Get the Past Off Your Plate if You Want to Lose Weight
Getting the past off your plate may be the first thing you need to do if you want to lose weight, otherwise nothing else will work, according to author Brenda Crawford-Clark.
Her book "Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions" builds on the concept that core feelings connected to past experiences continue to trigger the use of food. The author helps readers identify when they first began eating or skipping meals as a way to get out of or to stuff those painful feelings such as loneliness, depression, guilt, fear, feeling not good enough or empty. Written by a therapist with more than 15 years experience, it features compassionate, real-life stories and prescriptive exercise to draw readers through a process that stops the continued interference of these feelings, and thus stop the need to reach for food.
The author also examines several possible contributing factors to food and weight issues, including trauma, physical and emotional abuse, loss, family issues, difficulties in handling conflict, allergies, hypoglycemia and chemical reactions within your body. Crawford-Clark provides a website "forgetaboutdiets.com" for additional support.
Her descriptive stories are drawn from composites of people she has worked with, except for that of one, Karen, who asked that her first name be used in "Body Sense" as yet another way of taking ownership of the changes she has made. She first began using the author's techniques in her mid-thirties. An incest survivor, she had suffered from extremely poor body image and unhappiness about her weight since childhood.
"I could not even go out to eat without being afraid people would make fun of me because of my weight," Karen said. "I let the scales tell me how to feel. I let my ex-husband dictate who my friends were and what I did. I was afraid to stand up for myself and tell him how I felt, for fear I would lose him and be all alone."
Karen said she noticed a dramatic change in her life when she began to stop the interference of overwhelming feelings from her past. Food and a focus on her body image was a way she had learned to gain solace, push down feelings of guilt and give herself a power surge. As she worked through the "Body Sense" process, she found new energy and was able to break old behaviors by slowing down, acknowledging what she was feeling and using the newly learned techniques to change.
According to Crawford-Clark, dieters are often sabotaged by a resurgence of
core feelings linked to past loss or trauma. "Something triggers a similar feeling
today and they experience the intensity of feelings that were felt during the
long ago event. Naturally they will try to get out of that feeling as quickly
as possible and many people defend themselves with food," she explained.
"Among those core feelings are guilt, fear, loneliness, judged, rejection, unworthy, out of control or controlled, bad and something is wrong with me," she said. "Diets and weight concerns actually reinforce those feelings eventually causing you to sabotage the diet to regain control."
Numerous experiences can contribute to the development of those core feelings, including abuse, childhood bullying, being an overweight child, chronic illness, accidents, death, miscarriages, abortion, financial strain and even loss of a dream, according to Crawford-Clark.
"However, once you identify the anchors to your weight struggles, then examine the current connections you can stop that interference in your life. Add that new strength to what you learn about your body's unique physical reactions and the workings of neurotransmitters and you'll soon be able to put aside restrictive diets," she said.
Karen, whose concern about her weight had developed into bulimia, said she
not only has dropped her weight worries but has achieved many goals she had
not thought possible.
"Never in my life would I have imagined I could feel this wonderful and as calm and peaceful inside," she added. "As I completed the exercises, little by little my hope increased. The negative chatterbox is gone.
"I am learning to go out to eat and just enjoy the company of a friend. I do not have to be conscious of everything I put into my mouth," she said. "I do not have to wonder if everyone in the room is looking at me when I leave the table. Now I say, 'What of it?" If I believe someone is looking at me, I smile. I think it's because they sense in me a change. They want what I have."