“Losing weight is all about emotional liberation”Stéphane Clerget
If we only ate to keep our bodies going and to meet our physiological needs, we would all, or almost all, have an impeccable figure.
Yet, nutrition is not just a question of math – calories burnt vs.calories ingested. Our emotions, our desires, our anxieties are also invited to dine with us. How to deal with all ours unwanted pounds, the “emotional pounds” how Stéphane Clerget named them, is what we aim to present you onwards.
In his latest book ‘Emotional kilos, how to free oneself from them’ (Albin Michel, 2009), the psychiatrist enlightens us, by providing supporting examples, on the origins of these kilos – conditioned by education, hold of the oral drive, stress… – and how to get rid of them.
Here’s some of the meeting with the psychiatrist for whom losing weight should not be a struggle, but a quest for peace… with yourself.
“Emotional pounds are pounds acquired, weight gains or losses caused by recent emotional reasons or even deeper buried in us, sometimes going back to our childhood. Their mode of action is multiple. Emotions can cause us to eat more. Or maybe we want certain types of food, particularly fatty or sweet. They can act through our physical activity, increasing or decreasing it. They can finally lead to fat storage, without us eating more. There is of course a biological translation of our emotions, through hormones, neurotransmitters; but primary to those, it is our emotions, our experiences that are at work,” states the expert, who also explains that stress acts particularly through cortisone, making abdomens gain weight and making women fatter than men.
“This is chronic stress. Acute stress usually burns calories. The problem with this chronic stress is that it is not always easy to detect: paradoxically, the most stressed people are not necessarily those who will complain about stress,” adds the specialist.
Talking about “emotional food intake”, Stéphane Clerget describes it as eating in reaction to an emotion. Why? “A simple example: if, with each of our frustrations, our mother consoled us with cake or candy, this reflex to eat will tend to continue as an adult.” It goes back to the first stage of our development. The construction of our first emotions takes place around food intake, which, at this stage, is the child’s main mode of communication. The newborn eats… and establishes its first relationships with the world.
How to prevent your child from falling victim to “emotional pounds”
- Focus on meals, discussions on food, culinary activities with your child;
- Give himself time to eat;
- Allow him to play with the food;
- Prohibit meals in front of the television. It is important that the child is aware of what he is eating.
The irrepressible need to fill our stomachs after a hard working day
“They fill up a void… It’s scary to see so many people who, after a working day, do not feel they have been “filled”. They don’t have a job that fulfills them, and when they return home, they don’t have anything that nourishes them intellectually, spiritually, emotionally in sufficient proportions. And all of this is reinforced by restrictive diets: as long as you’re in the action, it’s easy to hold on, but once you get home, you let go,” explains the expert our urge to run to the fridge once entering the door.
Meditating on the matter, the key to freeing oneself from emotional pounds
“Losing weight is not a question of willpower and control. It’s all about emotional liberation and self-awareness. To do this, you must first learn to identify the different emotions at the origin of your food intake, then do a unique work on each emotion,” reveals Stéphane Clerget.
The specialist also argues that making peace means stopping mistreating ourselves with doomed regimes. It is no longerfighting against your desires or your emotions, because by constantly battling them, you end up breaking down and reacting in a psychosomatic way, while eating. Making peace is about being aware of yourself, it’s about accepting who you want to be. This is how your emotions will get regulated, avoiding their impact on food.