The road to reaching your natural weight is tough…
And today I want to talk about that tough part.
Because if I can be honest with you…
It’s going to suck.
Stick with me, please. This is important.
Being your natural weight is a helluva lot of fun. But getting there and staying there isn’t so much.
You can get there, though, if you are willing for life to suck a lot more…
When Life Sucks, It’s A Call for Authenticity
Unlike diets, which torture you thin (and never work), my psycho-spiritual approach is different.
There is no torture. Just authenticity.
In my opinion, an authentic life is 50/50 good and bad, where 50% sucks and the other 50% is really freaking amazing.
Compulsive eaters get into trouble with the expectation that life should be freaking amazing most of the time.
This expectation creates chaos whenever discomfort rolls around and food becomes an all-too-easy way to temporarily make it better (emphasis on temporary).
No one is to blame here. Everyone is wired with this “seek pleasure, avoid pain” primal instinct; which, while helpful for our survival, does not prepare us for living an authentic life.
Pain shouldn’t be numbed; it should be felt with courage and an open heart. That’s authentic living, and that’s how you reach your natural weight.
When You Want to Lose Weight, It’s a Call for Courage
The simplest road map to success is the eating guidelines, and it takes courage to follow.
It asks you to stop dieting, listen to your body, and feel your feelings when you want to eat past fullness — especially the uncomfortable feelings that make you want to crawl out of your skin.
That last part is the doozy.
I mean, the whole ‘listening to your body’ part is really hard for those with a history of binge eating, but the feelings part? Can we just skip that, please?
This is why so many people say:
“I don’t have any problems, really. My life is great. It’s just the weight thing that I need to figure out.”
Yeeaaah… nooo. That’s not how it works.
The reason why we feel like the weight thing is the biggest problem is because we use it to numb/distract from all the other problems.
Problems that we’re not even aware of!
How I Discovered the Pool of Emotion I Once Ignored
When I started this whole “feeling my feelings” thing back in 2016, I thought that it was just a coincidence that I started going through a rough patch.
Things went going wrong left and right, and I felt it deeper than normal. I thought that the rough patch would end at some point, like usual, then it hit me…
After a few months of these heavy feels, I realized that it was just the normal discomfort of everyday life!
Because I used to numb with food so often, I wasn’t even aware that life was normally uncomfortable 50% of the time…
Feeling Not-So-Great Is Normal
I used to think that discomfort meant that I was doing something wrong, which is why I would numb with food whenever I wasn’t happy.
Since having that revelation, I have become MUCH better at tolerating discomfort (progress, not perfection), and I was honestly surprised by how much of it exists in my life.
That’s why I’m writing this article: to prepare you for the discomfort ahead… the discomfort that’s also coupled with the awesomeness of reaching your natural weight!
But still, the truth bomb remains: This road is going to SUCK. But hey, at least this time you’re building a skill that will help you everywhere else in your life, unlike dieting.
What This Might Look Like for You
When you choose to feel your feelings instead of numbing with food, many uncomfortable things begin to happen:
- When you have a bad day, you can’t come home and eat junk food. You have to actually come home, sit down, and process what’s going on…
- When you feel rejected by a friend or significant other, you can’t reach for a pint of ice cream. You have to actually feel that heavy feeling of rejection… without ice cream 😮
- When you feel anxious and you don’t know why, you have to actually sit with that feeling instead of distracting yourself with food…
When you stop numbing with food and choose to feel your feelings instead, you’re vulnerable… but it’s normal!
What This Looks Like for Me
Here’s an example from my life:
The heaviest emotion to me is rejection. You can give me anxiety and depression and shame (and I won’t like it), but rejection? Nuh-uh.
When rejection comes around, I run for the hills. And usually those “hills” are actually my kitchen cabinet.
When I started “feeling my feelings” instead overeating, I had to start practicing staying with the feeling of rejection instead of spinning out and reaching for food.
It took me a while (over a year) to develop that skill. It was tough.
But allowing myself to pay attention to the feeling of rejection is much better than overeating to numb the pain, and ending up feeling both rejected and bloated…
In this way, life at your natural weight sucks a lot more… and it’s also full of magic. It’s a trade-off, and this one is worth it to me.
Maybe your gremlin isn’t rejection. Maybe it’s vulnerability, shame, self-loathing, anxiety, or depression…
Whatever that big, scary feeling is… see if you can open yourself up to it. It just might be the toughest thing you ever did, but you’ll get better at it.
As you develop the skill of being uncomfortable, it gets easier to achieve your natural weight and feel normal around food.
Being willing to feel your pain instead of choosing to numb takes crazy amounts of courage, but you can do it.
And when you develop the skill of feeling your feelings instead of overeating, weight loss happens naturally.
So, so naturally.
This is deep, insightful, and absolutely truthful! No one wants to look at these truths – I think these truths never enter our conciousness unless someone insightful presents them. It’s just easier to distract with food or another diet or fad. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
Kari Dahlgren says
Thank you so much for the comment Liz! I’m happy that you read it all the way through even though I mostly talked about how much life is going to suck 🙂 in the best way possible!
I live in South Africa. Your entire approach is amazing and ground breaking. Well done girl.
I am giving this a go at the age of 59 and i started while on holiday in the Netherlands!!
I find that after only about 4 days the SDF method comes naturaly and as you said i use it in more areas of my life.
I will invest in the work book to start off with.
Thank you for being available to me. I might need you yet .
Kari Dahlgren says
Hi Erika! How amazing that I am able to reach you on the other side of the globe! And I am so so proud of you for actually doing the SDF. It is not an easy practice, and I hope that you know I am cheering you on. 🙂
This is an amazing read for someone who is just starting out on this journey. It’s reality, and it’s great to read it upfront. I’ll be referring back to this read when times get tough. Thank you so much for sharing!
ANNA BRAITLING says
Kari, I love how you word everything in NORMAL SPEAK, with very descriptive words and phrases. I know I am an EMOTIONAL EATER, my depression dictates how and what I want to eat, you can betcha it ain’t a salad…. nobody ever looked at a head of lettuce and though, All my problems can be cured by this head of crunchy water.
Kari Dahlgren says
Gurrrrl, ain’t that the truth! Salads are only good when they sound good 🙂 thank YOU for dropping me a line!