It’s the time of year when many people are trying to stick to their new year’s resolutions to lose weight and battle hunger, but are getting frustrated by slipping back into old, unhealthy habits.
The simplest and most effective way to lose weight is just to eat healthier and eat less. But simple isn’t always easy. How do you stave off cravings for unhealthy food? This issue is one that affects many women and even slows them down from achieving all they can be in their life, because it causes them to be distracted by negative feelings or a negative self-image.
Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi, the authors of “Super Brain,” reveal a fascinating insight that could help many of us to lose weight. They explain in the book how our pre-programmed brain prevents us from doing what our conscious mind wants us to do. The authors say when we decide to eat, it is generally for one of two reasons: Either we are hungry, or we are pacifying feelings.
If we are hungry, we generally eat until we are full (not stuffed). If we stick to healthy food, we shouldn’t gain weight.
If we eat because we are craving sweets or bored or nervous or it’s put in front of us or any other reason besides the pang of hunger, we often eat unhealthy food to excess. The authors say our brain pushes us to eat to pacify negative feelings, and we need to train our brain to find new pathways to express those feelings.
Chopra and Tanzi say when we express positive feelings, we generally do that by sharing those feelings with others — love, respect, kindness, etc. They say when we have negative feelings, we must release them in order for them to leave us. If we simply pacify them, they remain in our minds just as toxic substances can remain in our bodies, and they can be just as destructive.
So how do we release negative feelings? The authors did not say. I have my own theories based on my experiences.
I know when I’m really angry, I yell. And I usually continue to get louder and more angry until I can direct that anger into an action that I feel will solve the problem — like forcefully taking my son’s computer after asking him to turn it off over and over again.
Obviously, this is not the best way to deal with negative feelings. Because of my outburst, everyone in the house is on edge and feels bad. Perhaps, I’m not really releasing my negative feelings at all. Perhaps my negative feelings aren’t against my son but against myself for letting him have the computer so close to bedtime. Maybe yelling and taking electronics is my way of pacifying the feelings I have against myself.
So what better ways would there be to release negative feelings? In my life, I’ve often turned to writing to put negative feelings on paper, which seemed to release them. Other people may talk about negative feelings and release them through discussions with a close friend.
And some turn to food. But eating is not releasing negative feelings, as the authors explain. It is only pacifying those feelings. So you keep eating when you are not hungry – again and again and again – in a futile attempt to release those feelings.
The authors say if you are unhappy with your weight, then every time you are about to eat, you must determine whether or not you are really biologically hungry; if you are not, then they say you are pacifying feelings, and you must acknowledge that out loud.
Once you adopt a desire to only eat when hungry and only eat healthy food, it becomes easier and easier to say no to unhealthy food. No matter how good it might taste, it’s just not in the realm of possible choices if it’s not healthy. And once you verbalize this over and over to other people, they stop offering you donuts in the break room and cake at a birthday party. The commitment to push away from the temptation turns out to be sweeter than the treat itself, once you realize your weight is dropping, your health is improving and your self-image is on the rise.