Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.
40,000-49,999 SparkPoints 47,759

The Path To The Holy Grail- Regaining Emotional Balance Part 1 of 5

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Regaining a sense of emotional balance is one of the 4 principles of what I call the Holy Grail, the key I found to finally succeeding with my weight loss goals.  When, not IF I fail in my efforts, I return to these core principles and start over.  I am not invincible, just committed to the cause. I struggle with emotional weaknesses. Failure has been a part of my journey just as potholes are a part of any road. These principles have carried me through the fire of a 117 pound weight loss over a period of 4 years and will continue to lead me to victory. These core principles have also given me the fortitude to finish numerous running events from the 5K to the Marathon and continue to do so.  No brag here but I have learned a thing or two about what it really takes to gut it out and my only motive is to pass on the torch. From the ability to regulate your core environment comes the self confidence needed to accomplish what seems like the impossible.

To recap, the 4 principles of finding the Holy Grail are:

1) Emotional stability
2) Drying out, recovering from food addiction
3) Reprogramming the reward center
4) Mastery of response-ability, exercising the ability to choose your response in the face of stimulus.

This is the first of five blogs on what it took for me to regain emotional balance.  

One of the reasons I feel that I have made it as far as I have is because I began a process that led me to a place of greater emotional balance. Much of this was unplanned but it seemed to be a part of my hearts natural emotional cleansing process. I didn't realize what was happening until I looked back in retrospect and I began to see a pattern. My emotional healing took the following pattern.  This is not an all inclusive list, this is just where the path seemed to take me.  The key principle is to pursue the things that bring emotional balance however that is defined for you.

My journey toward emotional stability

1) Journey to the root of the problem.
2) My Relationship With The Scale And The Binge.
3) Self Talk.
4) Realistic Goal Setting.
5) Independence.

-Journey To The Root Of The Problem.

This journey is far more than simply losing some unwanted pounds.  I was emotionally battered and I didn’t even realize it since I had developed so many unhealthy coping mechanisms. I would eat to suppress and then simply laugh it off.  My usual reaction after walking away from the buffet with yet another heaping plate was to shrug it off and with a laugh say "oh well, diet starts tomorrow" or "relax pal, I'm defeating anorexia one egg roll at a time".  Behind the smile and jovial sense of humor, was someone who has lost touch with himself in a really big way.  

So many times when I was working out, I would have emotions that would erupt from out of nowhere. I would feel like I was on the verge of tears, not because I was over exerted but rather is was because some unknown, repressed emotion from some past hurt was surfacing. I found myself taking laps in anger and it boiled over where I would be acting out a confrontation with someone while walking, angrily grumbling to myself. That was a form of hostility and hidden resentment that was trying to get out.  I had to give my heart what it was looking for, some much needed release and resolution . I needed to recognize what was happening and submit to the process. 

It took a long time but I am convinced that self introspection and dealing with the issues is one reason why I lasted as long as I did. You may put out the flame but if the coals are still burning, the fire will reignite when the right fuel is applied.  What I thought was going to be yet another attempt to lose weight became a transforming, inward journey.  This, I believe, is where so many fast track ways to weight loss fail totally. Aside from goofing up your metabolism and such, people that strip off a lot of weight fast rarely get to the root of the cause. It takes time to work through the issues. For me, the weight was an outward sign of an inward problem.

Sometimes it hurts and when food has been used to soothe inner pain, the process can be threatening. After living a life of avoidance, it was difficult for me to face issues. Like a boil, it would come to the surface until one day it was lanced by confrontation. The resulting tears were cleansing to the soul.

I have found that when the feelings come, let them come with all that they bring with them. Releasing myself emotionally has been a big part of putting out the fire that has been driving my binges. Unresolved anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and anxiety can take on many forms and can be deceiving as to their origins.  I had to go through the uncomfortable process of confronting past hurts and those that inflicted them but it promotes the  healing necessary to bring about a sense of resolution and stability.

I am convinced that attempts at losing weight when emotional eating issues are at work will be doomed to failure if this is not part of the process. Layer after painful layer must be addressed and dealt with. 

