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Emotional Comfort Eating

Emotional Comfort Eating

So many of us have a habit of emotional comfort eating.

We use food as a means of comfort when we face emotional upset or imbalance.

We may not even realise that we are eating emotionally in order to provide ourselves with an instant feeling of comfort.

This eating habit can really get in the way of being able to keep a healthy weight, and in this podcast episode, medical doctor, personal fitness trainer and founder of 'The Way To Weight Loss' programme, Dr Aishah Iqbal, chats about why we eat for comfort, what we can do to change this habit and so much more.

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Meet Aishah

Dr Aishah Iqbal is a paediatric doctor and qualified personal trainer. 

Emotional Comfort Eating Aishah Iqbal

Aishah has a passion for helping busy women find sustainable weight loss methods that don't involve crash diets or spending hours on the treadmill. 

She set up 'The Way To Weight Loss', a coaching service that aims to help women take control of their mindset and lifestyle to help them attain their goals.


How to Contact Aishah


Transcription

Gillian Duncan 0:00
Hello and welcome to the Clarity Junction podcast. In this episode, I am joined by Dr. Aishah Iqbal, who is a paediatric doctor and qualified personal trainer. Aishah has a passion for helping busy women find sustainable weight loss methods that don't involve crash diets or spending hours on a treadmill. After realising that I was, indeed, an emotional comfort eater, I spoke to Aishah and I was thrilled when she agreed to come and chat with me and share her knowledge on emotional eating and its effect on our weight. So, keep listening to discover Aishah's advice on emotional eating. My name is Gillian Duncan Positive Life and Wellbeing Coach, inspiring women to lead the life they want, and I am delighted that you are here with me today.

Hi Aishah. Welcome to the Clarity Junction podcast.

Aishah Iqbal 0:59
Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited for our chat.

Gillian Duncan 1:03
It's great to have you here with us today. I am really excited to be chatting with you as you're going to be talking all about emotional eating. Now, I never thought I was an emotional eater until very recently, when I did a 'Dechox Challenge' in the Clarity Social Hub Facebook group, when I didn't eat chocolate for a whole month, and I found this a huge eye opener into my own eating habits. So, I'm really keen to learn more about emotional eating from you. But before we go on, Aishah, I would love for you to share a little bit about yourself with our listeners.

Aishah Iqbal 1:43
Absolutely. So, by profession, I'm a doctor. So, I'm a paediatric trainee. So, I'm working to become a paediatrician and I'm also a qualified personal trainer, and that's something that I qualified in quite a few years ago now, during my time in medical school. I've always loved health and fitness. I've always loved the concept of using our lifestyle as a form of prevention of disease and also helping to alleviate some of the symptoms that we might experience with disease. I definitely think that medicine and surgery have a place, but I also think our lifestyle plays a massive role as well. And in the last year or so, I've really felt passionate about helping women and helping women to take control of their lifestyle. And that's where my platform, 'The Way To Weight Loss' was born. So, 'The Way To Weight Loss' is a platform where I help busy professional women, and I give them guidance and advice and ideas as to how they can move forward in their weight loss journey without having to feel like they're following a fad diet, without having to feel like they're overwhelmed with ideas about exercise and, you know, all the kind of things that we all see all over social media. You don't necessarily have to follow those extreme methods in order to get yourself to a place where you feel comfortable in your body or comfortable in your size, I think it's really important to empower women, and like I say, take the control back, because at the moment, it feels like the weight loss industry all these companies and organisations that are making money from, you know, weight loss ideas, we need to take the control back from them, because our lives, our health, our mindset is so, so precious, and we need to be the ones that are in control of that, not the industry that's around us. So that is something that I'm really passionate about, because I see it as if we have strong women, both physically and mentally, then those skills are going to be passed on to our future generation of children, and that is the way to tackle the future health problems that we might see in the next 30, 40. 50 years. So I'm really passionate about that, and I think I bring together everything I've learned from, professionally as being a doctor, working with patients, and as well as being a personal trainer and all of the research that I do, I bring it together and I created 'The Way To Weight Loss' as a platform to be a sort of a hub, or a sort of hub of information for women who are looking for accurate advice about their weight loss journey.

