Navigating Strong Emotions While Trying to Lose Weight (Lent Day 7)

When I was a little girl, I used to love to visit my grandmother.

She cooked. And she didn’t just cook, she baked. And she didn’t just bake, she fried. And she didn’t just fry, she roasted. Cooked, baked, fried, roasted, whatever she made, it was GOOD.

My sweet grandma with her father, Tony, and some of her goodies that I still make to remember her.

Because I come from a large family, we fought to grab as much food as we could at any given time. If you didn’t think fast, you lost it.

I would often overeat when I was little, but there was no motive behind it. I was simply a little girl with a lot of food at my disposal, and since my grandparents and parents came from cultures where food showed loved, that’s what they did.

However, as a teenager, my relationship with food took a turn for the worst.

My parents had divorced, and my father was living about 30 or so minutes away. I hardly ever saw him. Meanwhile, my mother was off working nights, leaving me alone much of the time to fend for myself.

Before my mother would leave, she’d sometimes stop at the Chinese restaurant and grab a Styrofoam container full of food for me. Or friends would bring me fast food some nights when they knew my mom wasn’t there.

My dance teacher would let me grocery shop with her and would buy me chips and food to eat.

I started overeating more frequently, but I didn’t realize I was doing it. It was as if I couldn’t grow satisfied. Even to the point of being stuffed, I was still hungry.

I had a hole in my heart, and I was filling it with food.

When you’re young, you don’t always know the reasons you do things. Understanding why I was overeating took me decades.

In fact, I didn’t realize how badly I was managing my emotions using food until I became sober.

When I stopped drinking, I started eating more. And that’s when the AHA happened.

So how did I fix this?

Well, I didn’t at first. It took a while for me to understand my patterns.

But once I figured that out, I simply watched myself, as if I were on the outside looking in.

I noticed that where I had normally come home from work and poured a glass of wine, I was now coming home from work and immediately stuffing my face with food.

I was sitting on the couch, and mindlessly grazing YouTube, or sitting on my deck and mindlessly scrolling social media.

I was using food, TV and/or social media to distract myself from stress and anxiety.

Once that lightbulb went off, I had to go to work fixing this problem.

One thing I immediately understood was that I couldn’t just give up my escape. Doing that would immediately send me back and probably worse, in no time.

No. Instead, what I needed to do was set a limit. In short, I needed to reparent myself.

Little me, just trying to be loved.

I’ve written about reparenting before. It’s how I dealt with trauma in my past.

It’s a good tool to use to go back and understand why you do what you do.

Because trauma happened to me in the middle of a very crucial time period in my life, I missed some of the “normalcy” markers that children my age would have.

One of those was learning to tell myself no.

Understanding that the word “no” is a good thing, not a bad thing, is one of the most important lessons a woman can learn.

What I came to learn about myself was that I had not been allowed to say no as a child, felt deprived as a teen and didn’t want to say no, and now, as an adult, I didn’t understand how useful the word could be.

When I reparented myself, allowing me to lovingly and kindly tell myself no, then a whole bag of chips became a handful.

Two hours watching TV became thirty minutes.

Walking replaced, scrolling through social media.

And slowly but surely my mindset changed.

Changing our mindset is the single most important way we navigate strong emotions while trying to lose weight.

Learning the why behind our what is crucial to change.

See you soon,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s