Next - Emotional balance part 2 - Relationship with the scale
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Still interested, will continue to the next blog. Nice work!
    1301 days ago
    1352 days ago
    Thank you for this post. I too am dealing with a lot of emotional issues and am extremely emotionally sensitive. Ive been working over the last year on the emotional aspects and while my weight has mostly platuead and ive gained a couple lbs i know that im still healing and will start to lose again when im more balanced. Wishing you much success on your journey. emoticon
    1416 days ago
  • v ANDASI
    I cry reading this because i know it is the truth i have been there felt these emotions and i was ufamiliar with them. Working out hard with intesity and feeling all these diffrent feelings and my body is changing in front of my very own eyes to something i allways longed for and wanted. I am no longer sedated by food. And i feel confused i dont understand what it means to have all of these emotions and feelings my confusion tells me why do i cry so much i should be happy im suposed to be happy i look in the mirror and i see what ive allways wantd why do i cry so much why do i have so many deep feelings. I got scared i didnt understand so i went back i went back to numbing. I now am coming to understand better and reading someone else going through this it tells me that it is ok and normal to have all these diffrent emotions and feelings. It is complicated loosing the weight is not just happiness yes you get high from all the energy of the exercises and the clean eating but with this high this happiness also comes the emotions and feelings i understand now. I havent really heard anyone put this in words before this way and i am so glad that you have because even if one person in the world understands youre experience then you know that it is real and you can accept it. I can accept the depth of my feelings and emotions now and know that it is suposed to be this way right now. No more confusion just acceptance of what is.

    1416 days ago
    A friend has recommended your blogs to me and I am so pleased that she has - for the first time I can relate to what you are saying and am ready to start my journey. I look forward to reading your blogs and thank you. emoticon
    1453 days ago
    I completely agree. Weight loss is not just about getting the weight off fast but about figuring why you put it on in the first place and changing coping mechanisms. After years of pushing down/ignoring my feelings I had to finally allow myself to feel (and not numb with food).
    1460 days ago
    I can really relate to what you are saying. I'm taking steps now to learn to be proactive rather than reactive and there's still a lot of my past that I need to confront. Thank you for your advice.
    1471 days ago
    Thank You!

    I cant get enough of these blogs. I need them and will read them over and over.
    1481 days ago
    Hi, Robert. I was interested to see that while you were running these feelings emerged. I once was told by a masseuse that some memories are stored in muscles and that massage of the muscles often brought those memories to the surface so they could be dealt with. Maybe your running did the same thing. Your blogs are very interesting and inspirational. Thanks. emoticon
    1481 days ago
    Good stuff! emoticon
    1482 days ago
  • v 505ANNAP
    You are right, right, right!!! This is experience talking.

    Over the course of about 3 years, I lost a little over 100 lbs. My father was dying an agonizing death and my spouse was away at school through most of it. I started my weight loss as a way of distracting myself because if I did not focus on something other than the misery my Dad was going through (and I was watching), I was going to loose my sanity.

    Roll forward in time. My Dad's race was over and my husband was home and I was actually thin (thin for me, anyway, at 5'9' I was at 203). I looked great (in clothes; naked was another story). I had energy to burn and was feeling terrific.

    I began to have a bizarre medical problem and was prescribed steroids for treatment. No matter what I did, the weight did not budge. Then I had to have shoulder surgery and rehab for that, which took every bit of energy and will I had to get well.

    Long story short, it's been 1 and 1/2 years since the surgery. I gained back 67 pounds. I finally got a diagnosis and care plan for my bizarre medical problem, which includes daily exercise (not optional) and the option to clean up my diet again or face bariatric surgery.

    I thought I had dealt with my emotional baggage but know now that I haven't. The failure of my success has shown me how incredibly important it is to figure out what's eating you so you quit eat everything else. I'm trying to figure it all out. It's complicated but I know no one can do the work but me.

