Discover 2 Hidden Weight Stressors That Cause Your Body to Cling to Unwanted Pounds
By Jennifer Joy Jiménez
Have you been exercising like crazy and watching your diet like a hawk — yet you still can’t drop unwanted weight?
It’s not your fault! There are actually 12 secret weight stressors that cause weight to cling to your body like a ball and chain — no matter how healthy you eat or how much you work out. These are things your typical nutritionist or fitness trainer doesn’t about – or else they’d definitely be talking to you about it!
Knowing these weight stressors and how to counteract them has revolutionized my life and my relationship with myself (especially my weight!). It’s also impacted the hundreds of incredible, heart-centered women I work with, opening a path for them to feel more confident in their bodies, vibrantly healthy, and alive in their lives.
In this blog post, the first in a series of six articles, we’ll look at the first two hidden weight stressors.
What’s the REAL Reason You’re Eating?
The first tricky weight stressor is eating for the wrong reasons. The best reason to eat is to nourish our bodies to give us the fuel to live an energized life.
In reality, we eat for many other reasons. Our cravings are often driven by an unfilled, subconscious need. When you have an insatiable hunger for sugar, salty foods, or junk food, there usually are a few things going on beneath the surface. It’s time to get curious and dive deeper into what’s driving your craving!
We crave unhealthy food for six common reasons:
- You’re seeking a reward.
When you were growing up, were you given sugar or other foods as a reward for doing something well? (Say, a trip to get ice cream when you’d bring home a good report card?)
If so, you’ve been hardwired to expect a treat as a reward for a job well done. As an adult, you might not consciously expect a reward. But subconsciously, trust me, that belief is popping back up.
Pay attention, and if you notice that you seek an edible reward when you feel like you want to celebrate a job well done, think of a more empowering way to reward yourself.
I often say that some people live 90 years, while many others live the same year 90 times. In other words, you might be bored and just going through the motions of life.
Our souls seek growth and transformation. Deep down, we look for ways to continually expand our comfort zone.
But if it’s been a while since you’ve been challenged — if you’re not consciously and consistently working on your goals and dreams — it’s easy to get mired in boredom. You might be turning to food to mask your feelings of boredom.
If you find yourself eating out of boredom, explore ways that you could challenge yourself. Learn a new skill, practice a favorite hobby, or take action toward a goal.
- A Sense of Pleasure
I’m not talking just any pleasure here — I mean a guilty pleasure. Eating and drinking are really only one of the approved, commonly accepted forms of pleasure – especially for women. We’ll automatically reach for the decadent chocolate when we’re seeking pleasure instead of asking ourselves what would bring us the most joy and pleasure in the moment.
With a bit of gentle exploration, you might find that reading a book, indulging in a hot bath, or spending time in nature offers more joy and delight than noshing on candy or junk food.
- You’re missing fun and play.
As adults, we often lose touch with our playful sides. But our souls still crave fun … which is why you might find yourself reaching for junk food.
Think about it: When we were kids, “fun” was sometimes defined by indulging in a lollipop or our favorite candy bar. As adults, we still reach for those things automatically. Instead, think about other ways that you can inject for more fun and play into your life.
This one is actually a little tricky — and fascinating at the same time. Here’s how it works…
If you’re feeling ashamed, that you’ve done something wrong, or that you’ve otherwise messed up, you might subconsciously believe that you deserve to be punished. And the form of punishment you unknowingly choose? Sabotaging your healthy eating by eating something that’s not healthy.
- Distraction from unwanted feelings.
Everyone has feelings. But not everyone is comfortable feeling their feelings.
If you’re feeling sad, stressed, angry, irritated or one of the other myriad human emotions, you might not want to feel and express those feelings. Instead, you turn to food to distract yourself and push those uncomfortable emotions down deep.
Now that you know the most common reasons we eat when we’re not hungry, you can dig deeper into your cravings. But what do you do when you identify one of these drivers behind your eating?
That’s where my BWFAA Formula comes in handy.
The BWFAA Formula
The BWFAA Formula incorporates powerful ways to intercept cravings, install more healthy ways of living and being, and give yourself space to make a different choice in the moment.
B — Breath. The first thing you should do when you notice a craving is press your mental pause button, then take a deep breath. This gives you the opportunity to stop your unconscious habit of reaching for unhealthy food, so you can consciously make a more empowering choice.
W — Water. Next, drink water. Water fills you up. In addition, we often think we’re hungry when our bodies are crying out for water.
F — Fiber. Grab a fiber-rich food, such as a stalk of celery or an apple. Eating something healthy can satiate your hunger and quell the drive to eat.
A — Ask a Power Question. These are proven, life-coaching questions that help you drill down to the root cause that’s driving your craving. Your craving is the sign of an unmet need, and these questions can help you fill that need in a more loving, empowering, successful way.
Before you eat, I encourage you to ask yourself these Power Questions…
- “Am I really hungry?”
- “Am I actually thirsty and maybe not really hungry?”
- “What am I ‘really’ craving?”
- “What am I really hungry for?”
- “Am I stress-eating [emotional eating] right now?”
- “What healthy, empowered choice can I make right now?”
- “Is this just a short term pleasure?”
- “How do I want to feel an hour from now, week from now, year from now?”
Feel free to copy and paste the above questions into a document, print them out, or take a picture. Do something to keep these questions handy, so that when you have a craving, you can refer to them easily!
A — Allow Yourself Space to Get Your Deeper Needs Met. Our natural tendency when we notice a craving that we want to resist is to say, “No, I can’t have that.”
But here’s the thing … what we focus on expands. The more you resist that craving, the more it will persist.
So allow yourself the opportunity to have the food or beverage you crave — IF you still want the item after walking yourself through all the preceding steps. I’ll bet that there’s a 99.9% chance that your craving will dissipate by the time you make it to this step in the formula.
But if not — if you absolutely feel like you want to indulge in your craving – do so wholeheartedly. Allowing yourself the space to meet your needs will actually diffuse the energy of your craving.
Are You Seeking Safety?
The second secret weight stressor is the unconscious attempt to create safety and to establish boundaries in your life. This stressor is extremely common — especially for women … and especially for women who have experienced mental, emotional, physical or sexual trauma.
If creating healthy boundaries is an area of challenge in your life, you may find that you’re holding extra weight around your middle. This is our energetic power center, as well as our energetic creative center. We can hold weight here in an effort to feel safe.
Often, spirit calls us to create healthy boundaries in relationships, in work, or in other areas. Boundaries create safety. If you don’t have strong, healthy boundaries, you’ll feel unsafe … and your body will respond by clinging to extra pounds.
To address this particular weight stressor, transformational life coaching is the most powerful tool that I’ve found. If the need to work on boundaries resonates with you, I invite you to check out the Vibrant Healthy Woman coaching program. One of my areas of expertise is helping women feel safe, get their needs met, and set healthy boundaries while also building beautiful, lasting, and loving relationships, success in work, and optimal health and well-being.
One of the powerful tools that we use within the Vibrant Healthy Woman coaching program is guided meditation. This form of meditation has been scientifically proven to lower cortisol levels. Why does this matter? High cortisol levels are a hidden weight stressor.
As a gift, I’d love to offer you a free guided meditation to help you lower your cortisol levels, feel safe, and boost your confidence … which will then help you create the healthy boundaries you need to get your needs met. Click here for full details and to access this free meditation.
Many people — even health and wellness professionals — don’t know that these weight stressors exist. Please help spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and family. Then check back soon for my next post, where I’ll share another hidden weight stressor that is making it nearly impossible for you to release unwanted weight.