The idea of ‘self-love’ is a popular aspiration for many people these days along with achieving zen-like mindfulness or lithely moving from downward-facing dog to sun-salutation without as much as breaking a sweat.
All these goals sound great in theory and why wouldn’t anyone not want to love themselves?
The only drawback is that self-love is bandied around as if it’s something that’s easy and effortless for all to achieve. If that were true, then everyone would just be getting on with it and it wouldn’t be a thing. But it is a ‘thing.’ Self-love doesn’t feel like a natural state for all of us and perhaps trying to achieve it is just another way of beating yourself up for failing at something you think everyone else is managing as if they were born to it.
Rest assured as many people struggle with achieving self-love as find yoga boring and pointless.
One of the most common obstacles to loving yourself is the little negative voice in your head that whispers in your ear a running commentary on everything you do or say. Now, if on hearing about your inner voice your response is, ‘What inner voice - I don’t have one’, then that is your inner voice. Your inner voice runs a continuous internal dialogue commenting on everything you do and often makes judgments on how well you do it too.
For many people, their inner voice is rarely a source of uplifting encouragement. It is more likely to be an unremitting flow of self-criticism and negative self-judgments, and it acts as an effective block to self-love. Tuning in, and hearing your inner voice is the crucial first step to silencing the dispiriting stream of negativity that can be happening continuously, just below your conscious awareness like a toxic dripping tap.
I would like to encourage you to spend a little quiet time, just a few moments, every day for about a week to tune-in to your inner voice. Just listen and note down the negative statements it says while being aware of the use of language, idiom, slang or accent of your inner voice. Begin to get a sense of where the negative voice originated - does it remind you of anyone in your past - a parent, teacher or grandparent.
The first step towards turning off your negative voice is to gain a greater awareness of your unique brand of negative self-talk.
Train yourself to be more attuned to your inner voice and instead of allowing it a free pass to your sub-conscious become aware of it. By just clocking it you are changing the dynamic and starting to diminish your inner voice’s power to block your self-love and then in your mind you can dismiss it for just what it is - a BS thought.
Your aim is to transform your critical, carping inner voice into your most enthusiastic cheerleader. You can do this easily in just a couple of weeks of awareness. With your inner voice finally whispering words of encouragement and reminding you how fabulous you self-love does become your effortless, natural state.
Book a call if you are struggling to transform your inner voice from carping to celebratory. Just click on the button at the top of the page for an obligation free discovery call to find out what exactly is getting in the way of you loving you.
The idea of ‘self-love’ is a popular aspiration for many people these days along with achieving zen-like mindfulness or lithely moving from downward-facing dog to sun-salutation without as much as breaking a sweat.
I've been looking at the events for this year's International Woman's Day and making contact with women friends and family members for the Million Women Rising March #MWR on Saturday 10th so that I don't end up as #SallyNoMates on the day.
It's made me focus on the myriad events in my life that have made me who I am and how I share those experiences with many other women the whole world over.
My life so far, just like so many other women, has been one of loving and loss, and I sometimes fear who else I will lose.
It was about the birth of my son all those decades ago and the other babies I never allowed myself even though at the time it never felt like a choice.
It has been about so many experiences and challenges when I felt overwhelmed to the point of doubting my survival and yet with good people around me miraculously I have so that today I thrive.
It's made me pause and think about the women I know and love who most probably won't be marching this year for all sorts of reasons.
I'm thinking of my friend Linda who has just lost her husband after caring for him through his decline from Alzheimer's. I can only imagine how it must have been for her to see her once alpha male partner hollowed out by that dreadful disease.
I'm thinking of my friend Barbara who has just buried her mother and the tsunami of grief she is currently caught up in. I'd love her to come, but it might be too soon for her even to consider right now.
I'm thinking of my unique woman friends I've not made time to see in the last year or so and it makes me feel sad and ashamed of myself that I've not tried harder to keep these relationships alive. I'm prompted to reach out to them now before I'm no more than a distant and irrelevant memory to them.
