through Internal Shifts
by Kay Nuyens
We are obsessed about weight in this country,
preoccupied with an unrealistic "ideal" body
image. The media has certainly been influential in
promoting this extreme, thin image. And yet, thinness
does not equal health. Our bodies use fuel differently
and the truth is, fitness is more important than weight.
Yet, weight related health issues are a serious concern
in the United States. As a nation we tend to eat more
and exercise less. It is imminent. Changing our thinking
and behavior around food is the key to creating health.
It’s important to me to look and feel good,
experiencing a healthy lifestyle, because I have a lot
to accomplish before I leave this planet. I believe that
the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to
be aware of our relationship with food, letting our
appetite prompt our eating habits, and develop a
consistent form of exercise. We need lifestyle changes
and techniques to deal with our emotions in a healthy
way. Emotional eating is a significant factor tied into
the issue of weight.
Jane and Phillip Mountrose, operators of a
hypnotherapy school in Sacramento, teach classes on a
Holistic Approach to eating. Jane has written a small
guidebook called The Holistic Approach to Eating-
Lose Extra Weight and Keep It Off For Life. Jane
states that statistically, only around 1 to 2% of the
people who try to manage their weight with diets are
able to lose the weight and maintain it over an extended
period of time. She shares that Jack Schwartz, author of
Diets Don’t Work, estimates it to be less than 1%.
The other 99% are left with feelings of failure,
diminished self-esteem, and often gain more weight! Most
of us have evidenced this fact in our own life or in the
circle of our family and friends. Using the holistic
approach to eating, we treat the whole person. Jane
"The key to the Holistic Approach to Eating is
to become more sensitive to the body. It shifts the
focus on using food to meet the needs of the mind and
emotions to feeding and nurturing the body." Jane
notes that food should nourish the body rather than
appease our mind and emotions.
Changing our Thinking and Behavior Around Food
Millions of Americans do struggle with real weight
issues on a daily basis. Excess fat may represent an
armor of protection for many overweight women. It is
often used as a protection against sexuality. Sexual
abuse is a common root cause that I have found in many
of my own clients who struggle with intense weight
issues. Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul,
notes that to recognize our addictions requires inner
work. "It requires that you look clearly at the
places where you lose power in your life, where you are
controlled by external circumstances." This is not
an easy issue to address because our defenses rise up to
protect us from even looking at the issue! It’s easier
to place the blame on conditions outside of us. If we
have an addiction to food, clearly a part of us is out
of control, and that is difficult to admit. When
habitual eating gets out of control, this behavior runs
our lives. I agree with Gary Zukav that addiction is
dealing directly with the healing of our soul. This is
the work of our evolution. This is what we are here to
do now. We are offered this opportunity to bring in the
light, healing and releasing the old self-limiting
patterns no longer serving us.
Addictions have to do with inadequacies, and it is no
different with a food addict. Yet, we do get
to determine how we will respond to our feeling of
inadequacy. It is always a choice. Some choose to deal
with painful emotions and fears by out of control
eating patterns. I believe that the key is our own
awareness. Therefore, treatment for out of control
eating, which could create obesity, is about help with
self-esteem and self-confidence. One must be emotionally
ready to do the inner work at body, mind and spirit
levels. People who use food as a way to deal with stress
and anxiety may feel too guilty and trapped to seek help
or even acknowledge the problem. I would encourage
anyone with a present food addiction to reach out for
help and move inward to seek an understanding of that
part of you that needs emotional nourishment.
Jane Mountrose believes, and I highly concur, that
many of our reasons for eating are at the subconscious
level. Once a client can identify the need for carrying
the additional weight, and that part is understood,
blessed and released, one is more easily able to move
into their ideal weight. This is not an overnight
process. Food is an emotional issue. It played a
significant part in our daily ritual as children. Food
may have helped us feel safe and nurtured. For me it was
often used as a reward for a job well done. We must
address the reasons why people eat in the first place!
