"Nahafochu" to you too

By Susan Cetlin - 3/11/2018


Turning Around Obesity

By Susan Cetlin, PhD., Psychologist


There is a word in Hebrew “nahafochu” that doesn’t have an exact parallel word in English. More or less it means to do the opposite, to reverse and to transform in a radical way. It means to completely turn things around, inside and out, from a dire, negative situation to a positive and sweet one. “Nahafochu” are actions taken to sweeten, elevate, and transform the negative into a new positive reality. It can feel like a completely unexpected positive that frankly is such a surprise and so wonderful that it is even beyond our wildest imagination. It brings the person to a totally new level of being in the world where one can’t help but to smile, laugh and jump for joy. The negative situation, therefore, becomes the seed for something amazingly better. Life, health, wholeness, meaning, purpose, joy, fulfillment, and peace become a palpable reality not just a dream. For some, bariatric surgery is a catalyst to such change that can feel almost miraculous.

So how do we get there from where we are, weighed down (literally and metaphorically) by the negative? Well, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a continual process and journey. In order to keep the life flow flowing, we need to discover and stick to our own customized mind/ body / spiritual formula and avoid blocking the flow with our closely held but albeit, outdated and self-harming coping skills. To stay on the path requires mindfulness, attention to detail, guarding the self with new rules and boundaries, and being a part of a good support system. Sometimes when we slip off our path, it gives us more strength and motivation to get back on track because we know from experience how much better we will feel when we do.

Thank you so much for sharing your unique stories with me during the psychological evaluation that you completed before having bariatric surgery. I have learned so much from each of you and from your beautiful and compelling narratives. I am so moved by every one of you and it has been a privilege to be a small part of your voyage toward improved health and well-being.

Different themes have emerged in the interviews, shedding light on some of the factors contributing to not moving forward on a healthier path. These factors are often beyond our conscious awareness and therefore can be difficult to address. When hidden they can sabotage our best intentions. Bringing them to light can help propel us forward.

Below are many of the common obstacles that underlay the struggle to lose weight. Do you see yourself in any of them?

1 Being extremely nice, caring and thoughtful to others yet ignoring yourself. Your caregiving out balances your self-care.

2 You are highly competent, effective, responsible and conscientious though your engine is always running and never slows down. You carry too much responsibility on your shoulders.

3 You have hidden emotional pain from losses or traumatic life experiences as a child or adult. It’s not comfortable to feel these emotions and they get covered up and stuck in the body. Identifying these old feelings in new caring and compassionate ways and connecting with others who are empathic can be healing and freeing.

4 Difficulty with focus, organization, impulsivity and attention are sometimes at the root of weight problems. Planning meals, shopping, cooking, reading labels, learning about food, keeping track of eating patterns and activity can be taxing and overwhelming when your brain and body are more spontaneous, in the moment and restless

5 When is enough enough? Food as reward, stress reliever, and instant gratifier rather than as fuel and energy for your body to fulfill your life’s purpose in meaningful ways.

6 Need for food sameness and consistency. You become out of tune with or separated from your body’s needs. A mismatch develops between your taste buds and body. You like foods that taste good but that your body rejects. An argument or battle ensues between the two. You struggle to negotiate a peace agreement and compromise. A willingness to bend and be flexible can make a difference. Realizing that food manufacturers and restaurants have joined sides with your taste buds to get you hooked on unhealthy foods to keep their profits up can motivate your will to resist. They don’t care what’s good for you, just their business bottem line. Becoming an ally to your body is critical. Once weaned off all the addictive food subtances, you might even enjoy the taste of unprocessed, healthier, natural foods, just the way they are.

7 Injuries, medical or psychological problems, jobs and medications that prevent you from being more active, tire you out and/ or affect your metabolism.

If any of the above issues or others not mentioned are getting in the way of your progress, please don’t hesitate to discuss them with the SWLS team. We are here to help you develop healthy patterns, behaviors, and coping mechanisms and to support you on your journey of “nahafochu!” Time to turn your life around and achieve your potential! Please reach out.

Contact information:

Susan Cetlin, PhD


Susan P. Cetlin, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist & Health Service Provider

Life Thrive Psychological Care
781 724-1189 Sharon, MA

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(508) 668-4400

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