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Fatloser Day Five: Controlling Emotions

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Siebold begins today with an implicit apology: he knows he will have fired people up and enraged them by saying they're "bad parents" if they don't model mental toughness for their kids. Essentially what he's done is illustrate for us the power of emotions with respect to obesity by making us experience how powerful our emotions are in another area of our lives: our kids. He wants us to realize that we can be in control of our emotions rather than letting our emotions control us.

And so he asks: why are you fat? Blunt, no? And he suggests, whatever reason I had for getting fat was emotional . . . boredom, self-indulgence, loss of job, divorce (in my own case, a return to school and commuting and uber stress packed on about 10 pounds a year for over 7 years) . . . . And then he says: now you've identified the emotional source of the weight, let it go. The reason doesn't matter. In other words, whatever emotional source of the obesity, it's not a justification for continuing to be overweight, I'm not entitled to be fat to comfort myself with respect to the trauma of life and in fact, permitting myself to continue to be overweight itself becomes a significant compounding contributor to that trauma (my own interpretation, not his words).

Second: how do you know that this diet will be different and that you will be successful this time? . He says for himself it was sheer disgust with the 40 pounds he had put on . Such an acknowledgement is not "fashionable" and might be interpreted as "fat shaming" etc. But he was tired of being embarrassed by his body and feeling out of control. And he was prepared to acknowledge that emotion to strengthen his motivation to stick to the diet. I was too: I'd been "successful" with my return to school but my body was out of control.

Thirdly: do you think of food as a friend or an enemy? Eating the fast food he loved (the "comfort" food) was really consorting with the enemy. The food that is our friend is the food that contributes to health and vitality and brings out the best in us. For me, eating six doughnuts one day in a row because the dozen was "on sale" and actually cheaper than buying four doughnuts (2 each for myself and DH): that was the tipping point.

Three simple "critical thinking" (not positive thinking, not negative thinking) questions.

Siebold says, once you've figured out why you've got fat, let it go and forgive yourself so long as you are committed to fixing it now. Give yourself permission to "win", expect to "pay the price" (yesterday's message about enduring the pain) and prepare to fight back.

How big a price? In Day Four, he compares it to paying $10,000 for a Ferrari. If you could buy a Ferrari for $10,000 you'd have several in the driveway, right? And although you pay a price for a fit body by selecting foods that contribute to health and vitality, in the long run once the habit is broken it's not an excessive price. Although I was prepared to pay the price for weight loss and I'm prepared to continue to pay the price for maintenance: it's not an excessive price. The suffering is much less than the suffering I've experienced in many other areas of life.

OK then. Siebold is definitely firing me up. And just as I forgive myself for once having weighed 230 pounds, I forgive Siebold for manipulating my emotions Day Four by telling me I "was" a bad parent . . . it was an illustration of the power of the emotions with respect to eating. And it worked.

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  • SUSANNAH31
    I just listened to this video today - and your summary is excellent.
    Siebold is making us think about issues that each of us has been dealing with all along here on Spark People. But it is good to hear them again and have them reinforced.

    When answering his question about why am I fat, I realized that I do turn to food in times of stress and boredom. Also, I take great pleasure in eating. I described myself as being 'greedy' with food. I don't like stopping just because I am no longer hungry. I want more because I am enjoying the flavor.

    Thanks for your summaries, Ellen. You do them so well.
    2277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/10/2014 10:26:34 AM
  • no profile photo CD14291083
    This is really making me think about my trips above BMI 30. When I'm very stressed, I lose my appetite and lose weight, so I thought I wasn't an emotional eater. But being at home and working on the computer with a little stress and a lot of boredom was the killer. I suppose boredom is an emotion.This time I stopped before going all the way back up. I was slacking off.

    Maybe thinking about the reasons is a good way not to do it again. Thank you for putting so much work into sharing Siebold with us.

    2278 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/10/2014 2:58:55 AM
  • DSHONEYC
    emoticon Thanks, Coach!

    2278 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Emotional eating gets all of us unless we can find a way to control it. Mental toughness? Not feeling that so much now. Not feeling much of anything yet. But life goes on. I always try to find a way. Its going to be hard resisting the siren call of comfort food in this instance. Yet another mountain, yet another door slamming shut...
    2279 days ago
  • STRONGDAWG
    Again, he has yet to say something that I haven't already said to myself at some other time. The exception was today by telling us to "let go of the past". That was helpful and it wasn't hard to do either. It just became abundantly obvious once I saw it. It'll be interesting as I find other hidden baggage in my life along this journey.
    2279 days ago
  • BOOKAPHILE
    He certainly gets us thinking, doesn't he? I'm on day 3 and he began talking about controlling emotions there while the topic was cravings. Emotions are a big deal.
    2279 days ago
  • KOHINOOR2
    Excellent blog. Thank you for sharing. emoticon emoticon
    2279 days ago
  • SLENDERELLA61
    Oh, I should have gone in order. I skipped from one to five and probably ruined the power of number 4. Oh, well. I will still read the whole book.

    I agree with the part about the price of maintaining being worth it. Yes, it is costly. It is not always convenient. It is sometimes uncomfortable. But the pay off is there.

