Emotional Intelligence and Your Weight Loss Potential
Hey there everyone,
Hope this post finds you well and happy and keen to sharpen your ‘weight loss skills’. I truly believe it is ‘skill power’ and not ‘will power’ (okay, maybe a little of both) that will help you on the road to weight loss success! So grab yourself a cuppa (today’s post is a little long) and make yourself comfy and when you’re ready, read on……
Do you ignore your emotions? Bury them? Deny them? Suppress them? If so, you could be heading for trouble. At the very least, you may be subconsciously sabotaging your own weight loss efforts.
Now that’s a bold statement to make. And a true one. Nearly everyone of us would readily admit to eating when we feel ‘stressed’- a broad term, often used when we are actually feeling angry, disappointed, let down, rushed or time poor (feel free to add your own emotions to the list!). Think of the last time you ate chocolate and you might have a personal example right there.
It is a well known tenet in the world of weight loss coaching, that those negative, uncomfortable feelings, left untamed and unexamined, are often a trigger to poor food choices.
So what to do? Well, first up it is important to recognise that emotions are not just sensations that float randomly around our bodies, causing us to feel good or bad. Rather, emotions are an important part of your intelligence. They are your subconscious mind’s way of telling you that there is something going on in your life that you need to pay attention to!
They are, if you like, your ‘sixth sense’.
Next is the process of ‘getting in touch with our emotions’- a new age phrase, I know, but it basically means we should look for the underlying message our emotions are sending.
Here are a few of the universally felt emotions and a few suggestions of what they might mean for you.
As I don’t know you personally, I will leave you to ‘fill in the details’ in regard to your own personal circumstances. As a starter, however, let’s take a look at the ideas below.
1. Anger is usually a sign that one of our own ‘rules for life’ or our personal boundaries has been crossed or violated. The message here is to take action for what we believe is right, or in some instances, to simply accept the things we can not change.
2. Frustration often arises when we are not achieving the level of results we think we should be or perhaps, not achieving it as quickly enough for our liking. In this case, the message is to take some time to reflect upon your committment to your goal and perhaps to take a look at your strategies for getting there. After that, you can choose to recommit to your goal, drop it (not if it is your weight loss goal!) or perhaps change your personal strategy.
Slowing down and looking at the successes you have already made will also put you in a more positive state of mind.
3. Guilt and Fear are also messengers, if you can choose to see them that way. Guilt’s message if often don’t do it that way again and do whatever needs to be done to put things right. It usually comes when we are not living up to our own individual standard of conduct.
Forgiving and accepting yourself for ‘being human’ (and therefore not perfect) is a great way to turn guilt into a harmless messenger. Whatever you do, don’t give guilt any more emotional energy by turning it into fear !
Fear itself, though often a warning of impending physical danger, can also just be an uncomfortable thought that something might go wrong. Often it’s message is just to be prepared. This may involve learning a new skill (so that our confidence grows) or just taking quiet note of the ‘be prepared’ message and then, taking the relevant action.
Remember Rule Six
Rule Six is a great tool for lowering the intensity of any emotion. It is simply this – don’t take yourself too seriously. Emotions are to be respected and listened to, yes, but obsessing or focussing on them too much can be just as damaging as ignoring them completely.
A good axiom to keep in mind is the following – ‘Nothing is ever as bad as it seems!’
Emotions and Food
Now for the good news for us weight loss acheivers. Here it is – being aware of your emotions and learning to manage them more effectively can be a powerful weight loss tool.
And here’s why – as alluded to early, much research has pointed to ’emotional eating’ as a behavioural trait that is common to many overweight people. We all do it, to some degree or other, but the wisdom is in knowing the difference between eating for hunger and pleasure as opposed to burying ourselves in food, drink or sometimes drugs.
In it’s extreme form that is exactly what some people do. At the lower end of the scale, it may be something as simple as buying yourself a ‘special treat’ when you feel down or out of sorts. Both cases entail an ‘untamed ‘ relationship between you, your emotions and your food choices.
So next time your emotions signal your attention, why not take some time to listen to them, before you reach for that chocolate, alcoholic drink or salty, fatty snack food.
You might just feel a little calmer and save yourself a few calories as well!!
Oh and BTW, ‘rewarding’ yourself is a great self care tool and please don’t think I am opposed to ‘giving yourself a treat’. We all deserve personal rewards (in fact we need them) – however it makes better ‘weight loss sense’ to make those treats non-food related.
Instead try buying yourself a bunch of flowers or booking yourself a massage. Maybe just soak your body in a luxurious hot bubble bath ?
Rest, rewards and relaxation are essential – it’s just a healthier habit to make sure they don’t always involve food.
Thanks for reading this far – if you’re still with me after this lengthy read, you deserve a reward. I’m going to make myself a cuppa….
Ciao lovely friends,
Mon ( )