    I am optimistic that I'll get there but now know that it doesn't matter what I look like on the outside if the inside is wrecked. Do the work. It's not fun, but it's the only way to get the weight under your control instead of it controlling you.
    1483 days ago
    I cannot say thank you enough to express how much I appreciate you being so raw, so real. I woke up thinking about driving to go get a greasy, not good for me biscuit. Literally, after reading this, the thought of that makes me go yuck and I want something healthy, something that has actual nutritional value. I am worth it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    God bless!!!
    1484 days ago
    WOW! This sounds a lot like the book I've been reading by Geneen Roth ("Women, Food, & God). So happy for you that you found the courage to dig deep to get to the core issues so you could release the excess weight. Keep up the AWE~some work, Robert~ *hugs* BB~ emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1486 days ago
    This is so true! I can so relate! Thanks!
    1486 days ago
  • v SPIRIT42013
    I can't read this enough! I could have written it almost verbatim.

    Keep those coals burning!

    1490 days ago
    So, so true. I am so glad I found your blogs. I am sharing them with my whole BLC team on here. Thank you ever so much.
    1490 days ago
    This is great stuff! It definitely will cause me to have some reflection inward to get to the root of why I gained the weight that I did. Thanks!
    1491 days ago
    thank you so much for this
    1493 days ago
  • v SPIRIT42013
    I have to admit, it's someone else's fault..... NOT!
    1494 days ago
  • v SPIRIT42013
    This is where I'm at! (yea, I know. good English too!)

    1494 days ago
    I am happy I waited till I really had the time to read these blogs. Very well written and thought out. It sounds like you really got to know yourself during the 4 year process.
    1494 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/28/2012 3:59:43 PM
    All of your observations are so true and so well said. I can relate.
    1494 days ago
  • v AMURDOCK68
    Thank you again. I too am reading your blog posts out of order, but intend to read your entire series. It helps us all when a member of our community can put experience into words.
    1495 days ago
    I'm so glad I am not alone!!!
    1496 days ago
  • v URSULA125
    Thank you for taking the time to write this. I also am glad you took the time and hard work it must have taken to get deep inside yourself and get in touch as you did. I hope I can do the same.
    1500 days ago
    You're tackling the hardest one first. This emotional part of the journey is a war I'm still very actively battling. Stressed out, stuck on a plateau and trying not to resort to old bad habits. I hope one day to come through on the other side like you. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone and that this is just one more piece of the puzzle to success.
    1501 days ago
  • v SSYEAW
    I am still in the whiny stage......thank you for this positive blog.
    1502 days ago
    Very powerful ~ and so true. I don't think I got to be where I am in terms of my weight just by chance or second helpings. Food became my means of softening life's bumps and bruises and taking away the sharp edges of grief and loss. Until those emotional issues are recognized, addressed, and healed, while I can lose the weight (and have), the minute I'm faced with something difficult and overwhelming, I go back to this kind of warped default programming that I've acquired to deal with emotional pain. You said it ~ programs that are focused on diet and exercise and don't get to the reason why some of us use and abuse food are band-aid solutions at best. You have wonderful insights. Thank you!
    1503 days ago
    Well said!
    1503 days ago
    I understood every word well said
    1503 days ago
    I can't even begin to describe what this means to me. reading it was like reading about myself. I am comforted, amazed and challenged by this and I thank you greatly.
    1503 days ago
    Thank you for the insight. You have such a gift in writing that inspires.
    1504 days ago
  • v SESHAW0227
    I read your next blog first and had to go back to this one. I felt like I was writing this to myself. Thanks for this.
    1505 days ago
    That was excellent... well said! Next?? emoticon
    1505 days ago
  • v COCO29
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You articulated exactly what I've been trying to convey to my obese family and friends. I went through this process and I came to the exact same realizations that you did. I would not have been able to organize it the way that you did. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. We all need to see this. It is a food addiction for most of us and I have come to find out that it's something that I will need to manage for the rest of my life. I lost 105 lbs by 2006 because I began to deal with the root cause. HOwever, I've been dealing with the emotional aspect for the last few years and I regained 18 and lost 12 then gained 3 then lost the 3, etc. I needed to see this in writing right now as I'm dealing with these emotional issues. At this time, I'm about 11 pounds up from my total weight loss but I know this is emotional eating. I've told my friends just that. I have to deal with what's bothering me and then I can move forward. emoticon Just reading this blog has brought up the emotions and tears. I needed that. emoticon I apologize for the length of my comment.
    1505 days ago
  • v GRACED777
    How true. I have been dealing with emotional issues from the past forty or more years again for the last 3 1/2 years. Some have been coming to almost closure, and some are getting along. They have really helped fuel my weight issues. The only time I can really work on weight is when I am dealing with "my stuff." A stroke four years ago (which I'm still working to recover from) is what started my latest emotional healing journey. God bless your sharing--may it help change our hearts!
    1505 days ago
    Oh so true! You have really "hit the nail on the head" as the saying goes. When I find myself using food to suppress anger or hurt or frustration or whatever "bad" emotion is boiling up it's like a train wreck, over before I realize what hit me! So many blogs I read here don't seem to have dug down to the "why" of eating too much. Thanks for putting it out there, look forward to the rest of the series.
    1505 days ago
    Wow! What a wonderful true look at the weight loss process!! Thank you so much for sharing! :)
    1506 days ago
    You really identified the four elements quite nicely. It was an "oh, yesh, THAT makes sense" moment. You are wonderful!
    1507 days ago
    I am right there with you. There are times when I'm working out when I want to cry, when I want to scream, when I want to lash out or even punch someone! The weird thing is, I never feel like this in classes...I don't feel it in Zumba, or at's only when I run. It really is the best therapy in the world!

