Of late I’ve been concentrating on losing weight. This morning I weighed myself and feel happy to report I’m now under thirteen stone. Hurrah! Cycling up the hills around the administration home of The Freedman College, is at last, becoming easier.

“Also this morning I’ve realised something very important: eating sweet stuff has been filling a void and links very closely to a neglectful past”

Many of us will remember happy feelings associated with consuming sugary food and drink. It is well understood that due to this link, we often consume sugary foods in an attempt to alleviate stress, longing and unhappiness. Indeed, for a short time, it works.

Hopefully, once we realise the long term effects, and dangers of these effects, we wake and begin to change. The question now is: What happens to the stress, longing and unhappiness? It’s a good question, because for many, other coping mechanisms are never found, and you can guess the result. Yep, the weight is piled back on, plus a little more for good measure. A cyclic nightmare faced by thousands.

“Coping mechanisms are what the words would suggest: methods of coping that are never actually a long term fix. In time they always fail”  

There are a myriad of coping mechanisms. It’s when young that we’re generally taught how to use external stimuli in order to cope with uncomfortable feelings. Here in the west – in addition to food – we’ve grown used to enjoying possessions as a means of distracting ourselves from real feelings. We feel sad, and to feel slightly better about things, we go outside and look at our car, or house or whatever. It works for a short while.

With this in mind, the ideal is to find a way of resolving the conflict – of finding a physical cure for a metaphysical sickness – and remove the need for any kind of coping mechanism at all. Potentially, in order to start the process of not needing to simply cope, all we need, is the understanding of what we’re actually doing. Enlightenment if you like.

“It’s far better to deal with the roots of the issue so we can remove the need to just cope”

Knowledge and understanding are the weapons against all dis-ease. And so becoming aware of what we are in fact doing, and why we’re struggling with our addictions, empowers us with increased choices. There is one thing this knowledge can’t remove though: hunger.

The feelings associated with hunger are a little complicated. In the first place we’re using sugary food and drink as a coping mechanism, and so when we stop using them in this way, we have the original longing to deal with plus the feelings of hunger. A double whammy. In this instance we must associate a positive with hunger, here it is: Feelings of hunger tell us we’re losing weight! That is the positive. As far as dealing with them goes, we must endure. We must embrace the feelings. All of them.

“Sadness and longing can be difficult to deal with. Get to know what the longing is and how the sadness comes from that. We want something the sugary food satiates. What is that thing?”

For those who’ve never really experienced love – or have only experienced love coupled with complicated and confused messages – removing a coping mechanism, such as overeating, can be a real challenge.

Fluctuations in weight are the result of all this conflict. Many of use drink (or stronger drugs) and cigarettes as a means of coping with longing and helping with sadness. When we give those things up, food is often turned to. Especially if sweet things helped to distract the mind when a we were small children.

“All I can say to these people, myself included, is we must endure. We must learn about love and we must find more from life. They are actually very simple solutions once we face the truth”

The Sublime

There is something very powerful I can share with you now, and that is this simple truth: Those who’ve lacked any real and tangible love in their lives, find the ability to endure this, through giving it. That’s right. Love is empowerment and so when we understand how to empower others it all becomes an interesting paradox.

The paradox is, those who missed their valuable lessons in love during childhood, actually become the exponents of love, who find it later in life, through teaching it now.

Take some time to understand how to empower others and fill the empty void. It’s easier than you think. No coping mechanism now; all you need, is love.

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