One of the things I do in my work is talk with people who have tried just about every approach out there and still struggle with their weight.
In my experience I have come to know that one of the things excess weight represents is some form of protection. Protecting ourselves by carrying excess weight isn’t a conscious thought or choice on our part. It’s an unconscious way of NOT dealing with issues that may surface when we’re at a healthier weight. We’re indirectly making ourselves feel safe in a way we currently aren’t able to. Here’s a quote that represents this idea, “The body says what words cannot.”
If you’re wondering what we could be protecting ourselves from in this way, here are just some things excess weight can protect us from;
-getting into or out of relationships
-intimacy, perhaps related to our sense of sexual attractiveness
-expectations of ourselves or the expectations of others
– taking 100% responsibility for our choices
-being more active
-being noticed… In the past that may have brought us unwanted or negative attention.
-feeling good about ourselves…I know it may sound crazy, but if we grew up feeling bad or uncomfortable about ourselves or our body, the thought of having a healthy body or feeling good about ourselves can be uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar.
-someone else’s or our own approval
–change of any kind, relationships (friends, family members, spouse or life partner), jobs, what we do with our time, social commitments etc.
-dealing with an addiction…Yes, when we aren’t in control our food or beverage intake, we have an addiction.
-losing our identity or our way of life as an overweight person… The life we live when we’re overweight is not the same life as when we’re at our desired weight
-dealing with our uncomfortable emotions…for example, eating when we feel stressed or bored, or eating when we’re not hungry
-letting go of the past… Many people have suffered some type of abuse or trauma in the past and have never been shown how to deal with the emotions surrounding it so they can heal and go on to enjoy their lives…..More about this in future blogs. (If you need more information about this now, you’re welcome to contact me.)
Carrying excess weight will do for us what we unconsciously feel we cannot do for ourselves. Unbeknownst to us, it’s our way of getting our needs met without having to take action. Most commonly, we’re afraid to take action because it represents a change we don’t feel ready to make.
It’s also true that consciously you may very much want to lose weight (I sure did). But we won’t be successful at losing or maintaining our desired weight permanently until we no longer need the “shield” of excess weight to keep us “safe”. This is where the concept of self-sabotage comes in.
We live to what we unconsciously believe about ourselves.
Self-sabotage happens when in someway, we’re indirectly or unknowingly working against ourselves.
Is there a way to know what our excess weight is protecting us from? If you’d like to figure that out, the following questions may provide some clues;
-If I lost this weight, what would happen that’s not happening now? How would my life change?
-How would I really feel inside if I was my desired weight?
-What would I have to deal with if I was my desired weight that I don’t need to deal with now?
-Who would I be without this excess weight?
– Would I still be in the same relationships, job or social circle if I was my desired weight?
“Protecting” ourselves in this way is understandable if we’re not ready to deal with the emotions and “things” that may come from being at our desired weight. What is also true though is that excess weight is actually imprisoning us. In many ways it harms our body, mind and most importantly, our precious spirit.
When we decide that we deserve or want a happy, healthy life, we will choose to look at the issues we’re protecting ourselves from with our weight. When that time comes, we may need or want help to do this. That’s taking good care of ourselves. Most importantly, when we begin looking at these issues, we begin opening to learning new ways to treat ourselves with kindness and to feel safe without needing excess weight to do it for us.
BTW, the above story of “protection from” could have been written about any addiction, or detrimental or destructive behavior. We humans don’t do things without a reason consciously or unconsciously. Which way would you prefer to choose?😉
With love, Jackie