Gillian Duncan 4:16
That's amazing that you've done that and you've got that experience to bring it all together. And I'm completely in agreeance with you that, definitely, we need to consider our physical factors as well as what we're eating and you know, our stress factors and our whole complete lifestyle. So, getting fit physically is so important for overall health. So, in our society, Aishah, we are told by so many different aspects that we are to be a different shape, a skinny shape or, you know, we have to have curves, we have to have a certain form. And there's all this different pressure and all this different advice out there. So, why do you think it's important for women to consider our weight because it is that sort of pressure that's put on us? Should we ignore the sort of the 'look' side of things? Or should we be really considering that as well as the health aspect?

Aishah Iqbal 4:56
So, I think that you're posing an amazing question there. So, I think at the moment, there is a big kind of drive, especially on social media for this concept of body positivity, and being happy in the skin that you're in and having confidence and all of this stuff, which I think is amazing. I truly believe that every woman should feel amazing and herself and that she should feel like she is beautiful, and that she's capable of doing anything she puts her mind to. I think that's a really positive message to send out. But at the same time, I worry that if we are sending that message out, and alongside that message, we're also saying that it's okay for obesity and it's okay for, you know, to eat harmful foods constantly in our lives, and to, you know, to kind of take away the focus off how detrimental it can be to our health if we are obese or overweight. I think that is slightly dangerous. I think that, yes, for some women, it's an element of, they want to be thinner so that they feel better in their skin. And with that, I would always say there's a lot of emotional mindset work that someone needs to do. But on the health perspective, we know the evidence is there that obesity is one of the biggest factors in the major problems that we have in our society at the moment. So things like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, all of these things are affected by a person's weight and the weight they're carrying. And from that point of view, I really think some people do need to look at their weight and they need to take their weight as a factor that they want to change but to do it in a way where they're then focusing more on their lifestyle and how they are living their life rather than focusing, particularly, on the scales or the number on the scales. I don't think that is healthy in itself either, when we become obsessed with, you know, standing on a scale every day and looking at the number that's there, because that's not us changing our habits in a positive way. I think the focus really needs to be on how can you take your lifestyle - how can you change things in your lifestyle that are going to help you to live a happier and healthier life? And yes, then the byproduct of that might be that you lose some weight, and you might find that you do slim down, but that's okay, because that is also going to be a factor that helps you to lead a healthier life. But at the same time, no matter what size you are in, we should all then still focus on making sure that we feel confident in our own skin and confident in feeling like we can love ourselves as well. And I think all of those different factors require different types of work to be done on the mindset, and sometimes people think that if you're saying someone should try to look at their weight or lose weight, that that automatically means that they are somehow less of a human being or less pretty or less confident or less worthy of certain experiences. But it's absolutely not the case. You can some be someone who might be overweight and might be suffering with certain health problems, but that doesn't mean that you're not worthy of being loved or that you're not worthy of having children or being married or being in a relationship that you feel loved in. But at the same time, you need to work on the lifestyle that you're living and how that might be impacting on your health, both physically and mentally.

Gillian Duncan 8:44
I totally agree. You've covered quite a lot of areas there, which are really pretty deep. The concept that people do gain weight because of, for example, other health conditions, I've been there. I'm at the moment, I've gained because of an injury that I sustained a couple of years ago, and I've been finding it hard to exercise and to move, and whilst this chronic injury is taking its time to heal, and I'm slowly getting movement again, I am completely aware of my weight gain. I'm completely concerned that I'm gaining too much too quickly, and I want to do something about it, but I also realise I have to do it in a controlled way in order that I'm not going to damage any of my healing that I've been doing. And in this the same time, I'm still the same person, you know, I feel the same inside. I want to feel confident with my body, and I know it will come back, but I can't change things that have happened with the other side of my health. I can't, you know, go back and undo these things. And it's just one of those processes that I'm having to go through. So no, I don't want to be standing on a scale every single day worrying about my weight because I know that stress also can be a major factor in anybody's weight loss journey. They can be gaining weight because they're stressed. And so I want to take that whole stress out of the, of the journey of losing weight. So that is one factor that I know that does affect, you know, weight gain, and I know that sleep is another factor. But I wonder if you would maybe be able to chat us through some of the other factors that you think play a role in weight gain in women?