I'm thinking about the women I know professionally and how great it could be for us to do something together that is real and would be unifying away from emails, webinars and Skype. I hope some of us will meet up for this.
I'm thinking of my beloved sister-in-law and her grown-up daughter living in the Republic of Ireland. I know they're not going to make it over for now and it would have felt great to march with them. They've got their country's Irish Abortion referendum coming up in May, so maybe I should go there and march with them.
I'm thinking of women in my modern, re-constructed London family, my step-grand-daughters and their mums and hoping they'll answer the call to action too so that we can all march together.
Women. All of the women from all the parts of my life. Feels like a Million Women Rising is a perfect opportunity to show up, be counted and to celebrate connection and appreciation for every last one of us.
If you graze and snack all through the day, it's easy to be confused about whether you are physically hungry or just fake hungry. Grazing and snacking can be such an embedded habit that some people have no idea what real, actual physical hunger feels like.
Are you so used to eating without thinking that you find it hard to stop even when your stomach is full? Some people go even further and don't stop eating until they feel bloated, uncomfortable and completely over-stuffed.
Your eating can feel even more out of control when it happens in a sort of absent-minded way while busy doing other things like watching TV, surfing the net, driving, or at work.
Maybe you do this?
Do you find yourself back in the kitchen searching for something tasty shortly after eating a big meal?
Do you buy yourself ‘treats’ as part of the weekly grocery shopping that is a secret that no one else knows?
Are you ashamed of what you secretly eat and try to be clever at covering up your tracks and hiding any evidence from family or friends?
Well, you’re not alone!
If you recognise yourself in any of this, you too could be an emotional eater who confuses physical hunger with fake hunger and uses food to swallow down your uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, boredom, loneliness or even just feeling fed up.
I’m right here for you with everything you need
For nearly twenty years I have worked successfully with thousands of people to erase the triggers that make them want to eat when they are not physically hungry. They are people from all walks of life who blamed themselves for being overweight or for failing to stick to the latest fad diet. They thought their excess weight was because they were greedy or that they had no will-power but nothing is further from the truth.
For emotional eaters, the drive to eat it is not ever really about food and never, ever about a lack of willpower.
Even NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) who provide national guidance and advice to improve health and social care in the UK recognised a momentous shift in how the medical profession sees the future of adult weight management in their 2016 guidelines.
It recognised for the first time the need to include ‘talking therapies’ to tackle obesity, and this marked an acceptance that psychological hunger is as powerful, and as important to tackle, as physiological, or real hunger.
Dr Matthew Capehorn said, ‘We can make anyone lose weight (lock them in a cupboard and don’t feed them!) If we don’t address the underlying reasons why they became overweight, they will face precisely the same psychological problems they had at the start and are more likely to put the weight straight back on’. (Ref: Foreword to 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating, Hammersmith Books, London)
The underlying reasons you put on weight can be resolved too so that you are no longer triggered by your emotions to eat when you are fake hungry.
Once your emotional triggers to eat are successfully erased you too can lose weight by eating only when you are physically hungry, stop effortlessly when you have eaten enough and enjoy feeling completely calm and relaxed around food.
I work with the most powerful therapy tools that have already transformed the lives of thousands of other emotional eaters to end their fake hunger so that they can eat for nourishment instead of swallowing down their emotions.
Contact me if you recognise yourself as an emotional eater and are ready to get the help you need to transform your relationship with food so that you can eat for nourishment instead of self-punishment.
Just click on the button at the top of the page to schedule your discovery call with me.
‘When I signed up for therapy with Sally I was already on the waiting list for a gastric band operation. Major abdominal surgery was something I wanted to avoid, so this programme felt like my last-ditch attempt to get my weight under control.
‘At the initial consultation, I weighed in at 24 stone and one pound (337 lb/153 kg). A week later, when I came for my first therapy session, I topped that with an additional half a stone (7 lb/3 kg) for good measure. Those extra pounds were a classic “Last Supper” response, coupled with the fall-out from the celebrations for my 58th birthday.
