Mindset and body coaching to overcome emotional eating
Hi, everyone. Lucia Veracruz here, and welcome to our fifth training lesson where we cover How to accept the part of you that you want to change and Judgment of self.
In our previous lesson, we talked about Separating emotions from food, Regulating emotions, Mindfulness and Mindful eating.
The most important part of those lessons is to implement what you have learned and start being mindful about the emotions you are feeling and try separating them from food.
Today you will learn why not accepting and judging yourself is one of the biggest reasons people find it extremely difficult to change and grow.
What we cover today summary:
- How to accept the part of you that you want to change
- Judgment of self
How to accept the part of you that you want to change
Accepting yourself and your situation with your mind, body and actions and with a commitment to change is a doorway to long-lasting emotional freedom!
This can be confusing because on one side I am saying I don’t want you to stay the way you are and I am encouraging you to change and on the other side I am saying, accept all of yourself just the way you are at the present moment.
It might feel like I want you to give up…
But here is what acceptance actually means:
Acceptance is a form of kindness and compassion that stops the “blockage” and leads to a willingness to change allowing the body to release your weight and let go of the burdens that you are holding onto due to unacceptance.
Acceptance comes from a Latin word “to take” which means that in order to reduce suffering, we must take away= accept the pain.
This doesn’t mean that you need to resign and enjoy feeling pain, it just means that you need to practice self-respect and being kind to yourself regardless of what shape you are in with a commitment and willingness to change.
Acceptance means choosing the right actions that make us feel good rather than being stuck in judgments about what is right or wrong.
Partially accepting yourself, like when you look in the mirror and you accept some parts of you but not the whole of you, will not lead you to emotional freedom.
If you find it extremely challenging to accept yourself right now, just think of your mind as you and think of your body as your child.
How would your child (body) respond, if you didn’t completely accept it and love it as it is?
Sad or maybe even depressed, unsatisfied, not wanted, not loved, unmotivated, tired, wanting to rebel and misbehave…
And just imagine how would your child (body) respond, if you loved it unconditionally with compassion and without judgment?
Loved, wanted, worthy, happy, humble, energized, motivated to do better…
So remember, without accepting your body as it is right now, the body will not want to do any better!
Your body is probably thinking: “What’s the point trying if nobody loves me anyway?”
So, love yourself and your body right now as it is to motivate it to do better!
If you keep unaccepting yourself like you have been doing until now, it will only get you what you have right now.
In order to change, change the way you think despite the voices in your head, accept and love your “child” body unconditionally!
If your mind is trying to accept while your body is resisting (frowning, slouched shoulders, clenched fists), you might feel like something is “blocking” you or like you are “heavy” with the burden of unacceptance.
To practice acceptance, it is important to consciously change your physiology by changing your body (smiling, calm face, back straight, hands open, palms up) and mind which will allow you to release control, let go of the emotions and feel lighter.
Willingness vs Wilfulness
Acceptance is having the willingness to accept our current situation by being proactive regardless of the outcome rather than fighting or attempting to control it by being reactive.
If we are willing to experience our emotions, then we can accept them.
Wilfulness is having our own way which comes with intolerance, rejection and passivity in an attempt to master, direct, control or manipulate our life.
Wilfulness is like wishing our problems away, it is like saying yes to commitment and change, but always finding a reason why we can’t…
You may wish to end your emotional eating and lose weight but are you willing to actively accept your current self, body and situation and participate in the process of changing them?
Are you willing to change your mindset and habits to achieve the goals you desire?
Attempts to control some situations especially when they are out of our control (like aging) or too rigid can be sometimes ineffective.
Like if you try to control your food by restrictions, you are more likely to lose control and binge eat because your body will want to compensate for the deprivation.
That is why is important to understand and remind ourselves that there are things we simply cannot control and then there are things we can.
Things we can’t control:
- Having cravings and urges to eat.
- Turn off our emotions on demand.
- What other people do (what they eat, what food they will bring to our house or offer to us).
- What other people think or say about us or how they treat us.
Things we can control:
- Willingly working on our mindset by doing the lessons and homework.
- Willingly buying healthy nutritious food to have at home.
- Willingly not buying foods that make us feel “empty” and lead to binging.
- Willingly being organized to make time to exercise and meditate.
- Willingly being kind and compassionate to ourselves and others.
We often choose worse strategies to deal with our issues (like trying to control what we cannot or suppressing emotions with food that just creates more intense negative emotions) because we are familiar with them instead of using new ones from the fear of unknown.
So how can you accept the side of you that you want to change?
How can you accept the “dark” unwanted side, the lazy, unmotivated, unhealthy, overweight part of you that is the opposite of what you desire to be?
Let go of the idea to be perfect!
First, you must understand that everything in the universe has two sides.
There is day- night, long- short, hot- cold, good- bad, happy- sad, balance- imbalance, healthy- unhealthy, generous- greedy, kind- mean…
We can only measure sides by comparing one to another. If we never had night, we would never have a day, because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to and then we would not “label” it as day.
