The Emotions of Weight Loss

I came across a very interesting article on the emotional obstacles to weight loss.More and more studies are showing that for weight loss and lifestyle changes to be sustainable, the emotional aspect also needs to be taken into account.

An excerpt:

From my own perspective, I’ve worked with many people who honestly felt they didn’t deserve to be healthy, to be beautiful, to be happy. Every effort they’d made in the past to lose weight and improve their wellbeing had been sabotaged by psychological ghosts. Negative self-talk got the better of them even after they’d experienced substantial success in losing weight and/or achieving other health and fitness goals. When a number of these folks combined emotional work with their lifestyle changes, it was like the air cleared. Not overnight, but over time.

Ways of addressing emotions linked to weight loss:

Self-awareness through journaling & being conscious of your self-talk.

Social support through friends and family or online forums.

Replace food with self-care by identifying the triggers to emotional eating. For example, if food is used as a means of comfort, take care of yourself in other ways, such as getting a massage or taking a bubble bath. If food is being used as a way of adding sweetness or pleasure to life, learn to be gentler with yourself and seek other sources of pleasure.

Feeling emotions rather than numbing them with food is an essential part of the process – this can be done through a relaxation technique, journaling or by talking to someone.

In order to let go of excess weight, letting go of what is no longer needed is essential. This can include old habits and ways of nourishing oneself (on a physical and emotional level), outdated, negative beliefs (ex. ‘I don’t deserve to be thin’), the need for protection (ex. ‘If I lose weight I will get attention from the wrong men’).

Finally, losing weight implies shedding an old identity. And even if this is an unwanted identity, humans are naturally loss-averse, and what we risk losing feels more tangible than the seemingly distant identity we have to gain. Losing weight implies trust and faith in the new identity being created.


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