Recently I heard of a school district wanting to promote
reading. If a child brings a book to read on a daily
basis they are rewarded with a donut. The program is
called "Read and Feed." What are we teaching our kids?
As a hypnotherapist, I work with clients who choose
to become their ideal weight. In my book, Invitation
to Greatness, I share the story of a student
whom I will call Bill. Bill had participated in my
self-hypnosis class, and had created a tape recording
with positive affirmations for weight loss. The class
had ended, and he called me to report that his own
recording was not effective. Bill experienced no weight
loss, and he wanted me to create an additional tape with
positive affirmations. In listening to his
disappointment, he used the phrase "addicted to
sweets." I explained to him that he most likely had
some unconscious blocks to weight loss. Through
hypnotherapy, we decided to speak to that part of him
that was addicted to sweets. Bill clearly saw himself as
a three-year-old youngster. He was sitting on a rocking
chair eating M&M’s while his mom and dad were
fighting in another room. At that moment, the candy
became a "comfort food" for him. Bill had
created a program of sweets to nurture himself. This was
certainly at the unconscious level! As an adult, Bill
was able to "reparent" his little one, giving
himself the love and security he needed. No longer did
he need to use food to comfort himself. Bill soon
reported to me that the little child was no longer in
control, and he was easily able to change his eating
habits. People that knew of his addiction to sweets were
surprised at his new ability to make healthier choices.
Weight loss became easier as he let go of the blocks and
healed the wounded child within himself.
Another client, whom I will call Terra, initially did
quite well listening to her tape on weight loss. She was
aware of when and what she was eating and felt proud of
her accomplishment. Then Terra called and said she
needed another appointment. She was interested in doing
the deeper, inner work to determine why she had fallen
back into her old patterns. Through hypnosis, working
with her "wise mind," Terra realized that her
eating patterns were a way of controlling her husband.
Part of her resented him and used weight as an issue to
keep them apart. This information, which moved into her
conscious awareness, caused some inner reflection on her
Out of Control Eating
Many of us use food to comfort ourselves, but
unfortunately these choices often turn into negative
patterns that take over our lives. This habit and
addiction becomes a source of stress when one realizes
that food is in control of us. The good news is that
since the habit is learned, we can unlearn it regardless
of the motivation that initially created it. We can
learn to make healthy and appropriate food choices. Our
life was not meant to be regulated by an obsessive
compulsion to food or any other unhealthy habit. These
destructive habits prevent us from experiencing our
wholeness. They are obstacles to our connection with
Source. I encourage anyone with a destructive behavior
pattern to quiet the mind and go within to that safe
space within you. Listen to both your
"true-self" and the "false-self."
Hear or imagine these two distinct voices. Realize that
this limiting behavior is only a part of you. It is not
who you really are… it is not you. We all have
inner strength to call upon in need. We are never alone,
and healing work is not done alone. I believe we are
totally supported when we put out the call for healing!
It would be wise for someone intent on becoming their
ideal weight to join with others who have a similar
goal. Support groups keep us on track. You may want to
investigate Weight Watchers or other weight control
programs. Meeting with a nutritionist would be
beneficial to learn lifestyle changes that are vital for
long-term success in managing weight. We want to eat
foods that nourish our body. Understanding why and when
we eat is significant information to gather. Keeping a
score sheet tabulating when we eat and the reasons for
eating offers us some key information. Are we using food
to just pacify the mind and the emotions?
Energy Work as a Self-Healing Tool
Albert Schweitzer states; "We are at our best
when we allow the doctor that resides within to
I feel blessed to have learned Emotional Freedom
Techniques as a positive, healthy way to heal issues.
About 5000 years ago, the Chinese discovered a complex
system of energy circuits which run throughout the body.
These energy meridians are the centerpiece of Eastern
health practices and form the basis for modern
acupuncture, acupressure and other healing techniques.
Our own Western medicine tends to focus on the chemical
nature of the body. Yet, a growing number of
practitioners are finding ways to use this vital energy
system to help clients heal.
Dr. Roger Callahan, a dedicated psychologist, must be
credited for introducing us to Thought Field Therapy.