Aishah Iqbal 10:27
Absolutely. So there's lots of different things that we need to keep in our mind. And it's often not talked about, you know, on social media and things in the places where people get a lot of their advice from. So, obviously, your nutrition, what you're eating, and how much you're eating plays a role, as does exercise and movement. But there's quite a few other factors that are also playing a massive role in in our weightless weight loss journey or the amount of weight gain that people have. Stress, like you mentioned, is a huge factor, because if you're chronically stressed, which many of us are in our current lifestyle that we lead, then you're going to find that your cortisol levels, so the stress hormone, is chronically raised. And one of the things that then happens as a result of that being chronically raised is you ended up holding on to fat and you hold on to it without letting go of it very easily. So even if you are eating really well, and you've, you know, you're moving, you might see some change in your weight, but if you're still chronically stressed, because of different factors in your life, then you will find that actually, your journey might not be as smooth sailing as you had expected. So that's a big part to play as well. And your sleep. Your sleep plays a massive role in so many different areas of our health. If you have a lack of sleep, even on an individual daily basis, that can lead to you feeling like you have greater cravings for sugary foods, for salty foods, for foods that are very rich in carbohydrate. And lots of studies have shown that actually, you will eat more as a direct result of not sleeping well, because your hunger hormone is increased. And therefore, when your hunger hormones increase, you're going to be eating more. So it's not a case of, in that situation, that somebody doesn't have willpower or that they're greedy. But they physically will feel more hungry because of the fact that they have not slept well the night before. And then if we talk about chronic sleep deprivation, that's another thing that's going to add to being chronically stressed. And if you're chronically not getting enough sleep, if you're chronically sleeping only four to five hours a night, then that is going to have an effect on you over a long period of time. So that's stress, sleep, and one of the big things which we're obviously going to talk about today is your emotions and the way that we emotionally deal with things. Now this comes hand in hand with stress. If you're somebody who's quite stressed out about things, chances are, then you will be emotional about things as well. And our emotions and the way we deal with them can have an impact on how often we eat all the foods that we eat, because we're looking for ways that we can make ourselves feel better. Often, when we're in situations where we don't have much control, and we don't have, you know, maybe the things that are happening, we can't physically change ourselves. And as a result, we then look for something that we can control and what we eat is something that we are, that is kind of within our control, and we look for the things that will make us feel better. And that often tends to be your sweet types of things like your chocolate and your ice cream and, and things like that because of how they then make you feel in the moment because of the fact that you're feeling emotional, sad, upset, or worried, and that kind of thing. I think one of the things that is really, really important to mention, now that we're talking about different factors, is what one person struggles with, with their weight loss journey, and the reason why they're struggling, might be completely different to their best friend. Now, you know, I see this all the time with women that I work with, or women that I've, you know, have had the experience of listening to when they're talking about their journey is they'll say, 'Oh, okay, I'm going on this diet, and I'm going to do X, Y, Z, because my friend, she lost weight doing X, Y, Z'. And that might work. It might work. But you know, the things that work for your friend might work for you. But actually, you need to look at what is the reason behind why you're struggling with your weight loss. For some people, it might just be that they're eating too much, and they're eating too much of the wrong foods. For some people, it might be that they're not moving enough. But for some people it might be that actually is their sleep and their stress or their emotions that they need to look at. So even if you follow the plan that someone else has done, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to work for you because each person as an individual, and the reason behind each person's struggles, is likely to be different. And I think that's one of the pet peeves I have with the diet industry is that it's a blanket plan for everyone. Here's a plan that's going to help you lose 10 pounds in two days, just follow it do X, Y, Z, and it's gonna work for you. Chances are, it will work for a short period of time because it's an extreme fad that they're making you do, but actually over a long period of time, it's not going to be sustainable because everyone's reason behind why they're struggling is slightly different. It's not just a case of calories in and calories out equals weight loss, because if it was as simple as that, there would be no need for, you know, all of these different methods to lose weight, or one of these different coaches that come out because you would be able to do it without anyone helping you because it would be very, very simple. But as we are recognising, it's not that simple. And therefore there are more factors to play than just simply calories in calories out.

