If you’ve tried to lose weight by changing your diet and adding more exercise, but haven’t found the success you were looking for, you may have begun to suspect that there’s more to the weight loss story than just “calories in, calories out.” In fact, there are many reasons why our body may hang on to excess weight, even if we’d like it to let go. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and personal history all have a part to play. Did you know that in addition to our digestive system, we also have an emotional metabolism? We take in experiences, and our body needs to process the emotions of those experiences so that we can learn from them and then move on with our lives. If our emotional metabolism isn’t functioning as it should, our chemistry can become unbalanced, and the body can respond by storing energy as fat. In this compelling new video from IPEtv, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explains what “emotional constipation” is and why giving some attention to your emotional metabolism can help your body to find its perfect weight.
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Let’s talk about a strange thing that can make us gain weight: emotional constipation.
So check this out. And you know this. We live in a world where weight is a concern for a lot of people. And what few people realize is weight is a super complex topic. It’s not just calories in, calories out. More importantly, far too many people have been shamed by the world for what they weigh or how they look.
So we’re going to approach the topic of weight, not from the perspective of making anybody wrong for what they weigh, but from an honest, nonjudgmental place so we can see some of the hidden complexities that cause unnecessary weight gain.
And indeed there are some strange things that can cause human beings to put on weight or make them hang onto it more.
And one of those is emotional constipation. It sounds weird. What does it mean?
Now, I think this is important. So let me explain. There’s a subset of people who can’t lose weight despite the fact that they’re doing everything right on paper. They’re dieting. They’re eating much less. They’re exercising much more. But they don’t find lasting success, despite the fact that they legitimately have weight to lose. Maybe this has happened to you before.
So when people are weight loss resistant, they need to look deeper for the reason why. And emotional constipation is one such reason.
So indeed we have an emotional metabolism.
And what that means is there’s a constant flow of emotions, feelings, and experiences that we humans need to metabolize, meaning we need to take those emotions, those experiences, digest them, assimilate what we need from them, and excrete out whatever is toxic and is unneeded by the human form.
Same with food. You take in food. You digest. You assimilate. You excrete what you don’t need. Same with emotions. So many of us, for perfectly understandable reasons, have a little bit of a difficult time handling certain emotional experiences in life. It’s no different than eating a bad meal. It’s no different than eating something you don’t like, something you’re allergic to. When we take those experiences in, they’re hard to deal with. Sometimes we call those traumas. Sometimes we call them hardships. It could be a divorce, a breakup, a betrayal. Maybe somebody abused us physically, emotionally, sexually.
Sometimes we can’t even metabolize the great stuff in life when we’re super happy, when things are going great. And it ends up being constipated in our system. We just can’t digest it and process it. And when that happens, you can feel that the body enters a stress state. And when you hear “stress state,” you know what to do.
Think sympathetic nervous system dominance, which means increased cortisol, increased insulin, other stress hormones that, when chronically elevated over time, signal the body to store weight, store fat, and not build muscle, but will bloat the body, as well, will cause us to retain water weight in addition.
So the body literally hangs on to weight when it has an ongoing sense of danger or survival.
That’s what unprocessed emotions live as in our system.
So weight loss is often more than just eat less, exercise more. We need to look at how our inner world, how our personal world needs the kind of attention that can help us make peace with all the emotions and feelings and experiences that move through our life.
You have to learn how to be an emotional digester, an emotional metabolizer, because when you do, when you really look at your life and you breathe it in, and you take in all the challenging experiences, all the beautiful experiences, and you said to the world, “Yeah, I’m going to handle this. I’m going to be with this. I’m going to be present to this,” what happens is your metabolism, your actual nutritional metabolism, your calorie burning metabolism begins to find its rightful place.
And that, my friends, is the magic of the world.