I was an obese child! So heavy, that kids counted the rolls of fat around my stomach when we were on the beach and derisively called me “Tire Boy.” What led to my obesity, was that I mistakenly thought that my dad didn’t love or care about me. As a result of this profoundly painful misperception, every time that I felt rejected by my dad, and feelings of hurt, pain, rage, rejection, and unlovability filled my brain, heart, and psyche, I’d binge-eat.
This was my highly toxic, emotion-triggered script, until I discovered The 7 Steps of Emotion Mastery, which appear in my new book, Your Killer Emotions: The 7 Steps to Mastering the Toxic Emotions That Sabotage You.
One highly positive Step, was for me to identify my relevant Personal Emotional Triggers™ or PETS™, which are the things you love, want, hate, fear, etc. the very most. So, I identified that I wanted my dad’s love and approval more than anything else, and the way for me to secure them was for me to lose (a lot of) weight, so that I could be a good athlete and bond with my dad through playing paddleball and tennis with him. I also had a crush on a girl at school named Dale. I desperately wanted her to view me romantically, and not as the fat class clown; so this, once again, necessitated that I lose weight. Additionally, I very much wanted to fit into the cool, tapered jeans that other slim kids at school were wearing.
Thereafter, whenever I hit an emotional pothole and was about to eat everything fattening and unhealthy in sight, I framed the issue before me as follows:
“Do I want to eat the piece of cake, cookies, and/or macaroni-and-cheese, and remain a fat pig/fat slob, who’s impotent to positively change his life;
Do I want to forego eating the goodies and:
- Feel my dad’s love, respect, and approval (which I crave more than anything!);
- Get Dale’s romantic attention;
- Fit into the cool, tapered white jeans that I long to wear; and
- Feel good or even GREAT! about the way that I look and my ability to effect positive change in my life?!”
When I asked the question in this agenda-driven way, I almost always opted to decline eating the food. I then would visualize all of the positives that I could secure by making a healthy dietary choice:
- Playing ball with my dad and experiencing his love;
- Dating Dale;
- Wearing those jeans; and
- Looking in the mirror at the new, slim, fit me!
Since I discovered The 7 Steps of Emotion Mastery fifty years ago, I have been thin and fit; I’ve won national titles in two sports; and I’ve lived an active, athletic, and vital life. I have enjoyed all of these blessings, because I broke-up the toxic script of emotion-triggered eating!