Gillian Duncan 15:59
I'm so glad that you brought that whole aspect up, the fact that what works for one person might not work for another, and we're pretty much guilty, in our society, to follow like sheep. If one person is doing one thing or one person's being told that this is, like, the way forward - let's go on this fad diet, let's, let's go and join a Park Run, let's go and, you know, go to the gym, sign up, we'll do these classes. This is the way I lose weight. We all seem to just follow on blindly, not actually understanding those underlying causes for us personally. And we're all pretty much guilty of it until we, it doesn't work for us. And I'm so glad you brought this up because, for myself, I'm a huge believer in looking at things in a holistic manner. I honestly believe for every problem that we have, or anything that seems to arise in our life, whether it's a health issue or an emotional issue or circumstances, I do always believe that there's always been more than one cause that's initiated it and therefore, it can't be remedied just by one solution, and we have to unpick it all. So it's so good to hear you explain that and to show and illustrate that there are so many different levels on which that, you know, our weight can be affected in our life. So I'd love to come back and talk more about emotions and the role that our emotions play on our eating habits. I wonder if you can explain that to us.

Aishah Iqbal 17:31
Absolutely. So, obviously, our emotions are a product of how we are feeling in that moment. How we are responding to a situation or something that we've thought about. It's a reflection of, of how we are in that moment, and we underestimate just how much emotions affect our actions. Now, when someone is feeling upset and feeling down, they naturally will look for things to do that are going to make them feel better. And when I say 'naturally going to do those things', you might not realise that you're doing it because it can be very subconscious. But what happens is, you know, you feel sad, you look for something that's going to make you feel better, and, you know, that could be an activity, that could be, you know, anything, it doesn't have to just be food, but if you do something that then makes you feel good in yourself, it happens as a result of the fact that, in your brain, the neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which is often the kind of described as this partly happy hormone, is released and that gives you a feeling of, and it kind of boosts your emotions and how you're feeling. And when that happens, we then go back to the thing that's made us feel that way because it feels good. And we then become programmed, that whenever we feel a certain emotion, we will do a certain thing that will then make us feel better. Now, when we talk about, let's talk about chocolate, because that's something many of us experience, you know, when we're feeling down, we eat a bit of chocolate, and it makes us feel better. Even if it's for a micro moment, it's for a few seconds, we feel better. And after that kind of feeling of happiness, or you know, that surge of feeling a little bit better runs out, we then eat some more chocolate, because we want that feeling to come back again. And it becomes a cycle where it could either be in that moment where you're feeling really low, you're constantly just end up eating chocolate, or it can just be over a longer period of time that whenever you get a certain emotion, you then look for the food that makes you feel better. And that in itself is a way for us, I think, it's kind of like we are hiding ourselves and we're hiding our emotions behind a sea of chocolate, or a sea of whatever food it is that you go after, and often it is food that is quite high in sugar because sugar gives us a surge of dopamine and it, it becomes something that we really feel like we need to have in our lives in order to feel better about ourselves. And one of the other things that sometimes research is showing is that when we have a small piece of chocolate, and it makes us feel a certain way, we then feel like we need to have more of it. And the amount that we need to have to get that same response is slightly bigger each time. So it almost sounds like you're addicted to it. Even though the, the argument is there about whether sugar is as addictive as, you know, recreational drugs and we won't go into that, because it's a different field, but the idea is there that like you will pick something that's going to make you feel better, and you will always go back to it because you know that it's something that gives you this boost, which is natural, but then at the same time if you're somebody who has chronic issues with your own emotions, and with your stress and with how you're feeling, then if you're constantly picking foods, which are not great for your health, not giving you much nutrition, very high calories that you're not then burning off, you will see that it impacts on your weight. And many women find actually that when they are on their time of their month, or when they feel particularly emotional around their period, that they end up eating more, emotionally eating more, because of how they're feeling. So it's something that many people experience, and it's recognised as to why you're experiencing it. But then we have to look at how do we deal with those moments? And how can we try and rectify those moments, because aside from weight loss, if you think, if you're feeling a particular way, and your response to that is simply to do an activity to hide how you're feeling, you're not dealing with those emotions, you're not dealing with those negative emotions, or those emotions that are making Do you feel in a negative place, which isn't healthy for our mindsets, either. So, looking at your emotions, and recognising how you can help yourself, is really, really important for your mental health, first and foremost.

