Emotions suck, really they do. Well, when it comes to trying to lose weight that is. Here's the problem. Emotions tend to be experienced in the part of the body between the voice box and the belly button. This is the midline of the trunk (middle of the body).
But, so does hunger. We experience hunger in exactly the same region.
So it can be really easy to mistake hunger for emotions, and emotions for hunger.
We can even talk about hungering for love. Or an appetite for adventure, and so on.
We can even have hunger as a trigger for emotions and vice versa. For example, we might feel hungry and then immediately feel a sense of loss or that we are lacking or missing out.
So, most of us (but not everyone) experience emotions in the body. But here is a strange thing. Some people will experience emotions outside of their body. They may feel this as an "aura" or a glow, they may feel tingling in the space around their hands or around the top of their head.
This isn't uncommon and may sometimes give rise to a supernatural explanation. It's quite normal.
But it can get stranger than that. As adult humans we are capable of empathy. This means we can feel things that others may be feeling. "I feel your pain" is empathy. Actually, what is happening is that we are projecting out our own emotions onto that person. If we get it right, then we are being empathic. If we get it wrong, and we project emotions onto a person incorrectly, we may be regarded as patronising instead of empathic.
So, how is this beneficial to us dieters and slimmers?
We can also project our emotions onto inanimate objects. It is called "anthropomorphisation". It's a great word, try saying it at the dinner table later. It's almost as good as, "antidisestablishmentarianism" which just happens to be the longest word in the English dictionary.
So, for example, we have certain foods that we regard as happy foods. We can have mood foods, foods that we pick to somehow match our mood. For example, one wouldn't necessary go for a romantic candle lit dinner and order burger and fries. That would be incongruous.
So, here is a set of task for would be slimmers.
Firstly, start sorting out your emotions. There are some excellent methods of emotional management out there that don't rely on years of complex and expensive psychotherapy. As a hint, you might like to start by doing some training of some sort that increases and improves your confidence. For most people this is easy. Go and do a public speaking course. Public speaking is enough to reduce most people to a quivering wreck. Overcoming this will sort out a whole host of emotions all in one go without having to spend years in therapy. Already a competent and confident public speaker? Well, then go the next step, do a training course in stand up comedy!
Secondly, start paying attention to how you empathise with inanimate objects. A filing cabinet may be boring or monotonous for example. Look at your favourite coffee or tea mug. Compare that to the one that you prefer not to use. What emotions do you assign to each?
Thirdly, start working out what emotions you assign to different foods. McDonald's came up with a brilliant piece of marketing when they invented "The Happy Meal" presented with bright and happy colours. So, what moods and emotions do you ascribe to the things that you eat. Notice how this affects your choices.
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