I think the hardest part of my job is ending a session with a client when I know we’ve stirred up a lot of emotional stuff. I wish I could follow you around, or put you in a safe room, somehow support you until the turmoil makes way to peace.
I also know it’s very difficult for my clients to be in this place, because a lot of them wish I would just tell them what the hell to eat already!
It’s not about the food. Not really. You know that. I know that.
It’s about you showing up for your life.
It’s about you having your emotional experience.
It’s about you agreeing to Be Here, on Planet Earth, even when it’s not pleasant.
It’s so much easier to focus on food, to manage calorie intake, to look at food labels, than it is to acknowledge that you don’t think you’re worthy of love and belonging.
Going to the gym is absolutely a piece of cake compared to figuring out What To Do With Your Life.
Finding a new relationship days after you’ve had a terrible breakup is so much easier than unraveling the Truth about What You Want.
I know this. I know how hard it is. I promise, I do.
And there are a million ways we can come at the core issue to start to understand it. I have homework out the wazoo for you.
But there’s only one thing you need to do At All Times:
That’s all. That’s the starting point for everything. Whatever you’re feeling, assume legitimacy. Often the reasons our “problems” persist is because we so quickly attempt to brush them aside.
Find yourself eating gallons of ice cream without the possibility of stopping?
It may sound stupid, but talk out loud. “Wow, Kathryn, you really want to eat all this ice cream. You’re feeling anxious and this ice cream is making it better. That’s cool. I’ll sit with you while we eat until it feels safe again.”
Or, “Even though I really wish ice cream wasn’t my coping mechanism, right now I don’t see any other options. It’s making me feel better, so it’s allowed to stay.”
Hate your body?
“Even though I wish I didn’t hate my body, even though I wish it would just look the way I want it to look, I’m not going to beat myself up for having these feelings. They are legitimate.”
Upset with your coach for not giving you a meal plan?
“Why won’t my coach just TELL ME WHAT TO DO?????? I’LL DO IT! I’LL DO IT PERFECTLY! Just tell me!!! [deep breath] Ok. The thought of not having a clear path to walk fills me with dread. I don’t know how to handle this and I feel really scared.”
Feeling any unpleasant emotion?
“Ok. Even though this is highly unpleasant and I wish I were blissful all the time for forever and always, this is my current emotional state. I am allowed to be here for as long as I need to be here.”
That’s all. The only thing you need to learn or know about emotional eating is that the foundation of all future steps should be to Assume Legitimacy. All things will spring from this source of love and safety.