Reprocess Your Thoughts and Emotions
By Andrea Wachter
Because we are loving ourselves as holistic beings, it is equally important that our mindful eating habits not only take place in our actions but also our thoughts and emotions. If we don’t take the time to heal both, we risk returning back to where we started. So, this week Andrea encourages we take the time to “heal what you feel” and “upgrade your unkind mind”. What helpful tools do you think foster this kind of healing in your life?
Heal What You Feel
As you let go of restricting and rebelling, the feelings that you may have been avoiding with these behaviors will begin to surface. If we are not distracted by the fantasy of weight loss, white knuckling at mealtimes, or rebellious binges, we are left with an array of emotions that are natural and necessary to feel in order to heal. Learning to tolerate and compassionately welcome difficult emotions until they pass is a skill, just like learning to ride a bike up a steep hill.
The good news is that you can get better at dealing with feelings and you can learn from experience that once your painful emotions pass naturally, you do not have to stuff them down unnaturally. You will begin to experience what it’s like to get to the other side of the “hill” and coast for a while until the next uphill challenge that life brings.
Becoming willing to tolerate and cope with painful emotions until they pass naturally will help you release the need for dieting and/or overeating. And just like learning any new skill, you will get stronger and better at it over time. As challenging as emotional pain is, the lovely parting gift of welcoming feelings is that you will experience firsthand that all feelings and cravings will eventually pass. You will also get to reap the many benefits of an eating disorder-free life!
Upgrade Your Unkind Mind
Most people who restrict and/or overeat have what I refer to as a very loud Unkind Mind. After all, it is usually body hatred that leads us to diet in the first place. We are essentially promised by the media that if we lose weight, we will like ourselves. But if that were true, most dieters would lose weight and live happily ever after—and the diet industry would shrink as satisfied customers went along their merry way. What usually happens to dieters who lose weight is they either live in terror of gaining it back and remain obsessed with food, or they overeat and gain the weight back and the unkind thoughts remain.
So what do you say we do a little upgrade and start inserting some Kind Mind thoughts into your internal computer? Instead of the chronic pop-up thought that says, I will like myself when my body changes, how about something like this: I will try to like myself right now and as a result of self-kindness and self-care, see how my relationship with food changes.
If you can work on liking yourself or at least being kinder to yourself, you are already one step closer to what you think you would get if you had the body you wanted. Of course it’s fine to want a healthy body but the main reason people want to lose weight or change their shape is because of how they think they will feel if they did so. So the key here is beginning to go for that feeling now. And not only does self-care and self-kindness feel better but it will lead you to treat yourself better which will mean less restricting, less overeating and a Kind Mind!
For more on mindful eating, check out The Center for Mindful Eating.
This blog was originally published on recoverywarriors.com
Andrea Wachter is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-author of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Breaking the “I Feel Fat” Spell as well as The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook. She is also author of the upcoming book, Getting Over Overeating for Teens. Andrea is an inspirational counselor, author and speaker who uses professional expertise, humor and personal recovery to help others. For more information on her books, blogs and other services, please visit www.innersolutions.net.