These words came straight out of the mouth of a client whom I’ll call Sandra, as we were discussing an amazing experience she’d had that week.
Sandra and I had been working for several months on her self-esteem, body image, eating behaviour and weight. Like so many women, once she experienced the benefits of looking after herself with healthy eating and regular exercise, Sandra really wanted to stay consistently ‘on track’.
But she found herself ricocheting back and forth between periods of being very self-disciplined with diet and exercise followed by periods of overeating and inactivity.
Through our work together, Sandra recognised that she used food to stuff her feelings down. She could keep to her diet and exercise regimen for a while through sheer willpower, but then her pent-up feelings would erupt to the surface and drive her to overeat. Then she would fall into a pit of guilt and self-loathing, feel too tired to exercise and regain the weight she’d lost, remaining in purgatory until she could take control again, only to repeat the whole cycle.
Needless to say, this process is utterly exhausting and demoralising and Sandra is not unique in experiencing this.
There is a better way. That better way is to start LOVING yourself slim, instead of hating and punishing yourself into weight loss. This really means you need to ‘love the body you’re in, to get the body you want’.
When you learn how to love and nurture your body with nutritious food, self-affirming thoughts and methods of emotional release that respect your innermost needs, your body responds by ceasing to crave the unhealthy foods that keep you overweight. Instead you will actually desire to eat healthfully!
Weight loss becomes an effortless consequence of transforming your relationship with food and with your body, rather than a goal that you arduously, unceasingly strive to reach.
Anyway, back to Sandra’s story. A customer at work had given her a box of chocolates – a double-layered box no less! Her old pattern of behaviour, as she recounted to me, would have been to sneak off to her office and devour the chocolates one by one until she’d emptied the whole box. Then she would feel horribly guilty and disgusted with herself.
But this time was different. She opened the box, surveyed its contents, and realised to her utter amazement, that she had absolutely no desire to eat even one!
Instead, she found herself thinking, “I don’t want that in my healthy body!” She passed the box around to her staff and even while she watched them eating the chocolates, she still felt no desire.
Of course, like all people who’ve struggled with emotional eating over many years, Sandra was worried this profoundly liberating experience might just be a ‘flash-in-the-pan’. So I took her through an emotional freedom techniques process known as ‘tapping in’, in which we replay the triumphant experience in our imagination, while repeating affirmations such as “I’m so proud of myself for achieving this transformation”, “I love this feeling of freedom” and “I love knowing that my body desires only healthy food”.
‘Tapping in’ anchors the physical, emotional and mental aspects of the positive experience deep into our unconscious minds. When we repeat tapping in on a regular basis, we create what I call a library of resource states, which we can dip into when we’re feeling challenged and need to reconnect with our inner resources. It’s a crucial element of transforming our relationship with food and our bodies for the long run.