As we navigate this journey called life, many of us acquire ideas that hinder us. Ideas like we should never be uncomfortable or we should avoid discomfort. Or everything should be easy.
Then we turn these ideas into beliefs, and that really gets us into trouble. It causes disappointment. It causes us to get stuck. It impedes our growth which can keep us from achieving true joy.
Maybe you have beliefs like those. Maybe you don’t even know where they came from.
Maybe they were based upon something that wasn’t even true. For example, as a young man, Parker held the belief that when he turned 18, he would be a finished product. He was done with growing and maturing. He knew all he needed to know. Parker also believed that when he settled down and got married, life would be easy. He would be happy without having to work at it.
Where did Parker get these beliefs? He wasn’t sure about all of them, but his belief that life should be easy was based upon his observation of apparent harmony in his childhood home. The problem was that he was unaware of the real dynamics and problems his parents had because they kept that hidden. He got married young, divorced soon afterwards, and years later, began questioning these beliefs.
Do you have beliefs that have caused you such unrealistic expectations?
Beliefs that keep you from addressing your problems and growing as a person?
I run into this with my weight loss clients all the time. Some have this expectation that they should never have to feel discomfort. The reason they are overweight is because they got into the habit of eating whenever they were experiencing unpleasant emotions. So instead of dealing with whatever is going on in their lives, they try to avoid the uncomfortable feelings by eating even though they aren’t hungry. They give their body food it doesn’t need, and that becomes fat. I tell them that they are using food as their binky. And they still haven’t dealt with their emotional issues.
So we overeat for comfort, but of course this never works. We’re only comfortable as long as the food is in our mouths. (Read How to Stop Your Brain from Telling You Lies here)
The process of change actually requires some discomfort. (If you are someone who hates change, click here to read about that.) If you’ve been using food for comfort, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to find a better way of dealing with the emotions you’ve been avoiding. Doing that will be at least a little uncomfortable.
The good news is that by actually addressing those issues in a constructive way, you will grow as a person and your life will improve. For example, let’s say you’re unhappy in your love relationship. That is uncomfortable. Instead of either addressing your issues in the relationship or ending it, you eat, supposedly for comfort. Eating does not change anything about the relationship, it just makes you fatter.
Are you willing to feel some discomfort?
On the other hand, if you endure the discomfort of not eating when you feel negative emotions about your partner, you’re forced to face your life and actually do something that will address the problem one way or another. Imagine what solving both problems will do for your self-esteem!
In my Facebook group, Ditch the Diet Tribe, people regularly talk about their struggles with discomfort. Work is too stressful, they have too many obligations, things like that. Instead of eating when stressed out, I encourage Tribe members to be willing to feel the discomfort of not eating when they aren’t hungry, and to look at ways to actually deal with the problem at hand. Sometimes, all that involves is changing their thoughts about the situation. I know first-hand that eating because your job sucks doesn’t make your job better. It just makes you fatter, less healthy and more miserable.
If you’re willing to feel some temporary discomfort, you will be rewarded with a slimmer, healthier body. Your brain, in trying to be efficient, knows that when you’ve got too much to do, you usually eat, and it will subtly urge you to do that. But every time you are willing to question your belief that you have too much to do or that eating will make the situation better, and choose to feel what is really going on in your life, it works to change your brain. Studies support this. Over time, the urge to eat will disappear and not eating when you are very busy or upset will become effortless.
When the people I’m working with experience that, they are amazed because they arrive at a place they didn’t even know existed!
If you eat to avoid discomfort, get my free guide, 8 Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss here. You too can arrive at that place where you realize that you no longer think about eating when you aren’t hungry. That’s when losing weight and keeping it off is easy.