Janet Cunningham, Ph.D. and Judith Valentine, Ph.D.
Later that morning, Jane’s boss bolts out of his office, report in hand. He looms over her and slams the report down on her desk. In front of her staff, he bellows, “This is not at all what I expected. How could you turn in such garbage! It’s the worse report I’ve ever read.” As he storms off, he shouts, “I don’t have time to discuss it now; see me at the end of the day.”
Jane sits shocked, speechless, embarrassed, and is shaking inside. Realizing that her staff is watching, Jane masks her honest feelings by holding in the tears, disappointment, and anger. She stoically walks out of the office and unconsciously heads straight to the candy machine.
Suppressed emotions are the missing link to successful weight loss. Overweight people have learned to conceal their feelings, emotions, pain and hurt in order to mask their tender natures. That sensitive nature is not valued in our society. In fact, it is often demeaned.
Even our language tells us that emotion is negative. Look up the word “emotion” and you will find synonyms, such as: zealous, flowery, gushy, melodramatic, absurd, bizarre, crazy, foolish, frivolous, goofy, illogical, impossible, inane, insane, irrational, loony, lunatic, mad, muddled, nuts, preposterous, ridiculous, silly, touched, wacky, zany, and mental. With such negative attitudes permeating our society, it is no wonder so many people stuff down emotions with food or other addictive behavior.
Our emotional nature is just as REAL as our fingers and toes. Being sad, happy, disappointed, angry, or fearful are honest reactions to life circumstances. Emotions such as these are a link to inner guidance, the channel to our spirit or higher power. We usually regret it when we ignore our gut feelings, another name for intuition. When we don’t follow intuition, we disconnect from our highest wisdom or power. This is a true power source that we can access. When we draw from that source, we can sustain motivation, strength, and determination to achieve goals, such as appropriate body weight and overall health.
Jane’s default response was to mask her true feelings. Her trance-like trip to the vending machine was automatic and served to suppress her reaction to what had just transpired. In doing so, Jane forgot all about the diet she began on Monday.
The most important shift we can make towards weight management is to acknowledge and honor our emotional nature. We are more successful with long-term weight goals when we are conscious of our emotions. When we are alert to our feelings, we will observe why we are eating as well as what we are eating. Awareness is the first step to change.
Staying true to our emotions connects us to the wholeness of our being and contributes to the integration of our body, mind, and spirit. In that state, we are alert to the present moment and attuned to our higher wisdom. We no longer mask our highest power—we allow it to shine through us.
Drs. Cunningham and Valentine are co-authors of the recently published Weight Solutions: The New Body-Mind-Spirit Approach, a workbook that combines nutritional knowledge and a balanced eating program with an opportunity for self-reflection into the root causes of one’s issues with weight control. The authors have a combined experience of over 50 years of research and consulting in the fields of nutrition and weight loss counseling. For more information, visit www.Trafford.com