May 30, 2008
This is a comment for everyone who has responded to this last blog entry. Thank you for taking the time to ask your questions and describe your situation. There are some common themes here. Most of you describe and understand your emotional eating patterns quite well, including the conflict between your.desire and need to be at a healthy weight and your desire and need to continue eating in the way that you have been as a kind of compulsion and self-medication. You each ask, in your own way, what can possibly help? You've tried so many things that don't work for very long and even when they do you go back to the old ways when life throws you a curve. One of you even mentioned that being married has its own stresses and can be a very important cause of weight gain. Others mentioned medication which causes weight gain and the changing metabolism around the time of menopause.
This is all true. These are the kinds of things that trigger weight gain. But what stops you from mastering these things and being able to control your weight despite these things is the fact that you feel defeated and no longer believe you can help yourself or that you can be helped by anybody else. When that happens, you retreat to the familiar remedy which doesn't work. You start looking at and asking me what you should eat because you stop thinking about Why you're eating. Although nutritional information is important and contributes to your weight control success, it's not the key to controlling your weight. The key to controlling your weight is learning a new way to control your emotions, and especially the emotions that occur during transitions in your life and when you are under a great deal of stress. That is your challenge.
You simply cannot learn how to do that overnight. Even a good therapist may not be able to help you do that because most do not understand the many layers of emotional eating conflict because that is not their specialty. You have to sort this out piece by piece and step by step and that is why I created the shrinkyourself program and wrote the shrinkyourself book. It is a process in which you can reach the goal but you will have to put in effort and there are times when you will have to struggle. At the end it is worth it. Even if you have diabetes now, the loss of weight can actually make the diabetes go away or diminish the need for medication.
I want to leave you with a clear understanding that despite your specific situation you all share the same struggle, and that is to learn how to think and understand yourself better so you don't have to use food to shut off your mind. It can be done, but it is a process. It's not what you eat but why you eat. Once you have become an emotional eater, there is only one way to lose weight and keep it off, and that is to break that very destructive eating habit.