Need to Lose this Weight!

A woman seeks advice on how she can learn to control her over-eating.

Your Career Coach

Losing Weight Once and For All

Dear Michele,

I have been trying for 13 years to take off 40 pounds. I am 52 years old and something inside me stops when I am doing well.

I lost my first husband in a plane crash and was devastated and then remarried and that man had an affair on me. I think I am afraid of being hurt again and use the weight for a defense mechanism. Can you give me some advice to help break this cycle?

— Help

Dear Help,

My good pal Brooke Castillo happens to be one of America’s leading weight loss coaches (she’s also the author of the great book If I Am So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?). I asked Brooke for her advice and here’s what she said:

“It is sometimes helpful not to keep trying to take the 40 pounds off. Sometimes it is easier to see how you keep putting them on and on, again and again with each choice to overeat. If you don’t keep re-adding them, they get used up as you live your life. Remember that what “stops” you is what is in your mind — it is your thinking. It is not a mysterious force that you have no control over.

“I would start by keeping a journal of every time you overeat (eating when you aren’t hungry) and ask yourself, “why?” in a very kind and caring tone. Become interested in why you do what you do in each instance and see if the reasons behind your actions make sense. Notice that in your attempt to ‘not get hurt again,’ you are the one causing the hurt to yourself. Sometimes we fear something so much and think about it so often, we actually end up treating ourselves in the way we are trying to avoid.

“You don’t have any control over whether someone does something hurtful, but you do have control over whether you hurt yourself. Every time you feed your body food it doesn’t want or need, you are hurting yourself. Each time you have a choice. You can’t change the past. You can’t change the plane crash or your second husband having an affair. But you can be kind to yourself and honorable to yourself, and you can choose to live in a way that isn’t hurtful to yourself now.

“Start today with the journal. Just notice. Be kind.”

My thanks to Brooke Castillo — great advice for anyone who wants to understand why they eat what they eat.

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