The worldwide weight loss market is expected to reach $442.3 billion by 2025. While most weight loss programmes focus on discipline and motivation as the primary success triggers, a smaller part also incorporates a new habit development component addressed at improving the overall lifestyle of the people who want to lose weight and improve their health.
Food psychologist and founder of Full of Joy Isabelle Ysebaert shares that “Although there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that if you followed these plans for life, you would achieve your goals, we see so many people struggling. What we see in the real world, beyond all the before and after pictures, is that a lot of people struggle with following these guidelines for life. This begs a simple question: why are we so wired to consistently eat more than what our physical body asks for?”
Ysebaert thinks that this aspect is not the fault of the food industry like some might think. “Are we collectively bound to be addicted to chocolate and chips at the first bite? I dare to say that we’re not. We are much more powerful than the chemical responses junk food triggers in our brains. We are not bound to overeat on junk, just like we are not bound to over-drink alcohol or over-listen to music – all strong dopamine-triggering activities,” says Ysebaert.
More and more people use food for emotional soothing and that can quickly progress to the degree where it interferes with their health and happiness.
“If we don’t eat for physical hunger, we eat for emotional hunger. And if we don’t dig a bit deeper into that emotional hunger, then no diet, workout plan or cauliflower crust pizza will provide a sustainable way to feel good in our bodies. If you don’t tackle the root cause of a specific behavior, it will always come back one way or another”, adds Ysebaert.
A solution seems to be combining mental, behavioral and emotional work to make good intentions turn into a long-term reality. Ysebaert shares that “I see people completely ignoring the emotional side of things. It’s easy to follow a plan; it’s something else to do the nitty-gritty work that is truly going to give you the result. We have such a hard time to tune into our emotions and develop our emotional health.”
Ysebaert concludes that “This is understandable. We experience our whole life through emotions, yet nobody taught us how to deal with them. In fact, our society is emotionally dysfunctional: we get praised for avoiding, dismissing, dis-owning and numbing our emotions. Showing emotion at work is a no-go, showing emotion at the grocery store is a no-go. We learn that emotions are redundant and annoying and stand in our way to success. We become strong at wearing masks, to the detriment of our emotional health. We need to see what the overeating is a symptom of to make room for real sustainable physical health.”
Isabelle Ysebaert is a psychologist and mind and body coach is on a mission to end women’s war with their bodies. As an emotional eating expert and intuitive eating counselor, she works with women on finding their way to feasting on the life they desire instead of on all the cookies. You can find more at www.fullofjoy.co