When emotions really DO control your body.
You’ve gone paleo. Or you are counting your calories (and you’ve cut those in half!). You’re doing the 5:2 diet where you barely eat for two days. You’re on some ‘super shake’ meal replacement.
You go for long walks most days. You go to the gym and lift some weights. You head along to group fitness classes. Yoga. Pilates.
The weight initially starts to come off, then nothing. Plateau. So you eat less and exercise even more. To the point you’re feeling burnt out and just damn sick of this whole weight loss thing and still the scales don’t budge! Why can’t it be easy!?
Because maybe, you’re one of those people who’s brain’s are actually trying to help you (although it may not feel that way to you!) and that is what is keeping you in your current body.
Let’s take a step back in time. Prehistorically, there were three basic ways we could die: famine, freezing or being eaten by a predator. Your ‘lizard brain’ – the oldest part of your brain who’s in charge of fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing-up, and fornication, is trying it’s best to keep you safe. It doesn’t want you to die from freezing, from starving or from some man-eating lion. So it has some built in responses for when you’re stressed to keep you safe.
Under stress (from the perceived threat of famine or freezing) it lays down fat around your organs, as you could afford to lose a limb and still survive, but you need your organs to still function. It wants to keep you safe and alive. Your lizard brain doesn’t understand that your stress these days actually comes from the fact that you have a high pressure job, or are having relationship trouble, or that you are an exhausted mother, the list goes on….
It therefore becomes extremely challenging to first lose weight and then keep it off if you are stressed emotionally. If you emotionally do not feel safe, then you will continue to remain fat! Again, your brain does not ‘see’ what your stress is, it just knows that you do not feel safe (through hundreds of chemical changes in your body being sent to the brain) and what does it want to do then? Protect you! How does your brain do that? It adds down more fat to keep a barrier between you and your threat. It is getting this message, “I feel safer being fatter because at some conscious or unconscious level, I actually believe that I am safer being fatter”. So you literally get bigger and bigger to protect yourself. It’s the physical barrier for the emotional barrier you are putting up inside yourself.
Where does this emotional threat come from that is working against you in your battle to drop the kilo’s?
Some common themes are:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Mental and emotional abuse
- Violation of boundaries (fat symbolically widens your boundaries)
- Hiding from the world (inside your large ‘shell’ of a body)
- Bigger means the Boss – The Big Chief syndrome
- Rebellion as a form of power and control against others
- Becoming unloveable (if you are losing weight and your spouse isn’t you might not be loved anymore)
- Betrayal (If everyone in your family is fat and then you no longer were it would feel like a betrayal)
- Negative attention
- Using fat as an excuse (I’m too fat to get a job, I need to lose the weight before anyone will hire me)
Along your weight loss journey, if you don’t start dealing with the emotional issues that are keeping you fat, you’ll be banging your head against a brick wall and setting yourself up for failure. Again.
You need to release the stress, the fear, the underlying reason, that is constantly telling your lizard brain to stay fat; That fat is good. Fat is safe. That I believe I’m safer when I’m fat…
Now that you’re reading this, your reason might jump out at you and smack you in the middle of the face! Or it might be long since buried deep and needs to resurface in order to be released. If you are then struggling to let go of your emotional reason, or emotions that are keeping you trapped in your current body, seek out a trusted professional to help you.
Heal your emotional state of well-being and you can help to heal your physical state of well-being.