Gillian Duncan 22:17
I think it's so interesting what you've just said. I, as I mentioned before, have done this 'Dechox Challenge'. I did it in our Facebook group, and I, honestly, didn't think I was an emotional eater at all. I thought that I just liked chocolate and perhaps ate too much because I just enjoyed the taste. But when I didn't have any chocolate in the house, I, and I was on the challenge so I was forced not to go out and buy it, I realised the times when I was wanting to go and eat chocolate, were ever so slightly times when I might just feel, I don't know, a bit maybe bored, or I might feel a little bit frustrated or maybe a bit down. The emotions that I was having weren't extreme emotions. It's not that I was, you know, sitting extremely depressed, crying in a heap on the floor or I was crazy mad or anything like that. It was very, very subtle emotions, and the only reason why I picked up on those change in emotions, was because I started questioning myself, why do I want chocolate now? Why am I craving the chocolate at this particular moment? And I completely understand that research of the amount of chocolate, or whatever food that you crave in that time, has to be more the second time you go to eat it. So the first time, for example, I will take a bar of chocolate and I will break off one cube of chocolate and I'll say, 'That's me. I don't want anymore. I just want the taste'. And I'll take that one cube, I'll enjoy it and then you bet your life, I will be back in that fridge or the cupboard about an, you know, half an hour to an hour later, and I will have the rest of that slice of chocolate. And then I'll feel okay. And then I'll feel guilty, you know, and that's, I think such a vicious cycle to get yourself into, because you've taken that chocolate to try and lift yourself out of a mood or lift yourself out of a situation, which wasn't actually that bad in the first place, perhaps. And then all of a sudden, you've got this huge, conscious feeling of guilt, and you know, you've just, you know, put some calories in your mouth that you really don't need, and that's really not good for you. And that is actually a worse feeling than the first feeling. But we seem to have a problem breaking that cycle and actually stopping it. And I know, and I realise, and I am for the thinking that it's not addictive, is really the habit that is more addictive than the substance. So from your point of view, and from your expertise, how can someone stop themselves from eating all this chocolate and the junk food when they're feeling so, well, emotional? As I say it doesn't need to be depressed or they don't need to be angry or anything like that, it's just that little shift in emotions, you know. How can we gain control on this?

