The impact that your feelings can have on your weight is often something we don’t consider. We assume that our weight is a result of what we eat, or that we don’t get up and move enough, or that we just have the genetic makeup that makes it harder to lose weight. In fact, our emotional state can have a huge impact on our weight.
We previously talked about emotional eating triggers and solutions, but here we are going to focus more on ways that you can distance yourself from past events that may be impacting on your eating habits, generating those stress hormones that affect weight, or draining you of motivation and energy to make changes.
What are you holding on to?
Most of us will have something in our past that we have had to overcome. This could range from unhealthy family relationships, romantic relationships, losing someone we cared about, professional or financial struggles, or perhaps struggling with physical illness. There could be any number of past events you live with every day, and that could be affecting how you go about your day to day life.
Accept it and let go
We grew up in a culture where positivity was promoted, and the message we received was that we should be happy all the time. The reality is that life isn’t perfect, and there will be times when we feel tired, moody, lacking motivation, sad, bored, stressed, or none of the above. If we take steps towards understanding that it is okay to feel these different emotions, we can learn that we don’t need to immediately do something to make ourselves feel better when we feel this way (like eating).
Avoiding is the opposite to acceptance. When you make a decision to let yourself sit with uncomfortable feelings for a while, we can get closer to being able to let something go, accept what happened and it make the choice to move forward. You can spend your time dwelling on what happened, what you could have done differently, how things should have been… or you can count it as a learning experience and know that you will be better equipped to make better choices next time.
How this can affect your weight
You’ve probably heard that stress and disrupted sleep both make it harder to lose weight. Hormones are released in response to stress that can increase fat storage. Finding ways to let go of the past may help reduce stress levels and therefore moderate those hormones.
Second to this, taking the approach that it’s okay to experience negative feelings may let us become more tolerant to feeling uncomfortable at other times. This can also translate to other areas of your life.
Think about the discomfort of that tightness in your chest when you begin your fitness journey. The burn in your muscles as you make them work for you. The time and energy to prepare healthy meals from scratch. The discomfort of pushing yourself to get out of your warm bed in the morning and into the cold air to go for a walk.
Of course over time you may find that you learn to love exercise, cooking, shopping for healthy foods, planning out your week. Many of us won’t feel like this at the start however, and reverting to what we are comfortable with. Eating our favourite foods, snacking when we get stressed, sleeping in instead of working out, or picking up takeaway and watching shows instead of cooking healthy meals.
Where is your energy going?
Are you holding a grudge towards someone or something? Consider how much of your energy this is using up. Making the choice to put it all behind you will free you up to channel your energy elsewhere. Perhaps towards making positive lifestyle changes for yourself?
Letting go of a grudge doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to forgive and forget, but more that you aren’t going to let the actions of anyone else dictate the path you are heading down. They say that the living well is the best revenge, but perhaps it’s just that the more progress you make yourself, the more positive experiences you have, the less you dwell on the past actions of others. Instead your thoughts have been diverted towards being healthy, fit, and feeling confident.