How I lost weight as an emotional eater.
I went back and forth on writing about weight loss. Diet culture is still pretty rampant and I'm a firm believer in loving yourself no matter your size. My focus for this blog is about gaining health. However, I've lost a significant amount of weight in the past 3 years (40 lbs.) so I thought that I would share. I am not a doctor or medical professional. All the opinions expressed are my own.
Let's face it. Diets don't work, healthy lifestyles do. In order to live a healthy lifestyle I had to feel like that is what I deserved. Trying to lose weight because I was dissatisfied with myself did not yield results. Once I addressed my inner world, the emotions and thought patterns, did I start to see lasting progress. I regularly make time to process my emotions and sift through the stories I tell myself. I prioritize exercising and eating right because they make me feel good, not to be a certain size. What I am most amazed by is how important it is to have empathy, compassion and gratitude for my life. Releasing all of the shame and guilt that I carried and tried to suppress with food freed up my mental capacity to make better decisions. To live MY LIFE to the fullest, and to still accept myself when I do slip up.
Gaining the weight
The weight gain was something that slowly crept up on me. I was thin in high school especially once I stopped playing sports and lost a lot of muscle mass. Going to college I regularly ate pizza, french fries, ice cream and cheeseburgers.
It caught up to me when I moved off campus and began driving everywhere. Sitting in the car in traffic then hitting a drive thru on the way home became the norm once I graduated and began working full time.
I made brief efforts to work out and eat better but I'd cycle periods of depravation and restriction, followed by binging on my favorite foods, feeling guilty for "cheating" then depriving myself all over again.
When I had my first autoimmune flare up I was put on over 60mg of steroids and started gaining weight like crazy. In 2015, I was at my heaviest of 160 and I'm only 5'2".
Losing the weight
The most important decision I made was to address the root cause of my emotional eating. All of the feelings and fears that I was trying to silence with food. I started to attend yoga, meditate at home, and write in my journal.
As I released and let go of all of these blockages, or unresolved emotional baggage, and started feeling lighter, it started to shift my perception.
Learning how companies saturate processed and restaurant meals with sugar, fat and salt made me not want to eat them. Understanding how much waste and suffering went into conventional agriculture made me want to do better for Mother Earth. Seeing how much weight I lost when I ate nutrient dense plant-based meals made me want to keep going.
I'd plan out my meals for the week, make a list, go to the store and only buy those items. My diet at this point consisted of raw fruits, smoothies and salads with an occasional trip to Chik-Fil-A or another indulgent meal no more than 2 times a month.
Exercise mainly consisted of yoga, spin and HIIT (high intensity interval training). I worked out 3 times a week for at least 45 mins.
I also began intermittent fasting for periods of time eating my least meal at 6pm and not eating again until the next day at 10am. This is when the weight really started coming off. But I had brain fog with little to no energy to do anything outside of work.
I had bought into this idea of what was "healthy" but I still did not know exactly what was right for me.
I had an Ayurvedic Consultation with Adrienne from Ho’ola Mamma early 2017 and it brought me so much clarity. Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine that reminds us to self-care daily.
Since my dosha or constitution is primarily Vata which is cold, dry airy and light, I balance this out by seeking foods and environments that are warm, wet and heavy. Avoiding overstimulation and finding calm peaceful environments where I can be still and reflect on my life brings me back to balance.
Bringing clarity to my inner dialogue helped focus on the tasks that were in front of me. With this in mind I began prioritizing my morning meditation before work as well as doing breath work or Pranyama. Doing more Yin Yoga to tap into the feminine side of my being gave me the self compassion necessary to address my core wounds.
Adding in a whole foods supplement from Movita Organics really helped me make sure that I was getting those key nutrients. I also included in a probiotic to help improve the lining in my gut. There is so much research out there linking autoimmunity to leaky gut that I knew I needed to incorporate more digestive enzymes and herbs to help heal my stomach lining.
So that is where I am at now. Eating primarily warm foods, doing Yin Yoga, breath work and working through the root cause of my emotional eating patterns. I'm also spending more time in nature to connect with all there is and reduce my anxiety. Where possible I also look to natural alternatives like herbs and energy medicine to heal myself.
To tell you the truth, I have never felt more alive! I know that I've changed for the better. Situations that used to break me I now face head on.
Do you want to lose weight? Do you consider yourself an emotional eater?