‘Clearly, I had a long way to go. I was under no illusions that my weight was causing me problems, but I was obviously not in the right frame of mind to fully focus on doing anything differently. I was disappointed in myself that I’d got myself in this state and felt pretty disgusted with myself for letting it happen. I had gone from being a well-built, strong athletic type of guy to someone who was classed as morbidly obese with painful joints, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnoea. And, I felt like had let all of that happen to me.'
‘All those negative opinions of myself are just great ways of beating myself up and keeping me stuck. Little by little I was able to let go of that self-blame and begin to do things differently.'
‘I’m a bloke, so I like goals and structure. The first thing I did was set myself staged, with dated targets, towards my key goal of getting my weight down to 19 stone, nine pounds (275 lb/124 kg). That wasn’t an arbitrary weight by the way. That was the weight I needed to achieve to get myself out of the morbidly obese category as defined by the NHS' [UK’s National Health Service] BMI (body mass index) measurement.'
''I had to work hard to clear my self-doubts and to keep focused. When I began, I was pretty overwhelmed and certainly didn’t feel confident that I could make those changes happen. There were many two-steps-forward-and-one-step-backwards as I made progress towards my goal.'
'For me, I appreciated the hypnotherapy and visualising myself achieving my goal weight really helped me to get there. In all, it took me just under a year to get down to the 19st 9lbs target.'
'The key for me appears to be a sort of mindfulness – not only while eating but in keeping these issues, the decision to put my health first, the intention to be accountable to me, in the frame on a daily basis. This is what is difficult, because it is the opposite of what I have done all my life: putting personal issues on the back burner, but is it so good, and so successful, when I do it. And when you’re on a roll success breeds success.'
‘I achieved my steadiest, most reliable, incremental, week-upon-week, weight loss when I listened to the hypnosis-recordings every day; kept a food diary; when my wife and I worked together to plan out the week’s menu in advance; and when we shopped for our meals and snacks so that everything was available in the kitchen.'
''The food diary’s weekly tally of my drinking prompted me to face up to, and radically cut-down my alcohol consumption. That has stayed down ever since, as has switching regular takeaway dinners for more home-cooked meals.'
'I’d had a long belief that the B’s were responsible and that cutting out Bread, Butter and Beer would do the job! However just trying to cut out those with no mental support framework had in the past just been doomed to repeated failure with each pound or stone off followed sooner, or later with two back on!'
'Now, the lower carb diet worked, and is mostly still working for me, does not demand foregoing Butter – but the of course less I have the better (as Betty Botter might have said). Obviously Bread is out along with rice, pasta, chips, etc., and again, as my knees only allow me to perform limited exercise, Beer has to be off the menu.'
'The quality of the mental support framework comes and goes supported by firstly success, by personal relationships, by the hypnotherapy CDs, and by some sort of personal happiness index. – what a list of variables.'
‘It might make it sound as though my weight loss was all down to practical factors, but of course, key to all of this was me getting my head around the idea, the actual possibility, of me being able to lose the weight and that’s what I did in the therapy sessions. I had so much doubt at my own ability to make a difference in my own life that for that first year I carried on attending the hospital appointments for the gastric band procedure, just in case I failed. I kept those appointments all the way up to when I no longer met the NHS’s qualifying guidelines for surgical intervention. I had disqualified myself by no longer being fat enough!'
‘I found I struggled to stay focused when I took on a couple of property renovations and my life got very busy and stressful. It became all too easy to let my health priorities take a back seat while I focused on working hard. I began making poor food choices, often eating on the run. That whole mañana thing of “’I’ll take care of myself tomorrow” had been a bit of a theme for me for years, and had got me into the mess I’d already found myself in.'
'Being busy again, and under pressure, triggered me into those old patterns of behaviour of not taking care of myself. The therapy sessions helped me realise I could make other choices for myself, that I mattered, and that taking care of myself mattered too.'
