In working with people in handling the self sabotage that comes up around food habits and weight loss I realize more and more that often a fear of failure is well disguised as a fear of success.
Here's how it works often.
Someone comes to me and really wants to take off stubborn weight but can't stop the habits that sabotage that reality like excessive cravings, over-eating, eating the wrong foods for them or at the wrong times, getting into motion in other ways and doing anything they need to in order to heal their bodies.
The frustration is about the weight, but the weight is literally a symptom of something else: the reasons they are in self sabotage in the first place.
Many people will start from the level at which the self sabotage appears: fearing foods, wanting to handle cravings, change diets, exercise like mad, or do a cleanse, you name it but if the anxiety or emotions causing the problem are not dealt with we can't do it.
Here is an example of how this works.
My client "J" had family in town recently that she has extremely challenging relationships with. There are current issues and of course, past issues from childhood.
The consequences of having them in town for her was emotional overwhelm and what do you think the symptom of that was with her food and health habits? Here is how she reported the result to me:
I just couldn't handle the restrictive diet anymore and resist the sweets after dinner. I don't know why, it just seemed too hard last week.
This same client had been flying through making health changes and literally changing her life for the entire year before with a combined nutritional approach and emotional work. I knew she had been deeply triggered by family in a new way for her to feel this way since she was happy with it before.
(Side Note: I do not recommend restrictive diets to clients, but many will see anything as "restrictive" if it doesn't include foods they love if there is a need for food to solve an emotional need.)
When we tapped on all of her feelings about the specifics of what bothered her with her family, all of her feelings about food shifted. The "pull" was no longer there to use food.
Every Action Has Meaning
Everything is perfect just as it is in this moment. Every action has meaning, but we often don't understand it from a intellectual stand point.
Our emotions are incredibly powerful to create our desires (addressing them for this client had helped her move mountains in her life, work, family and health over the last year.) However when we don't address the subconscious emotional experience it will cause havoc and this is where the cake, sugar, or whatever else we crave becomes irresistible.
I see this pattern repeat consistently. Making the unconscious conscious and letting it go to create a new possibility is the way to create true success with any goal in my experience. What we feel and then think is more powerful than we know many times.
This is why one of the most powerful food "rules" many food psychologists and holistic health professionals will recommend is to slow down when you eat and relax. What are you feeling before and during meals?
Healing is simple, and the best tools are very simple I think. Staying conscious when we are upset, stressed or anxious may not be easy, yet that is the goal for long term healthy weight loss without having to hate food and feel constantly restricted. The good news is not just health and weight loss however, but an opening to more joy throughout someone's whole life.
San Francisco, California, US
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of AAMET International.
Originally published on Aug 23, 2014.