Can a Secret Make You Fat? : Addicted to Food Series Part 2

Tuesday Apr 19 | BY |
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is a secret keeping you addicted to food
Deer don’t keep secrets… maybe this is why they stay so trim.

[This is Part 2 of a 5 Part Series on Beating Food Addictions. This series was inspired by the OWN Network show “Addicted to Food.” Click here for Part 1.]

As a personal trainer, I would meet with clients every day.

I would get to know them personally.

I knew what they liked to do on their time off, I knew what they would eat on a regular basis (bad or good), I knew their kids names, ages and after-school activities, I sometimes knew things about them that their spouses didn’t know – a relationship with a personal trainer is an intimate thing.

In fact, it needs to be.

The reason why is because the secrets that you keep can dramatically influence your personal health and your weight.

If you have a big secret, it may be keeping you from losing weight.

I had a client once, let’s call her Sally, who was a very powerful, well credentialed, single executive in her mid-40’s.

Not only was she successful, but she was also incredibly sweet and caring.

When I first met her she was just about 400 pounds.

We worked together for a few months.

While we were training, I did my best to get to know her. The reason why is because I’ve learned that the more you know someone, the more you can help them.

Sally was frustrated. She wasn’t happy with who she was. She would eat bags of popcorn at night while watching TV, then feel sick – emotionally and physically – before she went to bed.

I really liked her and I really wanted to help.

Sally’s food addiction ran deep in her personality. My own experience with addiction taught me that in order to understand what was causing her binging was that I needed to carefully and specifically understand her past.

In my own addiction experience, I had confidence issues, I didn’t feel or couldn’t accept love, and I didn’t have a purpose.

She clearly had a purpose and she had confidence in herself too. She was a high level executive who traveled all around the country for work. If she didn’t have confidence she would have been out of work on the couch binging more. So, she was strong. That wasn’t the issue.

She definitely had a purpose too. You don’t climb up the corporate ladder without a direction.

So I thought her challenge may be personal and likely connected to her ability to feel or accept love.

Now, I have to tell you, if you want to be a good personal trainer and you want to keep your clients, you can’t start digging into their personal life on the first consult like a pushy psychologist. You need to build rapport and want to get to know someone to be able to let them come to insights about themselves they may not have realized.

I also have to say, it’s important that they come to the conclusions – not have you tell them what you think about their lives. (That’s a big mistake.)

So I got to know Sally. I got to understand her tendencies. Finally, I was able to build enough trust with her so that she would talk more openly about her past relationships.

There was one man that she still hadn’t forgiven.

The relationship had rocked her so much that she didn’t want to feel loved for fear of being hurt again.

I’m not a psychologist, but I can tell you this, her weight issues were directly related to this psychological trauma. (Or at least a large portion of them were.)

Imagine being alone every night in total fear that if you were with someone they would eventually hurt you or leave.

I’d eat popcorn too. Lots of it.

My relationship with Sally lasted no more than 6 months. In that time she managed to lose about 50 pounds, which was a great start, but she would lose and gain back weight when she traveled for work. It was frustrating for both of us and she began to feel guilty about it.

Eventually, she just wouldn’t return my calls or emails about scheduling her next sessions.

That was the last I talked to Sally.

Sometimes, it’s not someone’s time. (Sometimes, you’re just not the right teacher.)

In our time, Sally had taught me a very important lesson. Losing weight is not about fitness. It was about finding out what secrets you keep and changing your emotional reaction to them.

She couldn’t overcome her food addiction during our time together because she wasn’t willing to deal with her own emotional block to love.

Let me tell you about a success, too.

Another client, who we’ve become friends with, came out to dinner with us at Bloodroot (my 2nd favorite vegan restaurant) over the holidays.

She’s a success.

She’s lost almost 90 pounds and kept it off for over 2 years now.

Over the last year, things weren’t so hot for her. She changed jobs, she needed to move and she broke up with someone who she had a long term relationship with.

If it weren’t for her ability to be emotionally strong, she would have gained the weight back.

The reason I knew this, is because she told Annmarie and I.

She said that if she had not learned from us and her other teachers how to cope emotionally over the past 5 years, she would have shot right back up to the weight she was before we started working with her. She knew this because it had happened over and over again in her life.

This time around it was different.

She had harnessed her emotions and in turn harnessed her food addiction.

She had learned to accept her emotional shortcomings and hurt to do what was best for her – something Sally wasn’t able to do.

Both these client stories have different outcomes, but you may find that there’s a little truth in both of them for you.

The good news is that you can overcome your food addiction too, as long as you can identify your own secrets and emotional blockages.

I want to now share with you a few other secrets that can literally make you addicted to food, so you can look critically at your own situation. Some of these might get a little deep, so if you’re addicted to food or anything else, please be open to listening. It’s the first step to getting better.

1. A bad relationship.

Some people I’ve worked with don’t like their spouses or their significant others any more.