‘The four to five stone (56-70 lb/25-32 kg) I reduced my weight by had many welcome health benefits. The practice nurse at my General Practice (GP) surgery ran the statistics and said I had improved my life expectancy by 20 percent. All of the readings from my regular blood tests were hugely better. My sleep apnoea had reduced from 40 interrupts per hour to initially 11 interrupts per hour, and now I keep meaning to return the breathing assistance machine to the hospital as I never need to use it at all, which of course is wonderful.'
‘I had a health scare last year driving back down to the south of England from Scotland with my wife. A few hundred miles into the trip I felt that tell-tale tightness in my chest and my heart was pumping ten-to-the-dozen. It was very scary.'
'We were in a part of the country that we barely knew and had to make our way to the nearest hospital, where I was admitted for tests. I was eventually diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition characterised by irregular heartbeat which can lead to an increased risk of stroke, or even heart failure. I can’t tell you how immensely pissed off I was.'
' I had done everything I was told to do - eaten more healthily, cut down on the booze and lost weight and then - sod’s law - this should happen to me. I felt all over again that my body had let me down. I know it’s not rational, but it’s how I felt. I was back in that abyss thinking that I had allowed this to happen to me, that it was all my fault. It took a while to haul myself back up and recognise that the weight I had lost had probably made the difference from me being here today or not.'
‘I had got complacent, I guess. I thought I had done enough, but I have decided now I’m ready to lose the next chunk of weight. I’ve set a new weight loss target. I’ve gone back to keeping a food diary and listening to the hypnosis recordings every day. I want to build on the positive health improvements I’ve already gained, and I’m keen to have more of the same. I’m talking to my wife about my plans as I know how well I can do when she and I work together, and she always loses some weight too, so everyone’s a winner!'
‘I understand now that I deserve to be well and happy and that no-one can do that for me, except me, and I truly want that, and I’m willing to work for it.’
Contact me if you feel ready to lose your excess weight through changing how you think and feel about yourself and food. Click on the button at the top of this page for an obligation free 30-minute call.
Emotional Eating Q & A with Examiner.com
Examiner.com journalist Betty Russell poses her questions to therapist Sally Baker about her work to transform emotional eating into successful weight loss.
Why do you have a passion for helping people lose weight?
The mind-body connection informs my work as a therapist, and when working, I am working with a client I tend to focus on the signals from their body to reveal and often, in turn, resolve their sub-conscious issues.
Carrying excess weight for many people is the outcome of a survival decision they made when they felt powerless to defend or define themselves in any other way. Being overweight is never just about food or lack of willpower.
Can you describe the tools you use to help people change?
I work with three main therapy tools. Originating in the US, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has been around now for over 25 years. It is easy to learn as a self-help tool and can be applied to alleviate a myriad of negative emotions. The technique involves tapping with two fingers on various points mainly on the face, and upper body. It works on the same energy lines, or Chi meridians as acupuncture, the traditional ancient Chinese medicine.
The second core therapy involves listening and interacting with a selection of short audio tracks. The listener taps with the fingers of both hands to a complex sequence of three rhythms.
Due to how the brain processes information, and in particular memory this therapy works wonderfully to reduce and even erase the emotional connection between negative feelings from memories, or events from the past whether they are real or imagined.
The third technique is Hypnotherapy which during a period of intense guided relaxation allows the subconscious mind to accept positive suggestions to support change and to help align the subconscious mind with the weight loss success that a client desires for themselves without triggering self-sabotaging behaviour.
How did you arrive at using this combination of therapies?
I came to use this combination of therapies with my therapist colleague and co-writer, Liz Hogon. We initially began working with EFT, and then hypnotherapy.
It feels as though we have had to explore a lot of modalities and techniques that are out there to ultimately find the most powerful and effective tools for successful weight loss.
What are the seven steps people can take to control their weight that you mention in your book?
We view the seven steps for people to resolve their emotional eating to be similar to the layers of an onion. We recommend people begin at step 1 in the book and work through to step 7 without skipping steps, or tackling them out of order. In this way, the journey begins with the present and unfurls the multi-layers leading to letting go, acceptance, and stepping up to a new way of living and loving oneself.
