“I eat because I am unhappy” was a coaching client’s opening gambit when we started working together.
She felt guilty about this because on the face of it she had a lot to be thankful for – nice husband and kids, a home and a decent job.
But the fact is she’s been struggling with her weight for years. It’s been going up and down as she yo-yo diets.
She is like may people I coach – she has a boot in two camps of self sabotage.
Years Of Dieting Sabotage
Dieting only teaches ignorance about nutrition. A kind of learned ignorance if you like, because before you got sucked into the diet mentality you weren’t afraid of real food.
When you’re on a diet you don’t have freedom to make your own choices or respond to what your body needs. On one level you know you are giving up control to something or someone else. This is really dis-empowering and not a source of personal happiness!
My client had read my book and her most recent attempt at weight loss involved eating well. And this worked well.. for a while, while life as ok.
But then she got unhappy about a stressful situation at work. But admittedly it could have easily been about the kids or something else, because she eats in response to her feelings. “Julie. I eat because I am unhappy, it’s as simple at that!”
“I Eat Because I Am Unhappy” Sabotage
Emotions are a result of thought or train of thought. They don’t come from nowhere. That’s why two people can be in an identical situation and respond totally differently to each other.
Unhappiness is an emotional response to thought.
Within our sessions we investigated her thoughts and uncovered quite a few crappy ones:
- “I’m useless”
- “What’s the use”
- “I can’t do it”
- “I’m not good enough”
Her underlying unhappiness is hinging around the “I’m not good enough” story she has running on a loop in her head. So this is where her coaching with me started.
Investigated and unchallenged thinking results in poor emotional resilience to life’s normal ups and downs.
A normal state for a human being to be in is happy and to feel good. But the mind can undo this if it’s left to run amok.
In today’s obesogenic environment that can spell disaster because subconsciously you can get relief (albeit short-lived) from ‘drug food’ that hits the feel good receptors in the brain – sugar and refined white carbs.
Reaching for ‘drug food’ instead of challenging your own thoughts becomes your go to behaviour. Somewhere along the line it has established itself as a behviour.
Dieting Will Not Sort This Out
A diet will not work for anyone who says “I eat because I am unhappy”.
Dieting is symptom treating of something that can only be sorted out by going for the route cause – what’s going on in your mind.
But the benefit of doing this is not only will you lose your weight – you’ll be happier too.
Other blogs in this series:
Have a great week!