When you decide to lose weight, the first thing you think about is to change your diet or exercise routine.
Of course, being on a diet and exercising work for some people. They lose weight and start to feel happy and confident. But it's not so easy for some other people.
If you have emotional trauma that you need to heal, your weight probably won't come off even if you put yourself on a strict diet or push yourself to work out.
Emotional trauma is everywhere, and you can get affected by it. Even one small event could change your life.
Before I talk about it, let's take a look at some of the causes of emotional trauma.
- Relationship breakups
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a friendship
- Sexual harassment
- Emotional or physical abuse
Or it could be as small as what your parents had told you once when you were a kid.
When I was about 12 years old, my mom and older sister told me that I should change my personality, which is similar to my dad, otherwise I would never be successful. My parents were divorced, and my dad was never around, so I never considered my dad as family. So what they told me was not only like a punch in the stomach but made me feel that I'm not a part of the family. That was the only time they told me that, but I still remember it clearly, and it definitely affected my life.
As a result of emotional trauma, we begin to feel numb and disconnect ourselves.
Trauma causes a shock to our minds and bodies so that we do anything to avoid it. We unconsciously put painful memories in a box and put in the very back of our mind’s closet and pretend it's not there.
But no matter what we do and how long a time has passed, the box is still there, and it creates all kinds of havoc.
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Anger, irritability, mood swing
- Depression, anxiety
- Drugs and alcohol abuse
- Sexual relationships problems
And body image and weight issues are one of them.
I see it over and over that the person who has a hard time losing weight often has some emotional trauma.
Some use food to release frustration. Some numb or distract feelings with food. Some unconsciously use weight as protection because of emotional or physical abuse from the past.
Our mind, body, and soul are all connected, so our body reaction is an indicator for wellness of our mind and soul.
So how can we heal from emotional trauma?
I'll show you the first three simple but essential steps to take.
1. Be open to healing
One of the very first steps you can take is to be open to healing. The desire to change and feel better can be your best ally on your journey. Don't give in to the self-critic, which may tell you there's something wrong with you. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. I invite you to acknowledge your courage instead, because there are so many people who don't even want to admit that they have a problem.
2. Acknowledge the box of painful memories in your mind’s closet
All you need to do is to acknowledge it. If you are ready to open it, you can, but you don't have to. Once you acknowledge it, check in with yourself and see how you feel. Simple recognition will give it less power and gives you a sense of security. We tend to be more afraid of things we don't know, so this step helps make you feel, "It's ok. I've got this!"
3. Be mindful of your emotions
Every time you feel something— angry, sad, anxious, frustrated, etc.— don't let it take over you. Be mindful of your emotions and see where they are coming from. Remember, there is always a reason why we feel what we feel. You don't get annoyed for no reason. It may be hard to do in the beginning, but it will get easier if you keep doing it. And the more you become aware of your emotions, the more you feel empowered.
It may be hard to believe this now, but your heart can heal. And your body will respond if you nurture your mind and soul. With willingness and courage to take the steps for change, you will experience new levels of happiness, joy, and love for yourself and your body once you start to heal.