In January as resolutions got underway, the Today Show followed Valerie Bertinelli on her journey of making 2020 a year for her to choose happy. Valerie opened up about her weight struggles over the years and talked about how she has been consistently struggling for the last 50 years with weight gain and weight loss. It’s been a constant cycle she describes as torment. Throughout this journey, she has started to realize that her weight issues are deeper than just the weight and there is an emotional component. She realized she uses food as a way to not feel her feelings.
Valerie said, ‘Dealing with trials life throws our way, I’ve used food as a way not to feel the sadness or the stress. But by eating something away, all it does is make me feel worse about myself.’ Based on the work I do with my clients, I was thrilled to see that mainstream media is covering this aspect of food, diet and weight loss instead of only highlighting the different restrictive diets one could focus on to reach their goals this year.
For years I thought I just needed to put in more effort and discipline and then I would have more success with losing weight and keeping it off. However, after losing 60 pounds and keeping it off for 5 years I still found myself getting triggered by food and experiencing a lot of exhausting mental gymnastics around it. I never thought of myself as an emotional eater in the traditional sense but in 2013 I discovered that there’s more to effortlessly staying on track that just gaining more willpower. By uncovering my patterns and gaining clarity as to what was leading to feeling like I was out of control around food, I was able to gain relief and over time I found my interest in foods that didn’t align with my healthy eating goals decreased. The day I craved carrots instead of donuts, I knew something had shifted!
Often from doing this work, weight is one of the last things to shift. However, my clients tend to experience amazing results in various areas of their lives. As Valerie stated, “I may not lose any weight on this journey, but I may lose the weight that’s sitting on my shoulders.” And that’s extremely powerful!
Some of the things Valerie learned through the years that she struggles with are the feelings of:
Having to be liked
Not being heard and therefore feeling like she can’t complain or express her pain
Thinking weakness is vulnerable
Feeling like a failure
These are some of the common themes my clients tend to struggle with as well. The mind coach Valerie worked with talked about turning down the voices. That might be helpful for some for a period of time but the approach I take with my clients helps them see when and why those voices were created and how they are protective. That helps to bring compassion to them, embrace and ultimately dissolve the voices through guided exercises and lots of self-discovery.
The process helps you begin to develop an inward lens of what’s happening in the world and brings self-awareness, not self-monitoring to how your feelings shape your logic and trigger your food battles. You also learn more about yourself so you know what choices are available while gaining a customized toolbox of some essential tools you’ll actually need.
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