“Life is like a box of chocolates,
you never know what you’re gonna get.”
I have been trying to create the right mindset for this journey because I think it is essential for lasting results. This takes a lot of emotional work and I feel like I am ready to do this—simply because I hit absolutely rock bottom and I want nothing more than to climb out of the pit and to soar far above it.
I firmly believe that those of us who are severely overweight are so because of underlying emotional issues and not because we just love food so much that we can’t stop eating. Food is our drug. It helps us escape. We eat to try to fulfill a need that is not being met and, for me, I believe that it’s because of the way that I think—my mindset.
I live in a constant state of guilt, shame, anxiety, and self-criticism. I take everything quite personally and I feel very much. I don’t know that this is necessarily a bad trait because I think that analytical thinking and introspection are good things—they make me who I am. But I need to learn to harness that way of thinking so that it doesn’t lead to self-destruction.
My therapist taught me a skill that I have found very useful in making peace with things that have happened in my past that my mind wants to frequently remind me of and make me feel hurt and ashamed. This same skill can be used for current situations and the more I practice it, the better I will become at it.
For example, I had a teacher in middle school who basically bullied me. As a 13 year old, I didn’t understand that what he did was absolutely unacceptable but instead I took on shame and embarrassment. I am going to save the specifics of this for another post, but I will share how I have learned to start to heal from this experience.
- How did it make me feel? I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and it made me hate myself.
- What is the logic? I was just a child and so I thought like a child. This was not my fault. Apparently, this teacher had issues of his own which he took out on me.
- What is the lesson? We all have luggage and we carry around our pain. However, taking it out on other people is wrong. It’s even more wrong to be in a leadership role as an adult and to belittle those under our leadership or power—especially a child. It’s never ok to belittle another to try to fit in with the “cool kids”. Always respect the feelings of another.
When I analyze my thoughts and my mindset, I can change the way that I think about the situation and this brings me peace. I am carrying around memories of a 13 year old girl, but if I can think about those memories as the 29 year old woman that I am—I can bring wisdom to these memories and instead of guilt, I have more wisdom about life. Instead of shame, I can be thankful for the fact that I survived the experience and proud because I learned from it and even though it was painful, it has played a small part of who I am today.
My goal is to apply these three questions to whatever experience is causing me to want to eat. The overall logic of every situation that pushes me to emotional eating is that eating is not going to fix the emotional problem but it will probably make me feel worse. Essentially, I have to process what I am feeling instead of stuffing it inside and trying to cover it with chocolate.
No more chocolate covered emotions. Instead, I will refine the emotion until I can make a pure nugget of wisdom, the fruit of life.