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 billions a year trying, so why is our country growing fatter? Why aren't people losing weight when they say that this 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, and how to manage and learn from the painful feelings of life, you have to find some way of filling the emptiness and avoiding 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 will likely not be able 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.
You then ignore the painful feelings caused by your self-judgment and lack of self-care. Instead of choosing to be aware that your thoughts and actions are causing you to feel badly, 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 since 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 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, pornography, 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 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 emptiness and avoid pain.
I myself 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.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can heal your addictions, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week eCourse, Dr. Margaret Paul's "Permanent Weight Loss Course" – the first two weeks are free!
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This article was originally published at Inner Bonding
. Reprinted with permission from the author.