If there was no cold, there would be no hot, because, without hot, we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to.
Simply put day- night is just light, long- short is just length, hot- cold is just temperature and happy-sad is just a state of mind, etc.
One cannot exist without the other.
Perfect humans don’t exist, there is no one in this world who is 100% good or 100% bad, or 100% happy or 100% sad or 100% healthy or 100% unhealthy, etc.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll say:
“Oh well I am just the way I am, I accept it, there is nothing I can do about it and that’s it…”
But what you need to say instead is:
“I might not like that side of me right now, but I still accept myself as I am because I am not meant to be perfect, I am meant to be whole.”
This will allow you to grow and create balance in every area of your life.
Only a “whole” person can achieve balance.
Once I started to accept that I cannot be perfect no matter how hard I try, I was able to achieve all those things effortlessly.
And even now being free from all my addictions and having control of my actions and emotions, I am not 100% balanced and I am far from perfect.
On some days I have more treats than on others, it’s never the same, especially when it’s that time of the month and I am hormonal, tired and grumpy.
On those days I might have a bit more chocolate and even add a bit of ice cream but the difference is that I don’t binge and I don’t feel bad about it and I definitely don’t dwell on it.
I just enjoy it and then move on.
In the past, I would feel so guilty that I had “too much” dessert that I would just keep eating, thinking I “failed” and “screwed up” so might as well keep going and start fresh tomorrow…
But being a perfectionist will only lead you on a path of “self-destruction.”
Nobody is perfect and as much as we try to be the best we can and do the right thing most of the time by being healthy, selfless, honest, hardworking, loyal, helpful and kind we also need to accept that sometimes we can be a little bit unhealthy, selfish, dishonest, lazy, disloyal, unhelpful or rude.
Let go of a need to be perfect, accept and love yourself just the way you are right now with the good and the bad to create the balance you want.
We spend so much time feeling guilty about losing control, wishing that this feeling would go away, not realizing that it is there, so we can learn from it and reach our highest potential.
We are not here to be perfect; we are here to be whole!
Judgment of self
In order to grow and change we need to let go of tendencies to judge and control which can create pain and can affect how we feel about ourselves and the people in our lives.
Sometimes our habitual judgments can feel so real we begin to believe that they are facts even though they may not be effective.
So, it is important to remind ourselves that our thoughts are not facts.
And that is why we need to practice replacing our judgments with factual statements.
E.g. You can replace judgment: “I am not attractive” with a factual statement: “Beauty is subjective”.
You will know whether you have genuinely accepted all of you just the way you are, once you are able to be non-judgmental towards yourself and others.
When you get to that place of being free of judgment, nothing anybody (including yourself) could ever say or do, that would “drive you up the wall” or make you feel extremely guilty, mad, angry or disappointed.
These extreme emotions rise from judgment about how people or we should behave.
This doesn’t mean that you will turn into a “robot” without emotions.
It is necessary to acknowledge your emotions and to allow yourself to feel a bit sad, a bit disappointed, a bit upset or a bit angry but what is not ok, is to suppress your feelings with food because you think you will not be able to manage them.
Being judgment-free is a place of peace and balance, understanding that the only way humans can be complete is by being imperfect.
Every time you judge someone, and you strongly disagree with them, step back and understand that you are feeling angry because they are mirroring a side of you, that you have denied, and you don’t want to accept.
While you judge anybody, that means that you judge yourself and when you judge yourself you create a war in your head that you cannot win which will make it impossible for you to let go of your old ways and change.
Breaking the habit of judging anyone is super challenging because each cell in your body is telling you that you are right and they are wrong, thinking that your beliefs are facts.
Saying things like: “I would never do that…”
First, you need to understand that there are always two sides to every story and we all have our version of the truth.
So if you judge lazy, unhealthy, overweight people or if you believe that people will judge you for that, or if you get angry if anyone judges overweight people, it means that you are judging the lazy, unhealthy, overweight side of you.
Accepting that part of yourself doesn’t mean you need to become that person, it just means that at times you can choose to be lazy because it is impossible to be healthy and motivated 100% of the time.
So next time you get angry at someone who hurts you or “pushes your buttons”, catch yourself and say “I can be that too sometimes, I am just a human being, I am not here to be perfect, I am here to be whole.”
Let me tell you an example of how I practiced being free of judgment:
After I have accepted the unhealthy, overweight and lazy part of myself, I have noticed other areas of judgment started to pop up.
If someone would call me a liar or if someone would lie to me or to others, I would get furious, judging all the liars.
I lied in the past which caused a lot of heartache, misery and guilt, so I have decided to deny the liar in me and be 100% honest, focusing on never lying ever again.
There were situations where I could have easily lied and probably most people would, but I was determined to always tell the truth…
I went to another extreme by not accepting the liar in me which meant that liars would bring up a lot of negative emotions.
