May - Jun 2011

Stop Hiding Your True Feelings

By Cynthia J. Turner, PhD

After weight-loss surgery, it’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions. Sometimes, those feelings are negative. You may be disappointed that you are not losing weight as quickly as you had hoped. Or maybe you’re still dealing with the emotional issues that drove you to overeat in the first place. It’s vital to find a healthy way to let those feelings out.

 

Too often in our culture, we are taught to hide our feelings, particularly anger or despair. Over time, hiding your feelings or expressing “pretend” positive feelings can cause tension-related health problems and emotional difficulties. So-called "people pleasers” or individuals who work hard at always presenting a positive attitude, may resort to managing their feelings by snacking or grazing throughout the day. With each bite, the bad feeling is pressed down and the individual feels a slight elevation in mood. With a person who is genetically disposed for obesity, this habit can contribute to weight gain or slowed weight loss after bariatric surgery.

 

There are numerous books and articles on interpersonal assertiveness, interpersonal passivity, and “people pleasing.” Read up in these areas and speak to your therapist or counselor. I recommend the classic book on assertiveness, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Michael Smith. I also recommend Geneen Roth’s food behavior works, including Feeding the Hungry Heart and When Food is Food and Love is Love.

 

Learn to speak your truth, lose the weight and find a healthier you.