As a trainer, it was not my job to tell someone to get a divorce or break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend – but sometimes this may be the best thing for a client’s health.

If you’re not clicking with your significant other and you’re not healthy, it’s time to face the facts and have an open communication with them.

Tell them how you feel (don’t blame them) about the situation with the intention of working it out.

Come up with a plan and give it a good try. Get counseling.

Do your best to make it work. If it does, you’ll not only lose weight, but you’ll likely come to terms with your food addiction as well.

If it doesn’t, do what you need to do and, again, you’ll likely lose weight and get healthy just by clearing that toxic energy.

What someone who is in a bad relationship needs to learn is that it won’t get any better unless you make it better. If you wait around for better days, you’re going to become deeply addicted to the behaviors that take you away from the situation – and remember these behaviors can range from food addiction to Facebook addiction to alcohol and drugs.

2. A job you don’t like.

If you don’t like your job, your chances of being addicted to something increase.

I haven’t looked for a study that states this, but my personal experience tells me this is completely true.

I’ve worked with clients who ran multimillion dollar businesses who were fat and unhappy.

The reason why they were not healthy is because they didn’t like what they did. One client inherited the family business. She would have been much happier working as a teacher, not a car dealership.

Another was a wife who just didn’t want to work in her husband’s business.

The emotional strain put on you by a job you don’t like can cause addictive behavior, so it’s best to get out soon if you really want to keep your health for the long term.

3. A deeper secret.

The reason the concept of this article came to me was because of one example I saw on the premier episode of “Addicted to Food.”

In the episode, a woman named Dejuaii (pronounced deh-WHY-uh) confesses a secret that she’s been holding for over 30 years.

For this entire time, she knew that she was gay, but hadn’t told her very religious family.

It makes sense. If your father was a pastor in the catholic church (a church that doesn’t necessarily welcome homosexuality) and a leader in the community wouldn’t it be easier just to keep this secret to yourself?

For Dejuaii, that’s what she figured too.

Unfortunately, over time her decision literally wrecked her health and caused her to reach out to food to suppress her secret.

When I think of this happening, I visually picture the secret coming up her esophagus and then her eating food to stuff it down and stop it from coming out.

The faster it threatens to come out, the more food goes in. So when she’s emotionally worn down, she eats more to make sure that she doesn’t crack and blurt out her truth to the world.

It’s a distraction tactic of sorts – that works – but only to your own detriment.

If you have a secret like this, how good would it feel to finally let it out?

If you do, no matter how negative the repercussions may be, the end result will be in your best interest – emotionally and physically.

So let me ask you…

Do you know about an affair your spouse had, that you haven’t come to terms with? Are you gay and have been pretending you’re not? Do you have a disease that you haven’t told anyone about? Are you withholding something from your past that would free you if the world knew about it?

Answer these questions honestly, share your truth with others and feel yourself lighten – figuratively and literally.

4. A personal or family trauma.

The last aspect I want to address is family or physical trauma.

Your past traumas play an important role in your health and your physical appearance.

Children that are abused are much more likely to be addicted to food or substances.

Unexpected deaths can lead to abusive or addictive personalities as well.

I lost my father when I was 2 years old which put a huge strain on my mother who was pregnant with my brother at the time. I can’t say directly that this caused my addictions, but I can say that it made life harder for our family. Hard times can lead members of a family to look for outlets for satisfaction – drugs, alcohol and food are some of them.

So your family and personal traumas can affect your health, but what do you do to change your behavior?

Again, you have to be honest about everything. You need to tell someone (maybe a close friend or a coach or psychologist.)

When you release the blockage you also release the energy that begs for more of the addictive substance.

Imagine filling a sink with water but the drain is blocked with a terrible secret. The water level will rise and rise until eventually it spills over and they’re a mess on the floor. If the water isn’t released, the floors will be ruined, there will be warped boards and mold will grow.

If you pull the block out of the drain, the water flows through and the damage is averted.

If you remove your own block the energy (and weight) doesn’t build up any more.

(I was going to use an analogy of a block in your rear while you keep eating, but I think the water one is more PC. LOL! But you can imagine this too…)

The overriding message here is this…

Get your stuff out on the table – no matter what it is – big or small.

I’ve always done this – since I’ve overcome my addictions – because I know how much better it was for me mentally and physically.

When I started to eat some dairy and some eggs, I knew that it wasn’t in my best business interest to tell our vegan readers that I had changed.

But what I did know is that it was in the best interest of my own personal physical and emotional health. To keep secrets in is to block energy from releasing.

This energy can manifest as many things. For some it’s food addiction or substances, for others it’s binging and purging – no matter what the issue is, none of the manifestations are good for your health.

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about food addiction in the raw food and healthy communities because there are a lot of health leaders and health devotes who show signs of food addiction and they may not even know it.

I want to know your thoughts: Do you know of any other possible secrets that we can hold that will affect our health?


Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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