    I used to vacillate between thinking of food as a friend and as an enemy. I mourned the loss of my friend food at one time. Occasionally I still get mad at food, or more usually, the food industry. Now I think of food as something essential for survival and as fuel.
    2279 days ago
  • SLENDERELLA61
    OH, I've missed this series. I don't know how I could have overlooked your blogs. They are always a highlight of my Sparking. I'm going back to get every words. Appreciate you "muchly". Thanks for all your ongoing support!!
    2279 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Day 3 here and really looking forward to Day 5 as I am an emotional eater to the nth degree. I know now it is one coaching session I will play over and over.

    Not exactly in context with the coaching, but speaking of price - when friends and family have said they can't afford organic food, my take is that we pay now or pay later with medical bills. In my case, eliminating the candy and chips pretty much balanced out the costs.

    Enjoying the previews on what is to come.
    2279 days ago
  • HIPPICHICK1
    I can't say that I am a fan of the emotional manipulation. It doesn't work for me at all. But to each, his/her own!
    2279 days ago
  • TRAVELGRRL
    I believe uber-stress was responsible for my weight gain -- moving to a new state, starting a new career, building a house, etc., about 7 pounds per year for 7 or 8 years.

    But now that I no longer work I don't have that stress, and it's been much easier to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan. Unfortunately, "retirement" isn't possible for everyone!

    I'm enjoying your recaps and the comments you are getting. Both good emoticon and not so good! emoticon
    2279 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/8/2014 12:19:34 PM
  • JANTHEBLONDE
    Wow! Congratulations on being on day five! Way to go girl! Sending lots of hugs your way!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2279 days ago
  • DSHONEYC
    I guess not having kids can be a blessing (no affront taken as it did not hit a nerve with me and I already blamed fat kids on their fat parents emoticon ) but it did make me think.

    I had previously assumed that I was not a role model to anyone, but perhaps I have more influence on others than I think. Can't wait for this lesson tomorrow for me. Meanwhile, the most sobering thought for me was "you'll be facing the challenge every 2 hours" ... wow. Need to arm myself with lots of distractions, strong self-talk, and prayers.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Steve is like the head coach of a football team, and I am beginning to think of you as my defensive and offensive coach wrapped up together. emoticon
    2279 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    Ok, NOW that he's framed it in the context of the lesson . . . don't let the emotions be in control . . . it makes lots more sense.

    I realized a while back that it really IS important for me to forgive myself in order to make any progress on this journey. It is a continual process, it seems, but it's happening.

    Thank you for so much to think about today! HUGS
    2279 days ago
  • DOKEYOKEY
    I don't know who Siebold is but I certainly like the ideas of honesty and reframing he is proposing. Huffington Post (if this is the same guy) says he is a proponent of critical thinking and mental toughness. I'm in favor of those things, but I'd add compassion into the mix. Thanks very much for taking the time to summarize and comment!

    2279 days ago
  • KELLIEBEAN
    Do you know if Lily interviewed him on Spark Radio a few weks back. This sounds similar to someone I was listening to her interview and I thought 'huh boy are you gonna make people made with the whole 'bad parenting' thing. It certainly aggravated me.

    Then I started thinking, what's wrong with a little brutal honesty? There were times I made excuses for my bad eating and for placing the kids in front of the tv instead of going out to play with them because I was "so drained" from this or that situation.

    Thanks for sharing!
    2279 days ago
  • CRYSTALJEM
    Always interesting how things relate and connect. Emotions are big players in most of our self sabatoge moments. Really enjoyed your blog. When you're ready for the truth you can start to work with it.
    2279 days ago
  • CARRAND
    Interesting!
    2280 days ago
  • DDOORN
    Comfort and self-soothing are HUGE for me...and rather than simply letting go of what is such a compelling need I think re-framing food as anything BUT comforting or self soothing and shifting strategies for comfort and self-soothing toward healthy means which truly ARE comforting, self-soothing such as totally immersing oneself into a long hot shower or soak in the tub, getting a massage, relaxation/meditative strategies, special music which speaks to our heart or having a heartfelt conversation with someone special...MUCH better alternatives!

    Don
    2280 days ago
  • MISCHAKEO
    Yes, I have to forgive myself for being a bad parent and role model to my kids in terms of food. I did pay the price and lost the weight and continue to fight back.

    Your summary is great and I appreciate you sharing it with those all of us. I plan to catch up on the videos on the weekend as I am swamped.

    This is a great time to get energized and refocused on losing weight!
    2280 days ago
  • NANCY-
    You are amazing.
    emoticon
    Yes he gets us flustered, but he does provide us with a change in our perspectives and perceptions.
    I'm a few days behind you in the videos and am loving your blogs on the FatLoser. I must thank you for making me realize that this program was available again.for me, repetition helps me make changes and maintain them.
    emoticon
    2280 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    You know, when I did this two years back and was arguing with him, I did not have the distance from it to observe that's what he's doing (manipulating and illustrating)... but I see it now. Good summary!
    2280 days ago
  • no profile photo EVIE4NOW
    A lesson to be learned. Thank you.
    2280 days ago
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