Obesity is blamed on many things related to our physical health: food cravings, metabolism rate, thyroid issues, lack of exercise, binge eating, etc. Yet examining obesity from a psychological perspective reveals that there’s far more to obesity than just the physical causes and effects.
A healthy diet and exercise would be sufficient means for an obese person to get down to a healthy weight if obesity were a physical problem only, yet this those two tactics alone rarely are enough for obese people to lose down to and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to diet and exercise, obese people must also remove from their psyche the reasons behind their unmanageable food cravings.
While we may not be able to recall the specific experiences or details of our childhood that played significant roles in influencing the adults we have become, there’s no denying that childhood is an incredibly impressionable time in our lives. Although people who experience psychological or physical trauma in their childhood often try to block them out of their consciousness as they mature, the truth is that the subconscious never forgets. In fact, traumatic childhood experiences often stay buried within our subconscious and influence our behavior long into adulthood. Further, our childhood fears and traumas can manifest as the desire to binge or make unhealthy dietary choices once we’re adults.
Because children interpret what happens to them differently due to their lack of comprehension, maturity, and life experience, their perspective of what happens to them figures significantly into how their perceptions manifest. For instance, those who suffered sexual abuse at a young age often develop deep-rooted fears and insecurities in their subconscious, which in turn manifest as a desire to become and/or stay obese in a subconscious attempt to be less attractive or desirable and thereby fend off any future abuse. In this sense, obesity can make a person feel safer and more secure since they shield them from unwanted attention.
As another example, children who experience traumatic events like the divorce of their parents, the death of a close loved one, or dealing with addiction within the family might binge or consistently overeat because food provides a sense of comfort and makes them feel better by giving them some measure of pleasure amidst the fear, insecurity, or other emotional pain.
In still other cases obesity can be the result of recurring humiliation or terrorizing by bullies. The emotional scars buried deep within the subconscious can manifest as “comfort weight” that the person uses to copy with a sense of deep-rooted vulnerability.
The pursuit of a supportive network alongside proper nutrition and physical exercise is often critical in treating chronic obesity. It is essential that a person with a traumatic childhood pay close attention to and examine those experiences within this support network, and psychotherapy techniques like clinical hypnosis and age regression can be particularly effective in uncovering repressed childhood memories.
Granted, recalling deep-seated traumatic experiences and bringing them to the surface can be painful. This can be true of any healing provided in a safe environment, although it’s imperative to keep in mind that the person revisiting the painful experiences(s) is doing so to discover what the manifestation’s original trigger was rather than to remain cocooned within the pain and trauma. The healing process can be kick-started by this process, which paves the way for forgiveness of the individuals associated with the pain.
Because adults have more control of their lives and better understanding and comprehension of traumatic events than children, they are better equipped to come to terms with traumatic experiences from long ago. This enables them to “step in, learn, and step out.” When we forgive those who hurt us in pursuit of closure, we can more effectively move toward creating the life we deserve and of which we are worthy.
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.