Aishah Iqbal 25:14
Absolutely. That's an amazing question. So I think the first thing would be that we need to recognise what's happening and what then leads to us, maybe choosing to eat some sugary food or whatever it is. So one of the things that I get my clients to do is to keep a food diary as to what they eating in the day, but along with that, also track their emotions. Because the first thing, and you know, you mentioned this, that people don't realise that they have emotional tendencies with their food. People don't realise that when they're stressed or when they're tired or when they're upset about something, they eat a particular way, because it becomes so ingrained in your subconscious that you don't even realise you're doing that. So the first thing is to actually start recognising whether you are someone who eats in an emotional way. And I think having a food diary that you keep tracking some of your emotions whilst doing that can be really eye opening. Because sometimes people see a pattern. They might see when they argue with their husband, that that is when they go for the chocolate or when they have worked really long shift at work, or when they're really stressed out because of a particular project and you know, things that are taking a lot of time when they're at work. They might realise, oh, that's when they buy a doughnut on the way home, or buy six donuts on the way home. That can be really empowering because until you recognise what the problem is, you can't really fix it. And then the next thing is, so once you recognise, okay, every time I argue with my best friend or my mom or my husband, that is a time when I go for chocolate. So the thing there then is okay, so how can you deal with the situations that lead to you eating chocolate? Is there a particular issue that you're arguing regularly with your husband about? What is that issue? How can you deal with it? Is it something that's in your hands to deal with? If yes, then you, you can come up with ideas of how to, to reduce that stress. And if it's something that you can't particularly maybe change, then it's about exploring how you can build resilience to not feel like you are being overtaken by that emotion. And I think that is the crucial step because, you know, I could say to someone, okay, in an emotional moment, just have willpower. Just have, you know, just tell yourself, you're not going to have any chocolate, but that's not going to help because you will find yourself in that situation again and again and again. Willpower is not going to help. You need to look at the causes underneath what leads to you having that particular behaviour and a one fold that is looking at the actual causes, the actual arguments, the actual situations. What can you change to relieve some of that stress, relieve some of that worry? And the next thing is, how can you work on yourself to feel better within yourself without having to go for chocolate? What other steps can you take to recognise that you aren't a horrible human being and that you don't need to have chocolate to make yourself feel better. What else can you do to give yourself that boost? And often that involves taking a lot of self care and looking after yourself outside of those stressful moments because one of the things that we often don't do is prioritise ourselves and prioritise making ourselves feel good, outside of those horrible moments. And what happens is when you look after yourself, the rest of the time, when you then find yourself in a horrible situation, you're better placed to deal with it because your reserve of energy is a lot higher than if you're constantly allowing yourself to work hard, work hard, work hard, have no kind of reserve of energy for yourself, so that when you hit that point where you then argue with someone or have a situation that stresses you out, you've got no reserve to hold on to. And that then leads us to try and just find something outside of our inner selves to make us feel better. However, if we've developed skills and develop resilience internally, then we're much more likely to deal with those emotional situations in a much more better way. So it's a lot of hard work, really, when we think about it. If you've got situations in your life that is causing you to become emotional, causing you to have fluctuations in your moods, it requires a lot of honesty, and it requires a lot of work, and gradual work to develop that kind of resilience. It's not an overnight fix, and that is why diets don't work because the aim of a diet is to quickly fix your weight loss problem, but actually, all of this emotional baggage that might be there underneath, takes time to resolve. And the reason why I say that, is often a lot of the emotional baggage we have my even vote all the way back to our childhood. So that could be 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years or some people, of emotions that they've not quite dealt with, and that's not going to be fixed by simply cutting down your calories.

Gillian Duncan 30:22
No, this is great to hear, because it completely links in with what we were saying earlier about the effects that sleep, the lack of it, and stress has on our bodies. It's all interlinked, isn't it? And that diet alone, or physical exercise alone, just won't resolve the issue. We have to look at the whole picture. And I love what you're saying about the fact that we need to take those emotional circumstances, we need to break them down, really look at that underlying cause and figure out how we can cope with them better. I mean, let's face it, life's going to throw it at us, it always does. We're never not going to argue with our partners or our friends or, you know, there's never going to be a time where we'll never get a, you know, a letter through the post that we don't want or something, there's always going to be something in our lives that causes us a bit of stress or causes a bit of upset, but it's how we handle that. And if, as you said, we are looking at a bigger picture, and we're thinking about our self care on a constant daily basis, then we will have that reserve of energy. We will have the confidence to face up to things better and hopefully that will have that positive knock on effect to the rest of our health and help keep us from gaining that weight. It's been so exciting to chat to you about this. I love this whole picture that you're painting for everybody. And you're disclosing it for everybody and saying, 'Don't worry with the diets. That's only a small part of this whole journey'.

