I realize Valentine ‘s Day was last week, but the love needs to last longer than one day.
Stress relief is the most elusive component of Lifestyle Therapy. Love, particularly self-love is an important part of that.
This is a term that often makes people squeamish, so let me clarify that self-love is not selfishness. It is a healthy kind of love where you are esteeming and treating yourself to be as important as anyone else around you. It is being kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself, just like you would with anyone that you care about.
As a clinician what I see is that this is an area that people often struggle with and can be the source of self-sabotage when self-love is lacking.
Over eating can often be linked with feelings of inadequacy. It can also be used as a source of comfort, or subconsciously to create a cushion or a wall around someone for protection. This is a common and natural instinct for anyone who has suffered physical or emotional trauma. It ‘s no coincidence that 70% of obese people experienced childhood trauma.
Embracing and nurturing self-love can help one feel safe enough, and valuable enough that they simply don ‘t need the excess food.
On the flip side, we can use food to justify feelings unworthiness. We all have ups and downs, and moments where negative beliefs we’ve taken on can weigh on us. Negative self-talk like, “I’m ugly”, “I’m a slob”, “No one would want me” can promote over eating to contribute to subconscious efforts to fulfill those negative, false beliefs.
Compassion for ones self and seeing our differences as endearing and interesting is important to being able to set aside self-defeating actions like over-eating. Being willing to be with yourself, even when you feel lousy and negative beliefs may be yelling inside, is a wonderful act of love and friendship towards oneself. If you can stand it, you ‘ll find that you may actually like yourself, and you ‘re not so bad after all… the next step would be to recognize and be willing to be ok with that.