Dealing With the Emotional Goo of Weight Loss


I had a really happy childhood. I was never abused. I was never neglected. I was middle class. I wasn’t really picked on in school. My parents told me they loved me daily. I was moderately popular. I had plenty of friends. I dated my fair share of cute boys. I got into college without a problem. Today, I am confident, successful and generally content with my life. Dare I say, I am privileged.

There are no deep, dark secrets lurking in my closet that will explain my obesity. I’m not fat because someone hurt me as a kid. I’m not fat because I want to keep people away. I’m not fat for any reason I can figure out other than a deep-seated love of chocolate and laziness. Knowing all of this about me, you’d think there wouldn’t be an ounce (pun intended) of emotional “goo” to uncover during my weight loss efforts. And you’d be wrong.

Uh, What’s Happening?

The truth is, I don’t care how perfect your life has been up a point, if you are losing a large amount of weight… you are going through an emotional upheaval. Your life is changing and that can be both totally exhilarating and totally terrifying. I’m a big believer that one of the main reasons why people gain weight back after losing it is that they don’t deal with their emotional goo. They focus so much on the calories in and calories out and forget to focus on what’s going on above the shoulders. I argue that those three elements of weight loss are equally important: fitness, nutrition and emotional goo.

I call it “goo” for a few very specific reasons. Number one, it’s a cutesy, simple way to lump all the psychological work that goes along with losing a large amount of weight into one box. Number two, all that psychological work? Yeah, it’s messy. And sticky. And hard to clean up. Kinda like that goo stuck to the bottom of your shoe. But you need to deal with it, or it’s literally just going to keep weighing you down.

How to Deal

So how do you go about dealing with the goo? Well, my favorite way is (obviously) writing about it. I started my blog as a way to just spout off anything I was feeling about the journey of losing weight. From the ridiculous (what if my husband doesn’t love me when I’m skinny?) to the totally realistic (am I going to have loose skin?), it all gets written down. If it crosses into my head, it almost always makes it into post. Sometimes they are public and sometimes they are private, but they are all equally important. As I write, it helps me process my thoughts until the goo isn’t so gooey anymore.

If you don’t want to start a blog, use the journal section (located in your profile) on Anytime Health…it has helped me get my private thoughts out.

I’ve known other people that do something artistic: paint or make collages. I’ve known others who talk to their best friend, sibling or spouse. Or maybe you just need to doodle on a piece of paper or dance around to a silly song. Whatever it is, find your way of cleaning up your emotional goo. If you don’t, that goo will be weighing you down. Literally.

What’s your outlet for emotional goo?

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!