Karen Salmansohn
Source: Karen Salmansohn

Confession time: I used to be a stress eater – until I did some research as to why – then lost twenty pounds in about three months –and kept the weight off for three years and counting.

One of the interesting insights I found: Often over-eating is  a way to punish yourself  – for the anger and resentment you’re feeling – either at yourself – or someone else.

In fact, there’s been a lot of research which supports how anger is at the root of many addictions, as far ranging as food, drug, alcohol and shopping addictions. Addicts seek these vices to avoid feeling the pain of past resentments. Their anger becomes a boomerang — or what I jokingly call a “boomeranger” — because their unwanted negative emotions come back to whack them with an addiction.

The University of Wisconsin did a recent research study, comparing “Forgiveness Therapy” versus routine “Traditional Drug/Alcohol Therapy.” They showed “Forgiveness Therapy” helped to relieve the anger behind substance abuse even more successfully than routine drug/alcohol therapy.

Plus, not only did subjects display faster success, but created less recidivism. Meaning? There was less of a return to their addictions! Those who did Forgiveness Therapy were more likely to stay addiction-free!

After I read this study (and further research) I decided to go on what I call “A Hate Loss Plan” - as part of my “Weight Loss Plan.” 

Karen Salmansohn/DoItProgram
Source: Karen Salmansohn/DoItProgram

In other words, I realized that whenever I was pigging out on a big bag of Cheese Doodles, I was really pigging out on a bag of “I Hate Me Doodles” or a bag of “I Hate That This Challenge/Adversity/Rejection Has Happened To Me Doodles.”

I recognized that I needed to re-train my brain to stop eating like I wanted to punish myself or punish someone else. I needed to re-learn how to eat like I loved myself, and want to nourish and support myself.

As a result, I started to practice Forgiveness Tools to release my anger, regret and resentment at specific people and situations. Plus I developed healthier ways to deal with stress, worry and anxiety. Sure enough, shortly afterwards, I no longer felt that same irresistible urge towards food.

Since I began my practice of Forgiveness Therapy, it’s now instinctual for me to choose to eat like I love myself – instead of eating like I wanted to punish myself. Plus I’ve not only lost weight, I’ve lost the anger and anxiety I was feeling, and so I feel happier and calmer within.

Can you relate to any of this? Even if you’re not over-eating specifically as “punishment,” chances are you’re doing it to avoid being fully present with yourself and unwanted feelings.

Although you might think you’re over-eating for fun entertainment, or as an attempt to comfort yourself, there are healthier ways to have fun and get comforted.

Chances are you’re using over-eating as a way to escape yourself. It’s an attempt not to feel or think about what you really need to feel and face.

You’re in “fight and flight mode.” Or what I jokingly call “flight and bite.”

Basically, over-eating is about avoiding a needed loving conversation with yourself, and thereby avoiding honoring your truest feelings and truest thoughts.

If you want to live your happiest life - true to who you are - and true to what you need - then you have to stop pigging out and start listening up!

Karen Salmansohn (founder of the popular inspirational site www.notsalmon.com) is a bestselling author, Oprah columnist, and award winning designer with over one million books sold. She is known for developing The Do It Program – a life-changing online home course – you can do at your own pace.  You’ll not only lose weight, you’ll gain self-love, gain calm, gain confidence – and gain lots of positive energy to go towards your “Grand Quest” – an exciting passion/mission. Click to find out more about these life-changing tools! 

About the Author

Karen Salmansohn

Karen Salmansohn is an author and contributor to Huffingtonpost.com. She also writes a popular business column for amNY newspaper called "The 1 Minute Career Therapist."

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