Have you ever indulged in guilt because of how you ate, how much you ate, how little you exercised, or because you regained some or all of the weight that you had previously lost? Did feeling guilty help you get back on a healthy path or did it keep you in unhealthy behaviors?

Have you ever worried about how you were going to keep up your exercise regime over the coming months or how you were going to get through the holidays without gaining 10, 20, or 30 pounds? Did you ever find that your worries led to overeating to try to soothe those worrisome thoughts, therefore not helping you at all to reach your weight loss goals?

Week Nine of Attacking Anxiety & Depression

Losing the guilt and worry in your life is the topic of week nine in Lucinda Bassett’s Attacking Anxiety and Depression program. This is my latest self-experiment, a 15-week series of my experience with using this program. You can read all about the details of why I’m doing this series in my introduction to the series and you’ll learn that one of the main reasons I’m doing this is because I’ve met so many overweight individuals who are also depressed.

The thing is, if you are really stressed out and anxious and you use food to cope with the stress and anxiety then until you heal the reason you’re eating you’ll have a very difficult time changing your eating and exercise habits for life.

Guilt and Worry – the Past and the Future

Guilt and worry go hand in hand. Actually so does stinkin’ thinkin’! Simply put these are bad habits and habits that you can change.

In case you haven’t realized this, guilt and worry are a complete waste of time – worry is wasted negative thinking about the future and guilt is wasted negative thinking about the past, both of which you have absolutely no control over. You only have control over this present moment and if there is something you are worried about in the future then what you can do is get out a pad of paper and a pen and start brainstorming the actions you can take to solve whatever it is out there in the future that you have been worrying about.

On the other hand if you’re ready to drop the negative habit of guilty thinking over past events use that same pad of paper and start writing forgiveness statements to yourself. Forgive yourself for whatever it is you’re lamenting in the past to release that energy you’re focusing into the past (where it cannot change a thing!). You can then take that energy and focus it on concrete goals you can set for yourself.

Good Worriers Make Excellent Goal Setters!

That’s right – if you’re a good worrier you’ll make an excellent goal setter! All this takes is refocusing the energy that you’ve been putting into the worry over the future and then figure out the actions you can take in the present, which will then affect your future outcome. Put that pad of paper and pen to good use and find some constructive actions you can take.

Anticipation, planning, analyzing, and creativity are all components of both worry and goal setting. When you look at your worry habit like this and see that you could take those same skills you’re using to worry and put them into setting your goals, where would you rather use your energy? Would you rather waste those wonderful talents on wasted worry or do you think it would benefit you more to put them to work in your goal setting? I vote for the constructive action of goal setting myself!

What I Learned

What I learned in week nine of the Attacking Anxiety and Depression program is that you use the same skill set whether you are worrying or setting goals. I didn’t realize that before and I think that’s pretty awesome. On week nine’s tape Lucinda Bassett quoted a statistic that worriers waste at least 20 hours a week on worry – wouldn’t it be much more beneficial to spend those 20 hours on focused action and goal setting? I think so.

Heal the Cause to Drop the Weight

This program is all about helping you reduce chronic stress, which leads to anxiety, which in turn creates depression. Remember if you work on the cause of your overeating and if the reason you’re overeating and/or emotionally eating is because you’re stressed, anxious, and/or depressed, then that is where you need to focus your energy.

Sure, you’ll need to change how you eat and create a lifestyle filled with whole foods (getting off those addictive, metabolism crashing processed foods) and you’ll have tons more motivation to do so by healing the bottom line reason that you’re overeating. Once you heal the cause (in this case we’re looking at stress and anxiety) of your symptom (overweight) you’ll have a much easier time maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight for life.