Many people hide in the “comfort” of food, in an attempt to avoid or escape negative emotions. Maybe something bad happened at their job, somebody said something hurtful to them, or they feel somehow like they did not measure up.
The old internal critic begins to fill their minds with thoughts and they begin to punish themselves. Somehow, at least temporarily, comfort foods seem to stave off this inner critic and those ensuing negative emotions. But after the food is eaten, the critic reappears, and not only scolds them for the prior action, but also chides them for overeating. The vicious cycle continues.
When we escape negative emotions with food, we call that “buffering.” It feels good for a while and we temporarily avoid an unpleasant emotion.
But what if we think about these emotions in a different way. What if we allow and even welcome them? What if we just sat with them, felt them in our body, did not react, did not try to suppress them, but just let them be there with us?
What could we actually learn from them? What is the wisdom they wish to convey? As we watch them with curiosity, could they lead or guide us?
Could emotions such as fear or frustration, actually be indicators of areas in our life where we need to take action? What if fear is a beacon illuminating necessary steps that need to occur?
As I began my weight loss, I remember being afraid of getting hungry. I was afraid I would become weak and not be able to function in my high-stress job as a forensic pathologist.
But as I sat with this fear and continued in my resolve to eliminate eating the highly refined boxed breakfast cereal every morning, I surprised myself as I continued to work, maintained my energy, and handled the stress without fainting or falling back on my old eating habits. Eventually, this new way of eating became the norm. My work did not suffer and I was able to move forward with my weight loss.
So what about you? In the next few days, could you dig in deep and really start to think about what actions scare the pants off you. But also imagine if these actions were the key that would unlock the door to the life of your dreams? You would probably have no problem doing them. So why not use this thought to move you forward? Does going to the gym scare you? Do it. Does talking to that handsome guy or beautiful girl scare you? Do it. Ask for that raise at work? Just do it!
All of our feelings come from thoughts that we hold in our mind. And because we create them, we are free to challenge and to change them.
So focus on those areas in your life where you are holding yourself back. What are you really afraid of? Is it true? Why not make a commitment to do something that scares you on a regular basis? Feel that fear, anxiety, or discomfort; let it sit with you; then do what you need to do.