Aishah Iqbal 32:00
And you know, you, what you've just said there is, you're hitting the nail on the head, because it is a journey, and that's why I always say weight loss isn't just about your weight. It's about looking at your whole lifestyle, your whole life, the way you're living your life. Because your weight is probably a product of so many other things going on in your life. And when we start focusing on those things, when we start focusing on, you know, the stress, the worry, the sleep, the lack of movement, when we focus on those individual things, not only do we better our life and how we're living it, but then you'll have the byproduct of losing the weight. I think often when people focus solely on, 'I want to lose weight, weight loss, weight loss, weight loss, weight loss, weight loss', they miss out on the things that actually matter. They're missing out on making themselves feel better from better stress control and better sleep because they're not focusing on those things. But if you focus on those things, and you improve those, not only will you have a better experience of life, but you'll also achieve the goal that you had set out to achieve of losing weight. So it's a win win situation. But when we focus on just cutting calories and restricting ourselves, that's just adding on a new problem into your life because you're probably not going to lose the weight to the extent that you want to. Yes, some people do, and those are the people who probably just need to cut down on how much they're eating. But for the majority of people, and I bravely will say majority of people because I think this is something that many, many, many people fall into. For the majority of people, it's not just about cutting down on their calories, it's also about looking at all of their life and looking at how they can better themselves in all areas, and then they will still achieve their weight loss. So it's, it is a big journey that people go on. And, you know, with a journey, you often reach your destination which, if you've done lots of hard work to get there you have an extra sense of enjoyment because you know how hard you worked to get there.

Gillian Duncan 34:06
I think if you work hard to get there and you understand all the concepts behind your journey and why you're doing it, it's one that you'll stay on track with.

Aishah Iqbal 34:15
Absolutely.

Gillian Duncan 34:16
Now, Aishah, I know you have this great website called thewaytoweightloss.com, and it is packed with great advice from your podcast and from your blog posts. Really, there is so much on the site that is available for anyone on a weight loss journey. And you also have a coaching programme. Can you tell us more about this?

Aishah Iqbal 34:39
So yeah, so my website is, you know, the platform that I've made, it's got lots of resources for people, particularly from my own podcast that I do. You know, the podcast is also accessible on iTunes, and any other you know, podcast platform that people use, just simply by looking for 'The Way To Weight Loss' and my group coaching programme is a group coaching programme which runs over 12 weeks, where we slowly learn all of these things together. We look at sleep, we look at stress, we look at emotions, we look at diet and nutrition and we look at exercise. And the aim of that 12 week programme is not to say to you, you know, in 12 weeks, you're going to be the size that you want to be and you're going to lose 10 stones, absolutely not. The aim of the programme is to teach you the skills, the knowledge and the tools that you need to transform your lifestyle and transform your life. And that is the aim of what I do. I know, you know, people come to me because they want to lose weight, and when they finish working with me, hopefully, they will be on the path to losing weight, but they would have transformed their life so that they feel happier. And I truly believe that the happier we are, the more healthy we will be. So that is my aim in life to make people healthy and happy.

Gillian Duncan 35:55
That's a brilliant aim. So all the details of this programme are on your website and I will share all your contact details for your website on the post page for this podcast at clarityjunction.com/emotionaleating, so it will be available for everyone who wishes to come and find out more about what you do and how they can seek your help on their own weight loss journey.

Aishah Iqbal 36:19
Absolutely.

Gillian Duncan 36:19
But before we sign off from this podcast today, I just want to talk about a recent post that was published in the 'Metro'. I wonder if you'd be able to tell our listeners about that because I found this so inspirational.

