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How Denying Your Feelings Is Keeping You Heavy

There’s something you’ve probably been doing, which could be the culprit behind your difficulty slimming down to your ideal size.

It’s not that you’re eating too often, or too seldom;
It’s not that you’re consuming a certain food excessively…
and it’s definitely not that you’re exercising too much, or too little.

It’s this: denying your feelings.

Denying Your Feelings Can Cause Excess Weight?!

It really can. Feelings happen inside the body (a sense of nervousness in your stomach, a feeling of sadness moving through your limbs, a sensation of overflowing love in your chest), and denying any of these can literally cause you to gain weight.

Here’s why:

Denying or resisting, naturally occurring sensations in the body that are is a powerful stressor to your whole system.  Denying your feelings might look like:
“I shouldn’t feel hungry still, I already ate.”
“I refuse to be sad about this, I’m gonna go party.”
“I am not mad… I am not mad… I AM NOT MAD…”).

Ya with me? Denying your feelings puts your body in a certain mode: The Stress Response.
The Stress Response executes the fight or flight response in your body, a.k.a. the weight gain mode.

Fight or Flight… the Weight Gain Mode? 

Yup, the fight or flight response gives a physiological “all systems go!” to weight gain.

Extra weight is our body’s way of protecting itself from stress, because deep in our cellular memory is the understanding that: extra weight and size brings protection and survival!

It’s simply the history of biology: The stress response kept our human ancestors alive, ever since the time we were living in caves, wearing leafy bras and roasting okras on the tribal campfire.

In those early days of human existence, we noticed: WHOA, the bigger the animal, the bigger the threat!
And we adopted the same perspective – the bigger the human body is, the safer it shall be!

It makes perfect biological sense that when your body notices stress (especially the emotional kind), it wants to protect itself from it – and it gets bigger in size.

 Why Do We Hold Feelings Back in the First Place?

As a culture, we don’t usually hold back joy, enthusiasm and happiness. We tend to hold back whatever is uncomfortable for us, namely anger, sadness and grief. 

Anger, especially, is quite socially unacceptable. Culturally, we women are raised to not get mad, not feel rage and to “be nice, be sweet; getting mad is not very lovable.”

Sounds familiar, huh? We tend to suppress certain feelings automatically, because it’s part of our cultural heritage!

Still, if feelings happen in our bodies, and it’s stressful (fight or flight!) to hold them back, we need to embody ALL our feelings in order to drop the extra pounds.

I know feelings can be scary, because let’s face it: they’re BIG stuff!
But you are not alone in feeling them–you have me supporting you, standing for your every feeling, and believing that you can slim down naturally, via feeling your feelings, without judgment or resistance.

Speaking openly with a trusted friend, or wellness professional (wink) can also help you find fun ways to rewire old cultural patterns, and nip that feeling-holding pattern in the bud!

Here’s what I’d like to hear from you in the comments below:

1. Tell me, which feelings do you tend to hold back?
2. Have you ever sat with a socially unacceptable feeling, and actually enjoyed it?

I look forward to the discussion that will unfold on this topic.

With love and support,
xo Jena

P.S. Guess what? I designed a survey that’s about feelings – getting to know yours, that is.

In this petite, 3-minute questionnaire, I ask you quick and saucy questions that’ll help me pinpoint your feelings towards your body, your sexiness and the most powerful parts of your emotional landscape.

As a gift for participating, my survey-takers will get the info to a FREE secret conference call that ONLY survey-participants will receive!

In this secret conference call, we can cover all the questions you have about your weight loss experience – the ups, the downs and the downright weirds. I’m chomping at the bit to get down with your weight loss questions. Remember, every time you voice a concern, or something you’ve been holding back, you’re paving the path to releasing extra pounds. So bring it on, sistah! It is free, after all.

Again, here’s that link.

(If you have already filled it in, THANK YOU! You’ll be hearing from me shortly.)





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  1. Bravo Jena ! Love watching you ever deepen; ever explore ~ *
    For me, found it especially curious to note how I personally haven’t allowed my self /or soooo rarely, and fleetingly, to deal/face/ process / honor the socially unacceptable feelings which come up –

    ‘The quick stuff’ – when I’ve been out of balance or ungrounded and project that through some speed of lightning sharp, incisive completely uncompassionate mental criticism of someone. I usually react instantly with rolling my eyes, saying “yuck” to myself or “don’t go there” – which is all nice, good, and actually somewhat ‘right on’ – however, thanks to your blog, I get that it’s a flashing red light . . . to stop, chill, get myself balanced and grounded –

  2. Loving this topic, as I’ve been practicing a lot with it lately.

    I tend to hold back anxiety, anger and worry the most. I’ve started to realize when I’m starting to experience any of the three because my breath gets short and I start to feel a slight panic warming up my chest. In the past, that was the perfect catalyst for stuffing my face with food — anything from salad to cereal. Lately, however, I’ve been allowing these feelings to shiver through me with an intent curiosity. This is what I’ve found:

    Anxiety: It starts as a slightly warm and detectable pounding in my chest as it constricts my breathing; it’s on a mission to shut me down. If I sit with it, it slowly blankets through the outer edges of my breast-bone and trickles down the sides of my ribcage. At this point — very unexpectedly — it starts to actually feel good. As it heats up my lower ribs they start to tingle and contract just slightly enough to be pleasurable. The feeling soaks into my body and rolls down to my pelvis, completely avoiding my stomach and digestive system. It’s almost as though I’ve placed a loosely-fitted cloak around my torso that tickles my insides. Once it’s in my pelvis it starts to die out, but not before setting fire to the area and sending little explosions to — once again — heat my insides. Anxiety, for me, ended up being warm, pulsating and pleasurable….and why was I trying not to feel that? If I constrict it, it stays stuck in my chest and I simply can’t breathe which is definitely not as exciting.

    Anger: Anger starts in my upper stomach. It has a rhythm to it as if it wants me to dance with it’s maladies and get caught in the whirlwind of thoughts that it produces. If I do, I’m a goner. But if I stay and sit with it I find that it moves upwards through my body — the opposite of anxiety — and has a more prickly warmth to it. It steadily jumps up my back, and my shoulders start to stand on guard as the feeling ripples through my blades and upwards towards my neck. It pauses for a moment before proceeding up the back of my neck and wrapping around my head. There, it has a field day. My temples throb and little (non-existent) needles “poke” holes in my forehead in hopes to let everything leak out. If I really sit with it, it almost makes me feel woozy as the rhythm has it’s way with me. Yes….I’ll take it. I still have a little more exploring to do, but I’ve come to find that the woozy, prickly feeling of anger is definitely not something that needs to be run from.

    Worry: Work in progress.

    I suppose the point of my long-winded description is this: I am finding that all of the feelings I used to try to avoid (with food or otherwise) A. don’t kill me, B. come and go as they please and C. actually feel pretty damn good. My inclination is still to try to run, but I am getting much better at finding the pleasure in the pain.


  3. Lex you are an inspiration! Thank you for delving into your feelings and sharing with all of us. You’re a perfect example of ‘It hurts sooo good!’
    Bravo to you!
    Jena xo

  4. I have found, actually, that when I “sit” with the “negative” feelings longer and really “dive into them” that they quickly morph into more positive emotions. It’s kind of fun! I find that when I try to suppress the “negatives” that they grow and fester…

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