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

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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
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v LINDAK25
    Wow! You're right. You have given me something to think about. We do hide behind food and our weight. I can't wait to read your next blog. Thank you.
    1540 days ago
  • v OPTIMIST1948
    For those of us who have seen your before pictures, DONT BE AFRAID TO BRAG/ REPORT YOUR SUCCESSES. That's the wonderful thing about the SP community. We collectively LIFT each other up.

    And is it a coincidence that I just typoed LIFE instead of LIFT in the previous sentence?
    1540 days ago
  • v STEPHE_44
    Great blog! Looking forward to reading more
    1540 days ago
    Loved this blog!

    "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."

    How can you not take something away from this blog with statements like that? Profound my friend! emoticon
    1540 days ago
  • v CANNIE50
    So much wisdom here. I have found exercise to be the best form of therapy - I have left a lot of tears along a lot of trails. I have sorted through resentments while running. I have strengthened my emotional state while strength training. I will continue to stumble, and get back up. When I am actually dealing with whatever is going on, I lose the desire to eat compulsively. When I let my life "pile up" and I am avoiding what needs to be dealt with, my cravings for excessive food come back with a vengeance. Thank you for writing this brave blog. You are very inspiring. PS Don't worry about your fitness pursuits coming across as bragging. It's not bragging, just reporting.
    1541 days ago
    Excellent post with a lot of wisdom. Thank you.
    1541 days ago
  • v SAC-6582
    Great post!!! What an inspiration!!!
    1541 days ago
    What an amazing entry! Thank you for writing it, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
    1541 days ago
  • v JILLKH37
    Great post!! Thank you for sharing this! I'm new here and this really touched me.

    1542 days ago
    you inspire me on so many levels.
    1542 days ago
    Very well said, I am the same way, knowing I need to uncover and try to release the past pain/hurt/anger/anxiety...I don't know how exactly to release it though....I too have been overcome with emotion during work-outs, Tears running down during yoga class...Or running along muttering angrily to myself (I know I must look CRAZY!) how does one exactly "let go"??? Your blogs that I have read are SO well written and I think will have a wonderful impact on anyone who reads them! I have a question for you though, regarding "drying out" and ending food addition...Did you go through some sort of fast or cleanse to "dry out"? I've been on spark people just under 2 weeks, and I've been good about logging food and any type of exercise that I've done. I think if I stick with this it will help me-Your blogs are VERY inspirational. I see the choices I am making are still not always the best food choices, but some days I still don't meet my caloric requirements....I know I need to break this comfort eating pattern, but having a VERY difficult childhood, and life in general, It's a lifelong habit to break...thank you for the meaningful and well written blogs!
    1542 days ago
    stay strong spark brother!!!
    1542 days ago
    add me to the list of emotional eater. I deal with anger, frustration, and hurt but mostly the feeling is one of being truly lonely in that I don't have anyone special in my life to share it with. Thanks for the blog. It helps me.
    1542 days ago
    "Emotionally battered." Wow! You put into words what was done to me. Now I know. Wow! Let the healing begin..................

    s you for sharing.
    1542 days ago
    This is exactly what I've been dealing with the past few days is hitting that wall of emotion. As I grew up in a traditional German family where stoicism is king, it's still difficult for me to express emotions in a healthy way, and for years, I turned to food to simply supress them and take me to a "comfortably numb" state. Now that I don't have the food, although I am now 4 months + into my weight loss process, I'm at a loss at times.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It is truly appreciated.
    1542 days ago
  • v KENLEE30
    you are right on.thats what I found out,you gota push through you have to change you way of thinking before you change your way of eating
    1542 days ago
    Great blog. Thank you for sharing. Your thoughts hit home.
    1542 days ago
    Very well written message. You put my feelings into words thank you. Keep up the good work and maintain your right attitude. You will go a long way in this world when you have everything under control. If an occasion arises that something would come to a head and surface fight it and concore your fears and resentments. You have done a fantastic job with your life so far keep it up! Lucinda emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1542 days ago
    WOW. Thanks for writing this. I believe I´ll begin my emotional housecleaning today.