    Great job working through your issues! I can't wait to read the rest!!
    1508 days ago
  • v TTAYLOR43
    Wow. God bless you.Everything you said is true. I am on this journey too. I am finding out so many things about myself that I did not know. I can't stuff my emotions any longer. Thanks for sharing.
    1508 days ago
  • v KATV865
    Wow that resonated so strongly with me! I can't wait to read the next installment.
    1511 days ago
  • v GINA180847
    Thank you for the experience of your blog postings. Others have said what I feel and no need to regurgitate but again Thank you!
    1511 days ago
    Great blog as always - thanks for putting into words what so many are unaware of or just plain don't have the courage to put out there. Looking forward to reading 2-5,
    1512 days ago
  • v VKULON
    I was touched not just behind the message of your blog but the fact that as a man you were able to both come to term with your emotions and express them. So many of us have unresolved negative emotions (betrayal, abuse, etc) that we "stuffed" inside with each mouthful. You are totally right in stating that meaningless weight loss without dealing with the root/emotional cause is doomed to fail. I have just started on this journey 2 months ago with 9 pounds down but it is not about numbers, it is about losing emotional weight because once this is gone, the pounds will go naturally.

    1512 days ago
    This is amazing and inspiring. Looking at emotional issues in depth puts so much in perspective, especially when it has to do with our relationship with food. Thank you for sharing so much!
    1512 days ago
    wow... i am in awe with your blog. it's as if you have taken all of the words i have been wanting to say, and posted it for me. the part that you mentioned about "So many times when I was working out, I would have emotions that would erupt from out of nowhere. I would feel like I was on the verge of tears, not because I was over exerted but rather is was because some unknown, repressed emotion from some past hurt was surfacing. I found myself taking laps in anger and it boiled over where I would be acting out a confrontation with someone while walking, angrily grumbling to myself. That was a form of hostility and hidden resentment that was trying to get out."

    It's like you climbed into my soul and understood me. This is such a powerful blog, and I am sure it relates to so many more people. Thank you for posting this, and for being such a HUGE inspiration to me just now.
    1512 days ago
    This is universal! What a great blog. Emotional eating is the number one obesity issue for some of us. I have (over)fed the inner child for a LONG time, but never let her feel. My emotions always came out in one big cathartic event as a teen. After deciding that was unhealthy I started to suppress emotions. Worse.

    My blood pressure skyrockets when I am letting people walk all over me.
    1512 days ago
  • v FITMOMMY18
    Thank you so much for sharing and putting into words what so many of us need to hear! Most important sentence in there... you can put out the fire but the coal still glows and the fire will reignite with fuel... emoticon
    1512 days ago
    Yay! I can't wait to read parts 2-5. And, you certainly express yourself beautifully in written word. Congrats and the journey!
    1513 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment
    Member Comments Page (131 total):  1 2 3 Next >

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.