up every day with all kinds of negative thoughts about your body. Obsessed with what you eat. Would like to be lighter, but it doesn’t work. It is a struggle that takes a lot of energy. The good news is, you can heal yourself emotionally. This is the first step towards holistic weight loss! There are some emotional issues that can lead to being overweight. You can investigate whether you recognize yourself in one or more. If so, you can get started and tackle the real cause of your weight or unhealthy relationship with food.
Unmet emotional needs
Everything you experience shapes you into who you are today. You are faced with unmet emotional needs in your childhood, because parents cannot possibly give their child everything it needs. So you are always dealing with your inner child who has not received all the love and care it needed to feel safe and cared for. And to grow up in a nice way. Your emotional needs may have been unmet for a long time in the past. Maybe your parents didn’t see you in that at all. In some cases, there is an additional trauma.
You have taught yourself to deal with it. You may even have made yourself responsible for your parents’ behavior. That you took care of them and that you told them it would be okay. So the roles were reversed, while you needed your parents so much. There is a good chance that at those moments you have experienced feelings of powerlessness, fear, unrest, disappointment or tension, which you have not learned to deal with in a healthy way.
Eating like a best friend
If you, as an adult, don’t connect with emotional needs that were not seen before, then the child in you is at the helm when you experience those emotions. You don’t know how to deal with these emotions because they’ve never been noticed. Food seems like a comfortable solution at these times. It will be your best friend. It is always there and it muffles what you don’t want to feel.
But what you really want is emotional fulfillment. And support to meet your emotions. You want to feel your emotions, connect with them, express them and show them to others so that those around you can support you. If you have a lot of cravings for sweet foods or are even addicted to sugar, chances are you need softness, support and love in your life. To accept yourself as you are, with all the emotions you feel. If unhealthy eating patterns control you, more and more (health) problems can arise.
Connecting with your injured parts
Your inner child needs constant food to be able to be with its emotions. But food only solves the problem for a moment each time. Your adult You feel that things are not going well. You know the way you handle food isn’t right. You may even feel that the weight you are building up is a protection. A buffer to not really have to feel. It makes you feel safe.
So the solution lies in learning to connect with those emotional needs in yourself that have not been met. And give these wounded parts of yourself all the love and care they need to feel safe and mature.
You can still eat healthy and exercise enough, but if you are continuously in survival mode, it will be difficult to lose weight and feel good about yourself. Stress can lead to restlessness, fatigue and sadness. Everyone experiences the emotions surrounding stress in a different place in their body. Often they feel very uncomfortable; you’d rather not feel them. We mainly get stress from these external things:
- Big changes
- Working and especially overtime
- Eating foods that your body cannot tolerate
- Relationship and family problems
- Wanting too much, being too busy
- Financial problems
But we also experience stress due to internal matters such as:
- Not accepting uncertainty
- The ‘all or nothing’ principle
- Unrealistic expectations
- Not setting clear boundaries
You build up emotions that you then suppress. Also, cortisol continues to circulate in your body, which can cause you physical and mental complaints, the fat burning is stopped and your appetite is disrupted. If you can’t deal with stress and therefore eat more, you will gain weight faster and losing weight will be difficult. Making room for relaxation every day is necessary to lose weight. As well as feeling your emotions.
Fear of change
You may regularly decide: ‘I will stop eating unhealthy fats’ or ‘I will stop sugaring’‘. But if you deny yourself something, the result is that your survival mechanism is turned on. The part of the brain that is programmed to help you survive is activated at that moment. Another part of your brain (the frontal lobes) is also activated. This indicates that omitting that particular food isn’t such a good idea. So you end up in a twosome. When you go on a diet, you have to constantly think about ‘the forbidden food’‘.
How is that possible? That part of you that wants to survive says: it’s not safe to make that change. It wants to keep you alive and thinks it can only do so by eating things you already know. This means that you become obsessed with food that you actually don’t want to eat, but do.
The fear of change can be very great. Denying yourself certain foods is therefore not constructive in most cases. Changing your eating habits step by step usually works better. Give yourself time to learn new behavior in a healthy way.
5 tips: this is how you lose weight holistically!
Going on a diet and then eating very little or denying yourself all kinds of food is outdated. It puts you in a vicious circle. What you can do better: investigate whether your overweight or disturbed relationship with food is caused by the above emotional problems. Then you can apply these 5 holistic tips to gain the weight in a healthy way that really suits you.
1. Slow down and feel
We often don’t allow ourselves time to slow down and feel. We quickly get past what’s going on emotionally. Being busy, working a lot or being online often has a numbing effect. We mute our emotions. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, it is important to make room for feeling. To learn to recognize where you dampen feelings with food. This can be done in various ways; find a way that suits you. In any case, make sure you have (more) empty space in your agenda. Take deep breaths into your abdomen several times an hour and examine what you need to slow down.
2. Learn to deal with your emotions
What emotions do you experience when you want to eat when you are not hungry?
What are the triggers that cause these emotions?
Do you recognize these emotions from the past? When were they there ?
Where in your body do you experience them? Can you be with the sensations in your body?
Become aware of your emotions and the patterns that arise from them. The more you get to know them and recognize them and allow the sensations in your body to be there, the easier it will be not to reach for food. If you notice that the emotions are too great, distance yourself from the situation you are in. Go to a place where you are alone and practice feeling what is going on. It can be a room where you feel comfortable and safe, but you can also take a walk, for example.
When it comes to food, fear, discomfort, despair, disappointment, sadness, tension or rejection often play a role, but also positive emotions such as sociability and joy. All of them can cause you to eat unhealthy foods. By feeling and examining the emotions, you teach yourself that they are allowed to be there and that you don’t have to do anything with them.
3. Connect with your inner child
Think back to your childhood and ask your inner child the following questions:
What are times when you had a hard time?
Where have you felt lonely or received little support?
Connect with that part of you and tell it everything it wanted to hear back then: that it is safe, that you are there… Visualize giving it everything and telling it what it needs.
4. Take the time to change
There is no quick fix for obesity. Give yourself time to gradually outgrow the patterns that you have taught yourself. For example, give yourself a year to make changes. Evaluate how things are going every month: what is going well and what can I pay extra attention to?
5. Give yourself real nutrients
Sugars make your body restless and give you negative thoughts. The more stable your blood sugar level, the more comfortable you feel and the less great the physical need for food. Minimize the use of sugars and focus on foods that are rich in nutrients and that make you feel full. Think vegetables, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, kernels, fruit, legumes and products with slow carbohydrates such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes and quinoa. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.