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.
-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