Losing weight is a great way to court attention from others. As soon as your body starts to change, people around you notice. Comments start coming, creating lovely feelings of being approved of, being admired, and they can fast become an addiction. All too easily we can begin to rely on these comments to make us feel good, feel like a good person for being thinner than yesterday, and soon we’re into the misery of measurements and comparison.
Flattery can be just as stressful as no flattery. We can easily count on others to produce the sort of good feelings that we used to get from food. It could be people at work, a partner, family or friends and with each type of person we know what kind of reaction we’re likely to receive so we know where to get what we need. But there is no one who is there 24 hours a day to make you feel good. No one can devote all their time and energy to making you happy; that’s your job. Relying on others to feel good will always backfire and those feelings of emptiness and stress return and we go back to food to feel emotionally filled again. It is easy to let other people’s reactions make us who we are. We behave in a certain way to create the reaction we need from others, making us feel safe. There is a fear that if we change, the reaction will change and we lose that safety. Step out of the compliment trap and choose to start relying on the one person who can always make you feel good; yourself.
Extract from “Still Overweight? The 6-week course that changes your weight and relationship to food forever”