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  • Catherine Chadwick

I Didn't Realise I Was Still Carrying That Around


More than once, someone has come to see me who began comfort eating and consequently putting on weight during a period of stress. Often the particular circumstances in that person’s life have changed and yet the eating behaviour persists.

When I look more deeply at the events that were going on at the time the behaviour started, it becomes apparent that there is still an emotional charge there for the person when they talk or think about it.

In a sense, even though in reality the circumstances that precipitated the comfort eating no longer exist, at some level there is a part of the client that is still in ‘stress’ mode because the feelings about what happened have not been discharged or sense made of what happened. Sometimes the client is aware of this as a tension somewhere in the body or it has indeed affected their health in a more tangible way. The client will probably also have taken on some new belief, often about their value and worth, as a result of the experience or experiences. This helps to maintain the unhelpful eating behaviour.

Helping the client resolve the precipitating event(s) internally is a very important part of the treatment. This can be very easy to do in hypnosis and the processes used can be very empowering for the client. Finally, they get the opportunity to express their truth about what they experienced and will often gain insight about the situation they went through, other peoples’ motives and themselves. These insights are often an important factor that redresses the balance internally for someone in relation to the events they went through. It is not uncommon for someone to say “I didn’t realise that person felt like that” or “I didn’t realise that was going on”, or “I saw myself completely differently” after we have addressed the matter.

When we have done work like this, often the unwanted behaviour will fall away of its own accord. That ‘stress’ no longer exists at an unconscious level and so there is no longer any need to eat to try and manage the old feelings that were percolating away.

Eating to manage feelings is always going to be inappropriate. Feelings are a part of life – a means of self-expression - and self-expression is a gift. Of course, there are events that happen in our lives and situations where it can be difficult to authentically express our feelings and know that they will be heard in the right way. There can be times when we realise that expressing ourselves might work to our detriment. These are the situations, such as work situations that we decide to leave and yet we may still be in a difficult environment for a period of time as we seek to extricate ourselves. Despite our best efforts, we might slowly have our confidence eroded.

It is always worthwhile to ‘heal’ old situations about which you still have an emotional charge when you think or talk about it. Apart from the discomfort, energy is tied up in trying to suppress the feelings. This energy is then no longer available to you, which can literally manifest in tiredness and also impede your access to your inner resources. When you have full access to your inner resources, you act in ways that are more beneficial to you.

Recently after working with a client she said “I didn’t realise I was still carrying that around”. She literally was - in the excess pounds of weight she wanted to shed.

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