Monday, December 14, 2009

The Real Holiday Stressor

In my last post I identified uncertainty as the real holiday stressor that leads to emotional eating which of course makes losing weight difficult. So what does one do with uncertainty? This is where you will find the weight loss experts totally with their mouths hanging open and a quizzical look on their faces.

Unlike boredom where they have tons of advice, uncertainty is an unknown. I've never heard a weight loss expert talk of it or even write about it. It's easier for them to think of it as worrying so their advice would be something like:

1. Don't worry so much, everything will work out.
2. You just have to trust your self.
3. When you notice yourself worrying, rub a worry stone.

Think about it. These and a hundred different other options boil down to one thing and that is "do something about uncertainty." Escape it, run away from it, convert it to something else.

It all makes perfect sense, right?

Maybe I can put a slightly different twist on uncertainty. Uncertainty is the result of:
1. fear of plans falling through
2, poor or inadequate planning

And if we can not let it be that our plans might fall through or that we have poor planning, we will feel uncertain.

As opposed to denying it, trying to escape it, or convert it to something else (any one of which we might eventually do) let's first acknowledge it and how we feel about it.

"I'm feeling uncertain and I dislike it or hate it."

Now if you can not let it be that you are uncertain, you'll do something about it and what you've been programed since childhood to do about uncertainty is eat. That's right, eat. Not to rub a worry stone, trust yourself and so on--no you'll grab a comfort food.

This is all because we resist uncertainty. When you allow you to feel uncertain, it disappears and you no longer have to use comfort foods to dilute it.

Ok, so let's just experience and feel uncertain. But it's not that easy. We've also been programed since childhood to avoid uncertainty at all costs by worrying. Programs such as:
1. If you're not worried about something, then it doesn't mean anything to you.
2. It's not worth doing unless you worry about it.

You can make up your own lists of beliefs you have about uncertainty. It's these beliefs and attitudes that you have about uncertainty that make it difficult for you to feel and experience uncertainty.

The good news is that as soon as you allow you to experience uncertainty, it disappears, but as long as you resist it, you will have to do something about it such as binge eating.

Let's take it to another level! Now if you can not let it be that you are uncertain and you munch, what are you eating?

Symbolically you are eating the event that's associated with your plans.

Sure the end result with feeling and experiencing an emotion might be that you end up trusting yourself or something else but it won't be to escape uncertainty, it'll be as a result of having faith that you'll handle anything that comes your way.

Now if the end result is the same, you might ask why deal with uncertainty? It's because to be successful with uncertainty, it's important to acknowledge that you are diluting the emotion by eating the planned event. You then have an opportunity to move beyond "I have an eating problem" to "I have a problem trusting my abilities to handle future problems that might occur."

You are now directed to the stressor itself and can stop blaming your over weight condition on food. Plus when you actually experience uncertainty, it's gone and so is the need to dilute it.

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