The seven steps are:
Acknowledging the present
Comfort and stress eating
Setting and achieving your goals
New day, new dawn
What do you have to say to anyone who thinks this is just another thing that won’t work for them?
By the time a person seeks help with their weight loss from a professional therapist, they are already experienced at every diet from Atkins to The Zone. They already understand that their overeating is not about an insatiable appetite for food but more an attempt to fill a bottomless void inside of themselves or to quell their often ever-present anxiety.
Clients who come to see either Sally in London, England or Liz in Melbourne, Australia feel over-whelmed with years of yo-yo dieting with failure inevitably following success.
Intellectually people understand how to lose weight, and are tired, and frustrated with their occasional weight loss success triggering a whole range of sabotaging behaviours that puts the weight back on, and keeps them stuck.
We begin the work by acknowledging the present, and that includes their fears that this won’t work for them as so many other things they've already tried for themselves haven’t worked either.
We gently explore an individual’s belief system to shift their perspective with the techniques we use so that the client can begin to embrace, and believe that there is a different way and that they deserve it to be their story too.
Anything else you want to add?
All the techniques we use in our therapy practices are simply explained in our book and in our new online course 'Overcoming Emotional Eating.' With the book and the course we have put together a compelling self-help resource for people to tackle their own reasons for emotional eating, and to facilitate their successful lose weight, once and for all.
7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating is available from Amazon as a paperback and as an e-version. For more information about Sally and Liz's online course 'Overcoming Emotional Eating' checkout
Contact me if you feel overwhelmed with years of yo-yo dieting and emotional eating. You can schedule an obligation free discovery call by clicking on the button at the top of the page.
To understand the mindset of an emotional eater, it is vital to understand that their sense of self-worth is directly linked to the numbers on their bathroom scales.
A pound lost, or a pound gained can set the tenor of their entire day.
Foods are also never neutral. They are forensically studied, and determined to be good or bad.
Emotional eaters battle with their own body’s hunger, and cravings.
They know there have been times when they have succumbed, and eaten just one forbidden food for it to start a tsunami of bingeing, and sometimes purging with all the accompanying feelings of shame, and self-loathing.
An emotional eater’s attitude towards themselves and food isn’t logical. The extent of their preoccupation with the axis of food, and their weight is often a private source of great personal distress and shame.
The reasons for this over-thinking about food, body weight, and how they define themselves and feel about being themselves in the world are varied, and inevitably complex.
Liz Hogon and I specialise in resolving issues around emotional eating so that people who have struggled with weight loss for years can finally successfully lose weight.
We are also the co-authors of 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating (Hammersmith Books, London).
The clients we see are mostly people who feel over-whelmed by the challenge of losing weight, and they can also often have other long-term health issues to contend with.
Non-emotional eaters have a different relationship with food. They also come in all sorts of physical shapes, and sizes and some may decide they are heavier than they would like to be.
With this realisation, they now have two main choices. The first would be that they now decide to lose their excess weight.
For non-emotional eaters, this would mean setting; reducint portion size, and maybe even incorporating regular exercise until they have reached their goal weight.
Unlike emotional eaters, they do not totally define themselves by how much they weigh. Therefore for them losing their excess weight is no more of a challenge than any other aspect of their lives such as learning conversational French, or taking up painting with water-colours as a hobby.
They often successfully lose weight, and even if they eventually pile on some extra pounds, they have the option of just applying their tried and trusted methods until they are back again at their goal weight.
Their second choice is to accept their expanding waistbands and buy bigger clothes sizes.
Anyway, most of the people they know are like them and are increasingly larger versions of their former selves.
Non-emotional eaters find it hard to feel their weight gain is that important when the trend of increasing pounds is a familiar trait with their partner, members of their family, and their friends.
They simply get used to buying a size, or two larger in their clothes, let out their belts another notch, and ultimately pay it little mind.
This feature was first published online by the Talking Health Partnership.
Contact me if you are feeling overwhelmed by your weightloss challenge. I can help you to target your body by changing your mind to end your emotional eating. Just click on the button at the top of the page to schedule a free call.