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5 Tips for Losing Emotional Weight

These five tips will help you start a conscious emotional cleanse.
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"Carbs can be bad. Protein can be good. Eat this, not that."

With all the advice about eating plans and fitness fads, what do you believe? And what works best for you?

Let's place eating aside for one moment and focus on a different aspect of weight management--emotions. Through my years of social research, I've found that one of the biggest factors contributing to body weight can be emotional weight.

From a scientific perspective, repressing feelings can lead to stress, and stress can activate cortisol--the stress hormone--which research has shown directly affects our metabolism and can lead to weight gain. In the end, stress keeps our bodies from functioning properly.

The solution? Stop eating anger, pigging out on pain, and drinking disappointment. Express your feelings, reduce stress, and allow your body to find its healthy balance.

These five tips will help you start a conscious emotional cleanse.

Check less baggage. You know how airlines charge for each bag checked? Traveling gets expensive fast. So can emotional baggage. Take time to focus on your biggest issues and clear up unresolved conflicts with friends, family members, or yourself. Lighten your load; enlighten your life.

Get em out. Whether it's with a friend or by yourself, start to speak, write, sing, dance--whatever it takes--to express your feelings. Emotions are energy, and energy is in constant motion. So it is with your body; those feelings need to go somewhere. First get them OUT in a healthy way. Then you can deal with them rationally.

Get help. There's nothing wrong with reaching out when you need support. In fact, the human experience is based on connecting with others. Talk things out with a good friend. If that isn't enough, consider meeting with a counselor -- it's their job to help you unwind your ball of emotional string.

Don't judge. Your feelings are always valid. Always. Did you get that? Try hyphenating it for even more effect: all-ways. Your feelings are part of you and every emotion belongs somewhere. How, why, when, and where you express your feelings will produce a variety of experiences, but your feelings are never wrong.

Move your body. Get out of bed, off the couch, or out of the house. Shift your energy. Just move. Physical activity supports mental activity, which supports body wellness as well as psychological relief. Feeling stuck? Go for a walk. It can do wonders.

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life--especially during transitions. Learn more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Image credit: Getty Images

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If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.