Emotional eating goes out the window with holiday stress. And so does losing weight. The real holiday stress is not the rushing around, but the uncertainty of your plans working out.
Sure there is the hurridiness, the pressure to get something done, and the anticipation, but aside from all that there is uncertainty. Uncertainty that all your plans will work out well and everyone including you will be happy as a result of all that you are doing. There’s uncertainty that you’ll get the right gifts–uncertainty that you’ll project a great image at the company Christmas party–uncertainty that you’ll even find the gifts you’re looking for. There’s uncertainty as to how you’ll pay for them or what you can afford. Then there’s uncertainty as to whether you remembered everything you had on your “to do” list. Uncertainty as to whether all your guests will show up or get along and behave.
Unlike hurridness, frustration, anticipation, and the pressure (or anxiety) to get something done that are fleeting feelings, uncertainty is an emotion that lasts 24 hours a day seven days a week until the plans are all finished and the holiday season over.
A close running emotion is anticipation which I’m sure you can see can be closely tied into uncertainty. It’s real easy to be into emotional eating.
Anyway losing weight or experiencing weight loss is but impossible unless these raw emotions are dealt with
Actually anticipation and uncertainty can be lumped together. But the bigger question is, “OK, how can we isolate them and leave emotional eating out of the equation?” Should we put losing weight and weight loss on the back burner for the holidays?
Uncertainty, what do you do with it? This is where you will find the weight loss experts totally in the dark as they never even think of that emotion. Sure, ask them what to do with boredom and they are replete with tons of advice such as:
1. go exercise.
2. chew on celery.
3. call a friend.
And if they actually thought about uncertainty, they’d probably give the same advice plus maybe things like:
1. Have faith in yourself.
2. Don’t worry, everything will work out.
Think about it. Doesn’t this all boil down to the same thing, “do something about it?” 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. Feeling out of control about circumstances.
2. Being unsure of yourself.
3. Being unsure of external events and others.
And if we can not let it be that you’re unsure of yourself and others, 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 which leads to emotional eating) let’s first acknowledge it and how we feel about it.
I’m feeling uncertain and I dislike it or hate it.
If you can not let it be that you don’t have control of everything or are uncertain, you’ll do something about it and what you’ve been programmed since childhood to do about uncertainty is eat. That’s right, emotional eating. Lacking faith in you or not letting go of worry–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. Since childhood we’ve been programmed to to avoid uncertainty at all costs. Programs such as:
1. You shouldn’t feel uncertain–everything will work out.
2. You should be in control.
Make your own list of beliefs you have about uncertainty. It’s these attitudes and beliefs that you’ve acquired the make it difficult to experience and feel 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 emotional 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 planned event (the thing you lack control over).
Of course ultimately as you feel and experience uncertainty you might call a friend to discuss your worries, find a way to trust in your abilities, or something else but it won’t be to escape uncertainty.
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 emotionally eating your planned events. You then have an opportunity to move beyond “I have an eating problem” to “I have a problem when I’m uncertain of my plans working out as planned”
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.