So, I had to practice thinking “I can be a liar too sometimes as I am not here to be perfect, I am here to be whole.”
This was really difficult because it seemed like I was lying to myself by saying that.
This doesn’t mean that it is ok to lie or that I should lie, it just means that sometimes there are situations when it’s better to hold back the truth…
For example, if there was a little child whose father didn’t want see him, it would be better not to tell the truth (especially while they are young and immature), because that could create a whole lot of mental issues in the future.
So, until you learn your lesson of being non-judgmental, you will keep coming across people and situations in your life that you need to accept and stop judging in order to stop judging yourself and heal.
When I was convinced that I was right (after all everyone knows that lying is wrong), I was led by my ego instead of compassion and that made me more judgmental and harder for me to change.
I wish, someone would have told me I was wrong, so instead of being justified thinking that it is people around me who had to change, I could have worked on myself and saved myself a lot of pain!
The things I believed to be true were not facts, they were just the way I viewed things based on my mindset, beliefs and experiences at that time.
More often than not, we will realize that we were wrong even though at that time we were certain that we were right…
Looking inside of myself instead of making judgments about who is right or wrong and growing into a better version of myself, has not only helped me overcome emotional eating, but it has also helped me improve my relationship with my husband, children and my friends.
When you find yourself judging, the question you have to ask yourself is not really who is right or wrong, but:
“What am I supposed to learn from this?”
“How does this judgment make me feel?”
“Is this judgment useful?”
“Why am I denying that side of me that I judge?”
“How can I change my beliefs, so I don’t judge that behavior?”
It will be a lot easier to practice being non-judgemental once you identify what are you not accepting and why.
We are responsible for everything that is going on in our lives, and we are responsible for how we feel in any situation.
Nobody (the person who called us chubby, the person who hurt our feelings) and nothing (the food, your situation, work) can make us feel bad, we make us feel bad…
Practicing being the observer of my situation rather than being in it (emotionally involved), allowed me to humble myself, swallow my pride and admit that I am not perfect and I am not always right.
I had to accept that not everybody is like me or thinks like me and that we are all different based on our experiences.
We need to be both sides, we are all good and a bit bad, kind and a bit mean, healthy and a bit unhealthy, honest and a bit dishonest, etc.
If you want balance in your life, you will need to stop judging the other side, accept yourself and others as they are and have balance in every area of your life.
When you start practicing no judgment, you might feel like it’s not right, that it’s not you, that you can’t do it, that you are not good at it or that it’s easy for me to say, because I am different.
But the truth is, I wasn’t good at it either!
In certain situations, I still feel like allowing my emotions to take over and say or do something stupid or mean but the more I practice being objective, the better I am getting at it.
This didn’t happen overnight, it required work and commitment.
Achieving a good relationship with someone or the part of you that you judge and dislike is the ultimate win.
We naturally have this burning desire to become something more, but with our old beliefs and without changing, we end up staying the same and miserable dreaming about becoming someone else (slimmer, healthier, richer, more successful).
We often get stuck when we think that our personalities are holding us back from changing and growing (because we are introverts, emotional, shy, insecure, depressed, out of balance, etc.).
Then instead of changing (which is more challenging), we start focusing on drowning our negative emotions (like guilt, shame, sadness) with food.
In most cases, people choose the easy road and instead of changing their behaviors, they suppress their feelings and emotions by food, alcohol or other mindless pleasures.
What we don’t realize is that focusing on suppressing those emotions, will make them grow into extremes requiring more food, alcohol, etc.
Starting to look inside ourselves, and questioning our beliefs will force us to undergo a transformation and make us get out of our comfort zone, develop new habits, learn new skills and grow as people.
It is important to understand that even when we are moving in the right direction and we feel happy along the way, negative emotions will always arise in life.
Without the negative, there would be no positive.
The question is how do we respond to them?
So, if you continue clinging to your identity like being this way or that way, being a perfectionist, having an all or nothing attitude, taking a side or being out of balance, this will lead to a sad life.
This is where losing weight, having more money, having a nicer car and a bigger house will not make you any happier than you are now unless you grow as a person, change and achieve balance.
So, you need to look at yourself as someone who is constantly changing and evolving rather than an “identity set in stone”.
If your current identity is not working for you, it is time to change…
Accepting yourself and being judgment-free is very important to practice for many reasons but it is not the only strategy that will help you move forward, the same as it won’t be the only one holding you back.
If you are having doubts about how are you going to be able to accept yourself without judgment, then be patient, I am going to show you exactly how to get better at it in the following lessons.
It is a matter of putting all the puzzle pieces together in order to achieve the result you want.
In our next lesson, we will talk about Resistance, Self-sabotage and Raising the standards.
Thank you for completing this lesson, here is today’s homework and check out the implementation tips tomorrow that you can start putting into practice.