If you ask almost any overweight person, “Do you really want to lose weight?” The answer is likely, “Yes, I would love to lose weight.”
Most overweight and obese people want so much to lose weight that they spend thousands each year trying, so why is our country growing fatter? Why aren’t people losing weight when they say that it is what they want to do?
The answer is that, as much as they want to lose weight, there is something they want even more: they want to fill their emptiness and avoid their painful feelings.
The problem is, food works too well to temporarily fill up inner emptiness and cover over painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak, aloneness, sadness, grief, hurt, frustration, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and so on. If you don’t know how to stop creating your own emptiness and aloneness, or how to manage and learn from the painful feelings of life, you have to find some way to fill the emptiness and avoid the pain.
Food is an available and easy way of doing this, but it is really no different than any other addiction.
All addictions are ways of trying to fill the inner emptiness and avoid painful feelings.
While some people manage to force themselves to lose weight through rigid dieting, most gain it back. Unless you learn to deal with the issues underlying your food addiction, you are not likely to keep off the weight.
What creates the inner emptiness and some of the painful feelings that lead to food addiction? Self-Abandonment.
Most people have learned to abandon themselves in a number of ways:
- You judge yourself, telling yourself that you are not good enough and that you “should have…” or “shouldn’t have…” and so on. Instead of valuing yourself and taking loving care of yourself, you treat yourself badly on the inner level and may allow others to treat you badly on the outer level. Instead of learning about how to take loving care of yourself, you try to control yourself with self-judgment. Your inner child inevitably feels rejected by you – alone and empty of inner love.
- You then ignore the painful feelings caused by your self-judgment and lack of self-care. Rather than choosing to be aware that your thoughts and actions are causing you to feel bad, you avoid taking responsibility for your feelings, by staying in your mind instead of being present inside your body with your feelings.
- You are now feeling alone and empty inside, and if you have not done the inner work to develop a loving adult self who cares about and takes responsibility for your feelings, your wounded inner self desperately turns to various addictions. You might make others responsible for your feelings through different forms of manipulative behavior, such as anger, blame, neediness, resistance or giving yourself up. You might numb your feelings with substance addictions, such as food, alcohol, drugs or nicotine. You might further numb out with process addictions such as TV, sex, porn, computer games, work, and so on.
This becomes a vicious negative circle, with self-abandonment causing pain, causing more self-abandonment. No matter how hard you try to lose weight, as long as this negative inner system is operating, you will not be able to sustain weight loss.
The Way Out of The Lose-Gain Cycle
The way out of this cycle is to do the necessary inner work to develop a powerful loving inner adult self who learns to treat you with love rather than trying to control you with self-judgment. Here is where the Inner Bonding process comes in. If you devote yourself to learning and practicing the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, you will be able to finally take loving care of yourself and not need food or other things to fill the emptiness and avoid pain.
I had a weight issue for years before I started to practice Inner Bonding. Since bringing this practice into my daily life, I easily maintain a healthy and comfortable weight, in addition to having plenty of energy to do all the things I love. You can, too.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967.