His discovery indicates that the cause of our
negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy
system. We correct the imbalances by tapping on
certain meridian points, as we focus on the disturbing
emotion or circumstance. This technique works with our
human energy system. Tapping on specific points allows
the free flow of energy to pass through the meridians.
Gary Craig, who initially learned Thought Field
Therapy, created his own version, a "basic
recipe" of points, simply called the Emotional
Freedom Technique, or EFT. Gary has an excellent
web site at www.emofree.com if you wish to know
more information. He lists hundreds of successful case
histories using this technique. Energy psychology is a
new paradigm in healing. It’s easy and efficient,
creating a profound break through in specific areas of
one’s life that need healing. It can be called
acupressure for the emotions. This is a powerful tool
for self-management. In just minutes, you can treat
yourself successfully for stress, pain, emotional
issues, compulsions, cravings and more. The technique is
presented in my book. Phillip and Jane Mountrose have
written a powerful book called, Getting Thru to
Your Emotions with EFT. It can ordered
through their website at www. Gettingthru.org. It
includes a specific chapter on reaching your ideal
Simple Guidelines for Eating
The following guidelines are ones that my husband and
I have adapted for ourselves over the years. They create
meaning around food for us. I offer them as suggestions.
- Take time to bless your food and be grateful for its
- Be honest with yourself about what, why, and when
you are eating.
- Respect your body as a temple of the Spirit,
honoring the work it does for you.
- Eat only when you are physically hungry and stop
when you are full.
- Be mindful of chewing. I was taught to chew each
food particle thirty times!
- If we learn to eat for health, weight loss becomes
- Exercise revitalizes us. It speeds up our metabolism
and it creates health.
- We can eat more if we consciously limit our fat
intake. Watch labels.
- Savor your food. Pay attention to how it feels in
your body now and later.
Christine Northrup, M.D., shares how we can change
our mindset around food in her book called Women’s
Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. She shares that,
"Your natural weight is the weight at which your
body comfortably stays when you are eating according to
your appetite and exercising regularly." Dr.
Northrup notes that binge eaters are often deficient in
the B vitamins, magnesium and chromium, which is
something to consider about our vitamin intake. She
suggests a structured food plan until one is able to
learn the internal triggers to overeating. Christine
sees most women falling into one of two broad categories
of binge eating: those who crave salty foods and those
who crave sweets. Avoiding these "trigger
foods" allows eating to return to normal.
Interestingly, Dr. Northrup claims that continuing to
eat these trigger foods keep us out of touch with our
emotions and our inner guidance. To experience healing,
sobriety is needed. The doctor also notes that a
primarily grain, bean and vegetable-based diet leads to
fewer cravings. She reminds us that it is very difficult
to binge on whole food!
Creating health, rather than creating the
"ideal" body is a realistic and significant
goal. Nutritional improvement and regular exercise
revitalizes us and relieves health problems. Our state
of health is a good barometer with what is going on
internally. When we change ourselves inside, healing
ourselves at all levels, our external world changes. We
are here to heal ourselves. The time is now. Changing
our thinking and behavior around food is the key to
©Copyright 2002 Kay Nuyens. All Rights Reserved.
Kay Nuyens spent
twenty-five years teaching and counseling in the public
schools before buying early retirement in 1998. She has
manifested a new, more joyful and fulfilling life for
herself. She is now a certified clinical hypnotherapist,
author, speaker, teacher and a certified JOY
Practitioner, assisting struggling students to feel
successful. Her goal is to empower people to find their
inner connection, healing issues through awareness,
compassion and the power of love. Kay offers private
sessions, personal growth classes and workshops.
Her new book, "Invitation
to Greatness" is a workbook for personal growth. It
contains a treasure trove of exercises for inner
reflection, self-expression, clearing blocks and
creating new patterns. It is a personal journey to
discover your inner healer, your own loving essence.
Learn specific healing techniques to gain emotional
freedom and peace of mind. Discover how YOU can create a
successful life script! (www.changingfocus.net)