Aishah Iqbal 36:34
Oh, yeah, so recently, I was featured in the 'Metro' newspaper online, on one of their online platforms, and it's basically just about my journey as a personal trainer who looks different to what you expect a personal trainer to look like. And I say that because I wear the headscarf. I'm a practising Muslim, so I wear, you know, a hijab and I wear modest long dresses. And, you know, typically when we go into a gym, the people that we see as personal trainers, and people we identify as personal trainers, are often of a certain look. You know, there'll be people who are slim. People who look a particular way. And that is quite unfortunate, because actually, many people who are into fitness, into looking after themselves, they don't need to look like that. They don't need to fall into that category, and I think sometimes it can be daunting if you don't fit into a particular mould, that, you know, people might decide not to go to the gym or not to prioritise their exercise because they're scared of what other people might think. And I think it's really important to break down some of those barriers and to basically show you don't need to transform yourself to suit the masses, you are fine as you are, and, you know, you need to prioritise yourself over the fears of what people think about you. So, that was a really interesting feature to be involved in, because I know lots of people have found benefit from it. So, it was exciting and it's something I'm very, very proud of.

Gillian Duncan 38:05
I absolutely loved the article. Really, from a personal point of view, I, sort of 5' 2", and I am more curvy, I've got a more muscular shape, I should say, and I always wanted to be a yoga teacher. I loved yoga and I wanted to train and teach people and, and share my knowledge of yoga with others. But I was, for years, put off from doing this because I know that there's a stereotype image out there regarding yoga teachers. You know, when people think of yoga teachers, they think like six foot, slim, they're double jointed, they can do you know, contortions with their body, and they're also like, of a hippie mindset. So I was really put off doing this and it wasn't until I had a severe back injury that I realised that you know, I'm never going to be six foot, I'm never going to be the shape that people expect me to be, and I might not even have the mindset that a lot of yoga teachers might have, but I still have got a quality and I've got knowledge and I've got something to share with people out there. And I actually, I trained and I loved being a yoga teacher for so many years, and I only stopped only in the last couple of years because of an injury, but hoping to get back to it someday. But it's completely correct what you're saying about stereotype. When I met people out with the class situation, and they asked me, 'Gillian, what do you do for a living?', and I said, 'Oh, I'm a yoga teacher', they would look me up and down, and sort of assess me and go, 'Yeah, sure you are', they didn't believe that I could actually teach to a standard because I wasn't, in their mind, somebody who looked like a yoga teacher. So, I love your article. It completely backs up everything that I believe in, so I've just got applause, complete applause for you.

Aishah Iqbal 39:58
Thank you, that really means a lot.

Gillian Duncan 40:00
I think you've also opened the doors for many other women to go out and think about their fitness in a different light. I think that you have given them that sort of support and encouragement to go to the gym, or to find other ways of fitness that suits them, and, as you mentioned, without having to feel that they have to fit into some sort of box that society has put them into. I think it's so empowering what you are doing, and yeah, I really do hope that other women out there reading articles, like you have just presented, they are inspired by that, and they go make that change for themselves, and nobody else. I mean, let's face it, our health is nobody else's business, but our own. So, we have to take control. We have to take control back, and we have to know what we want for ourselves and what's good for us, for ourselves. So with that, I would love to say thank you so much, Aishah for chatting with me today. I have loved learning so much from you, and I know that our listeners will have been feeling the same as they've been hearing you chat, and now I'm really motivated to get more on top of my own weight loss journey and feel more prepared to face up to my own emotional eating. So thank you so very much.

Aishah Iqbal 41:24
Thank you so much for having me. It's been wonderful talking to you about all of this stuff.

Gillian Duncan 41:29
Thank you so very much for sharing and for being a great guest here at the Clarity Junction podcast.

Aishah Iqbal 41:35
Thank you.

Gillian Duncan 41:37
That's all for this episode. My sincerest thanks to Dr. Aishah Iqbal for sharing so much knowledge and advice with us on the Clarity Junction podcast today. It's been really informative and I hope that you are inspired to pop over to the Clarity Junction post to find out more about Aishah, her coaching programme and how to contact her. You can find her details at clarityjunction.com/emotionaleating. 

Thanks for listening. If you've enjoyed this podcast today, then rate it, share it and subscribe to it so that you never miss an episode. 

Remember to hop over to clarityjunction.com to find out more about our membership for women who want more from life.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Bye for now, and keep being awesome.


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