    I had an alcoholic friend who died because of alcohol. She had almost conquered her drinking, when a worker tried to rape her. It returned her memories of childhood experiences, and sh literally drank herself to death.
    1542 days ago
    Your words are profound, as usual. I am in the middle of struggling with another cycle of binging, being out of control with food and intellectually I know that there is another level of emotional house-cleaning that needs to be done. I just don't seem to be ready to discover what it is. Your honest and articulate blog will become a touchstone for me. Thank you, Robert.
    1542 days ago
  • v BUSY_BEE68
    I cannot thank you enough for this blog. Timely for what I am challenged with at this point of my "recovery."
    1542 days ago
  • v CAROLZ1967
    Good blog! I wonder if this issue is often more of a hurdle for men, as they tend to keep their feelings & emotions in check. Women are usually better at showing and working through emotions so I am thinking it might be easier for us to accomplish this one. So I'm glad you wrote about this issue, as I think it might be very key for many or most men struggling with losing weight and sticking with it. I know my own husband has been on and off the: exercise/eating better/healthy lifestyle numerous times and I think this "topic" is a big part of it. Maybe I can get him to read your blog! Thanks for your insights.
    1542 days ago
  • v WANT2BEFIT10
    Amazing blog...I found myself nodding in agreement; I have been in that place where I'm working out and all of a sudden tears are hovering near the surface and I don't know why. I think part of why I haven't yet reached my ultimate goal, is because I have yet to resolve the emotional issues related to food. Thank you for writing this!
    1542 days ago
    You, sir, are so very, very right. Thanks for putting this into words so eloquently.
    1542 days ago
  • v BLUEJEAN99
    I agree! emoticon
    1542 days ago
    I do all those same things.
    Such a good Blog
    1542 days ago
  • v RUDITUDI2000
    Thanks for posting these "holy grail" blogs. Never give up! emoticon
    1542 days ago
    Very good points here, exactly what I had to do to recover from inner pain and transform my body! Congrats to you and keep up the great work!!!
    1542 days ago
    Wow, sound advice.
    1542 days ago
    Emotional weakness.
    I was thinking that very thing this morning.
    I know I suffer from it but how do I conquer it?
    I can't wait to follow your blogs.
    emoticon emoticon
    1542 days ago
    I've had these unexplained emotions on multiple occasions. They're much less frequent, but they do still happen. Great blog!
    1543 days ago
  • v JEM0622
    Great blog! I look forward to the next editions! For me, each thing that added a layer took time for me to reach peace. I really didn't start my true journey to lose and keep it off until I came to that place. I am grateful for self coaching. emoticon
    1543 days ago
    Very thought provoking.
    1543 days ago
    Your experience gives a new meaning to being afraid of success - because success requires work, and some of what needs to be done to experience success is something we - I! - don't want to deal with. I don't want to relive those emotions, recry those tears, or bubble over with anger - again! Some days we need to be reminded of the hard parts. Thank you for reminding us this is a journey that will end in futility if we don't confront the cause.
    1543 days ago
    1543 days ago
    You are a truly deep individual that most if not all of us can learn from.
    1543 days ago
    Thanks once again emoticon . Thing like your blogs are what keep me hanging around Spark. It IS sooo much more than losing the weight. Most of us have done that over and over and over again. It is about learning to live happy, healthy lives, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally and for me....that's a life long journey. Glad to be on it with YOU!!!
    1543 days ago
  • v DEBK0923
    1543 days ago
  • v LAINYC
    1543 days ago
  • v CM_GARDNER78
    I am in love with this series of blogs!! I wonder if because I haven't gone through anything remotely to what you talk about here, if that is why I am struggling so hard? I can't seem to do it - and I feel like I try so hard....yet nothing seems to change? I'm not exactly sure why - but I can say that I have never confronted my past issues at all. I am sure that if I were to seek them out, it might be the beginning? Either way, it's giving me something to reflect on as I continue to struggle with weight loss.....or lack thereof!
    1543 days ago
    That makes so much sense. Shortly after starting on sparkpeople, I had been doing exercise and dieting for a couple of weeks. I was cleaning my kitchen when I was home alone and almost burst into tears thinking about something my mother did to me when I was young. I choked it down and turned on some music and put the emotions into cleaning. I didn't k now why it had come up into my mind and I just figured I was "dwelling in the past", which is what I am always told whenever I want to talk about something my parents did when I was younger instead of hearing me out and dealing with it. Although it didn't drive me to a binge or anything, after reading this, I now realize maybe I would have done myself a favor if I just cried it out. And will do so if it ever comes up like that again.
    1543 days ago
  • v MOMMY445
    what an amazing blog! looking forward to the next one!
    1543 days ago
    I enjoy your blogs. This one, in particular, is right on.
    1543 days ago
  • v HEARTS116
    Thank you for sharing!
    1543 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1543 days ago
  • v CICELY360
    Good blog.
    1543 days ago
  • v NCSUE0514
    Right on!
    1543 days ago
  • v LRBUSS
    Amen! I think you've hit the nail on the head! After many years of doing the "yo-yo", I have finally realized there must be something much deeper leading me back to my old ways.
    1543 days ago
    Thank you for sharing! You have a way of getting right to the core of the matter. I'll look for your next blog. They are great!
    1543 days ago
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    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.