Since childhood, I’ve always been at war with my weight. At one point I was on antidepressants and anxiety meds that skyrocketed my weight to 300 pounds. My dad teased me and said I looked like the Kool-Aid guy from the commercials, especially when I wore red. I was even more depressed because of the weight gain and teasing, yet kept up the cycle of turning back to food for comfort.
My mom fed me healthy vegetarian food, yet I was a huge sugar, soda and pizza junkie. When I got off the meds, I shed tons of weight, but I kept putting it back on. Then my worst nightmare happened: I got stuck at almost 250 pounds for 10 years. At some point, I finally tossed in the towel and gave up. I made peace with my fat and decided to stop caring.
At the time I had lost my job, had no money, and my wife (then fiancé) kept arguing about things that felt out of my control. This sent me back into depression and into emotional eating mode. I found comfort in eating candy bars several times a day. Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked was my idea of bliss. But beyond the weight, my physical health plummeted.
After countless failed diets, years of wasted gym memberships and getting comfortable with hiding my fat under hooded sweatshirts, I felt eating was easier than failing at something. Again. I told myself food made me forget the things I hated about my life. It was my sweet escape.
I was bored, jobless, hopeless, confused, and had more bad days then good, so why care? The more I thought about my bills and the fact that I didn’t have money to pay them, the more I grabbed hold of my comfort foods.
During my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, (I was enrolled simply to learn holistic healing for my mom’s kidney failure), everything finally clicked. Emotional eating is not something I had to just accept. Kicking the habit actually has a blueprint. I finally discovered what would help me stop stuffing my face with trash, and would help me shed 25 pounds with ease.
1. Screw the gym!
Because I hated the gym so much, I refused to move. The couch became my associate and the fridge my best friend. I went from couch to fridge and that was the extent of my exercise. I eliminated that friend and took up moving in ways that was fun. Hiking, kayaking, walking my dogs, dancing like a wild woman, yoga and any free, fun fitness challenge I found on social media all became my keys to getting active.
2. Find a cause, or leave your loving footprint.
When I got sucked into boredom or depression again I started volunteering at local charities and organizations. It killed idle time, allowed me to be of service selflessly and I wasn’t sitting at home listening to the fridge telling me why we should be friends again.
I also started a blog where I gave free advice to help others live a happier life. Not only was it fun to help others, it actually led me into my life purpose, soul’s mission and a business I absolutely love!
3. Become a personal growth junkie.
My commitment to personal growth not only keeps me from chowing down unnecessarily, but it's given me skills that have changed my life. I have swapped my candy bars for books. Instead of being loaded with sugar and GMOs, my brain, soul and heart are now loaded with ancient wisdom, practical lifestyle techniques, enhanced intuition, more clarity and a fully functional life that I adore.
4. Try something new.
Go to karaoke and sing your heart out. Pick up an instrument you've always wanted to play. It may not sound good, but rock out until your heart is content. Go skating, bowling, or do something daring like sky diving, bungee jumping or rock climbing. Getting your adrenaline is a great way to avoid mindlessly eating.
5. Get soul-centeredly selfish.
Put your oxygen mask on first. Instead of overexerting yourself with work, other people’s drama or helping friends, family or even clients to a point that’s detrimental to your own well-being, focus on YOU first.
My favorite methods are yoga, meditation, getting massages, being out in nature, and creating spalike experiences in my own bathroom. If you’re running on empty, you can’t be of service to others. If you’re so exhausted that all you can do is plop in front of the TV, guess what happens?
Food is not your knight and shining armor. You don’t need rescuing. You can do this!