You don’t want to just lose weight! Why? Because being overweight or obese is not necessarily your problem. It is a result of a specific behavior and behind that behavior is your emotional pattern that causes you to act in a particular way which results in you being overweight or obese. Have I confused you yet? Let me guide you through this explanation so you have a clearer understanding on what I mean.
You cannot consciously change those things of which you are unaware of.Tony Robbins
Chance are that you are aware of being overweight or obese but what you might not be aware of is the process that causes you to behave in a certain way that ultimately leads to your weight gain? What do I mean by behaving in a certain way? Your behaviors are your actions, the things that you do such as overeating, smoking, drinking, etc.
Don’t get to the cause of your problem, get to the sources of your problem.Tony robbins
What Are Emotional Patterns?
What is the process that causes you to overeat?
Behind your behavior of overeating is your emotional pattern that makes you overeat. What are emotional patterns?Emotional patterns are things like sadness, boredom, anxiousness, fear, and loneliness that you experience on a consistent basis. Said differently, it’s what Charles Duhigg described as your cue and routine in his book, The Power of Habit. Your cue is part of your habit loop that consists of a cue, a routine/process and a reward. Let’s focus for now on the cue and the routine. Your cue is the trigger that signals to your brain to enter automatic pilot mode. That in turn leads to your routine/process which can be physical or emotional. Both the cue and routine can have an emotional component. In other words, the trigger that causes you to overeat (aka your routine/process) can be the feelings of sadness, boredom, anxiousness, fear and/or loneliness that you experience.
What is your cue that causes you to start overeating? When do you notice yourself beginning to overeat? Is it when you start to feel bored, sad, frustrated, angry, or perhaps it’s when you start to feel stressed out?
You can change your behavior but if you still have the same emotional patterns that cause that behavior, you will create some other action that will equally lead to a bad result.Tony robbins
You cannot just ignore your cue, in other words, you cannot ignore the source of the problem that causes you to overeat. Why? Because you have not actually addressed those emotional patterns that cause you to overeat; what happens that causes you to feel stressed, sad, lonely, bored, angry, etc.? Being aware of those emotional triggers that cause you to overeat is the first step in breaking your habit of overeating. There is a Golden Rule of habit change that is highlighted in The Power of Habit: this Golden Rule states that to change a habit you have to use the same cue and keep the same reward but what you must change is the routine/process. This makes sense, human life is complex and things happen that are out of your control that can cause you to feel stressed, anxious, sad, lonely, etc. and so in those situations you might not be able to change the external influences that trigger your emotional patterns. But you certainly can, in the majority of cases change your routine/process.
Time For a Story…
For example, I worked with a client that had an issue with overeating sweets, in our work together we got her to realize that her cue/trigger that caused her to overeat on sweets was work stress. Whenever this client felt overwhelmed and stressed, she would find herself graving sweets, it was her way of coping with stress. To help her, we needed to change her routine/process (i.e. overeating on sweets) but it keep the same reward (i.e. relieving work stress). We needed to change her routine to a more healthful one, such as meditation, exercise, breath work, etc. You can think about the reward in this situation as the outcome/result being reducing stress. Those alternative options aforementioned accomplish the same outcome. The challenge off course, is implementation and consistency but that is why working with a health and wellness coach is so important.
How Can a Health and Wellness Coach Help You?
If you fail to address those emotional patterns you will simply create some other action that will lead you to an equally bad result that overeating led you into. For example, instead of overeating you might start drinking, smoking, etc.
Working with a health and wellness coach can be a great way to help you through this challenge of overeating as well as a wide variety of lifestyle and behavioral challenges. A piece written in The New York Times describes health and wellness coaching as a way to “get to the heart of what providing good health care is about: acceptance, partnership, compassion, and helping patients feel respected and understood”1.
Research has shown that behavioral and lifestyle factors are a big part of what contributes to chronic disease. Health and wellness coaches are trained in behavior change and the evidence is beginning to show that health and wellness coaching can help patients with nutrition, weight management, increasing physical activity (in older people as this one study found), obesity, diabetes, ADHD, chronic pain, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Behavior and lifestyle change can be challenging, but through health and wellness coaching you can take those big goals and break them down into accessible, small and actionable steps that will guarantee you results.