Here’s a story about a real client; I’ll call her Linda. She came to see me to gain control of her eating, having had compulsive emotional eating since childhood. She was put on a diet by her doctor at 8 years old, and then taken to Weight Watchers with her mother to get support. Well, it didn’t work long-term. Forty years later, she was STILL trying to end the emotional eating and weight cycling with a net gain every time. She was worn down, exhausted, tired of trying and feeling like a failure. It all seemed hopeless.
If diets actually worked, we wouldn’t have to keep repeating it, right? Because with every diet, every deprivation, her system rebelled to protect her in the best way it knew how. Linda hated this. She was angry. She tried so hard. She had will-power; she had people cheering her on to lose weight; however, they weren’t so nice when she gained it back.
It was not her fault that happened.
What might her life have been like if she had people that did not subscribe to (mostly) females needing to “reduce” themselves – a life where she'd been taught that she could be comfortable in her own skin, love her body as she did as an infant and toddler, and accept that people come in all shapes and sizes, just like height and color of skin, hair or eyes.
What if someone had noticed her emotional distress and helped her to find ways to cope or find comfort, or better yet, resolve whatever issues might be going on in the home that had her feeling uncomfortable emotions or a lack of safety?
You and I both know we don't get to go back and change the past, but we CAN start today to create a new future. And that's exactly what happened here.
It took Linda over 40 years to break out of those patterns and begin to listen to her inner wisdom about her eating, moving her body, relaxing, having fun and enjoying her life. She had to BECOME the people in her life she didn’t have in the past – her own cheerleader, encourager, confidant, and best friend – to accept herself, love her body, comfort and soothe herself, attend to all of her needs and desires in life. It was a giant re-parenting job!
She was able to take small steps, one-by-one, allowing for imperfection, taking responsibility for her expectations, and to keep going no matter whether she could see or feel her progress, but rather trusting her process as an inner knowing. It is all about trust in yourself. And of course, having some great tools and support along the way to shine the light on that path.
If you are reading this and can relate to Linda's feelings and frustrations, and would like to know how she got out of this vicious cycle by changing her mindset and reconnecting with this innate knowing, I'll share that with you in my next post.
Oh – today, Linda is doing great! She's healthy in mind and body, and has finally beaten the cycle that she lived in for so long. She says she feels like a different person and is now able to focus on her passion for painting!