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TOPIC: How to Let Go of Your Food Crutch

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November 16, 2010 6:22 PM
I love the reference to obesity being in remission. This really emphasizes the seriousness of obesity when we think of it as being in remission. This article was written for ones who have had WLS but it definitely applies to anyone struggling with obesity, overeating eating, binge eating, etc. The following article has some tips on how to let go of food crutches?

The Weekly Newsletter from:
National Association for Weight Loss Surgery
How to Let Go of Your Food Crutch
by Katie Jay, MSW, Certified Wellness Coach
Director, National Association for Weight Loss Surgery

Even though you say you want to be successful with your
surgery, do you sometimes eat when you wish you wouldn't?

When it comes to eating, is guilt a frequent companion
of yours?

Welcome to the club.

In our culture, with the amount of unhealthy food we're
exposed to, and with the holiday stresses bearing down
on us, it's safe to say many Americans, including WLSers,
will be using food as a crutch in the coming weeks.

In fact, eating food with no nutritional value during
the holidays has become such an accepted pastime, we
don't even realize that we are eating to deal with

And because holiday eating is sanctioned by nearly
everyone, we have a golden opportunity to hide in plain
sight -- to use our crutch without anyone really knowing
we're using it. We take a brief vacation from the guilt
(or at least we try to).

"I am not going to feel deprived at Thanksgiving," we
insist. "I can handle a little indulgence." "I've been
so good this year, I deserve a holiday from food rules!"
"I've modified the recipe; this is *healthy* fudge."

Clearly, some of us *can* handle a little indulgence,
but why do we tempt fate? Why do we turn to food with
gusto and self righteousness?


Many of us don't want to feel our feelings. We don't
like the discomfort of deprivation, longing, feeling
different from others, isolation, loneliness, anger,
fear, sadness, shame, loss, or abandonment.

The truth is, however, that finding healthier ways to
deal with our uncomfortable feelings is essential to
long-term success.

Even when you feel resistance to putting down the food
crutch, it boils down to this: Do you want long-term
obesity remission or don't you?

I had to look in the mirror and ask myself that question
a few days ago, as I obsessed about whether or not I
should make gluten-free brownies for myself. "Maybe I
can handle desserts," I reasoned like a pro. "Maybe it's
been the gluten all along, and I really can handle more

When I asked myself whether or not I wanted to keep my
obesity in remission, I knew the answer immediately --

Some of us aren't so lucky. We really don't know what
we want. We don't know if putting down our food crutch
is possible, or even desirable. Is it worth feeling all
those negative feelings just so we can stay a size 12
(or whatever)? Apparently, the answer for some of us
is "NO!"

The only way to know if it's worth it is to give it a
try, to put down the crutch long enough to see what
might happen once we get used to living without it --
and to see that we can survive, or even better, thrive.

There are a ton of resources available to help us
learn to stop using food as a crutch, but the bottom
line is that we need to put down the offending foods,
identify and feel our feelings, find healthier ways to
deal with those feelings, and get as much support as
necessary to accomplish this challenging task.

Here's what seems to work for most people:

1. Devise a strategy you will experiment with when
you have uncomfortable feelings, instead of using
food as a crutch.

2. Take a few minutes first thing each morning to
visualize yourself moving through your day, trying
out your new strategy, allowing your feelings, and
making healthy food choices.

3. Resolve to be self aware before, during, and
after your eating -- no matter what.

4. Welcome your feelings warmly and "make small
talk" with them, so you can understand what they
are trying to tell you about your needs.

5. Honor your needs.

6. Notice without judgment the thoughts and
feelings you are having about your feelings.

7. Make notes about what you did in response to
an uncomfortable feeling instead of eat, and how
well it did or didn't work for you.

8. Resolve to stick with the experiment until you
know whether or not the new strategy can work.

9. If the new strategy is not working, get more
support. If it still isn't working, do some
research and try another strategy.

10. Never give up!

As one of my coaching clients reminded me
recently, the only way out is through. To
keep obesity in remission, we need to practice
putting our food crutch down, and bravely feel
our feelings, as often as we can.

It's possible!

Warm regards,



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November 16, 2010 6:41 PM
Thanks for sharing that, Mollie1037. I'm starting to loosen my grip just a little bit on my food crutch. Small steps... :-)
November 16, 2010 7:23 PM
Thanks for sharing.
June 24, 2012 5:05 AM
Thanks for sharing :)

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