If your diets are short lived, if you reach your goal weight and gain it back, if you eat when you’re not hungry, binge or feel out of control with food, then there is something very important going on underneath the surface which is running the show.
You have profoundly good reasons for overeating and for having a bigger body. To the spirit, these reasons are more important than being at a healthy weight.
Ultimately, we keep ourselves heavy and turn to food for reasons of self-care, protection, self-assertion, justice and emotional survival in the best way we knew how to provide it for ourselves while facing the environment and situations of our youth. And, from these circumstances of our early life, we inevitably create beliefs which get embedded into our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is like a tape recorder, playing the tape that it was given. When we realize what old tape is running in our lives, we can then choose to change the tape!
Here are a few examples of profound reasons I have heard:
“If I become attractive again, I’ll get into another intimate relationship. He’ll leave me and then I’ll have to face being rejected again.”
Feeling the pain of her father leaving the family, she came to believe that men leave her because she’s not good enough. She was also eating to soothe her loneliness.
“We moved 14 times by the time I finished high school. I had to keep re-establishing and proving myself.”
With the pattern of yo-yoing between becoming lean and buff, and getting fat and out of shape, he continued his subconscious belief of having to prove himself.
“My husband has to learn to love me unconditionally, no matter what size I am, before I am willing to lose the weight.”
Her husband is like her mother; critical of her. It elicited the same feelings in her of someone important saying she’s not okay and her soul trying to assert the truth that she deserves to be loved unconditionally. Of course, she was also giving herself the chance to learn to love and accept herself unconditionally.
“People will start to expect more from me. I will probably disappoint them.”
She was often made to feel like a failure as a child.
“When I was 19 years old, people complimented me on my beauty. I wanted them to see my inner beauty, substance and intelligence which I thought I didn’t have and wanted to develop, so I gained weight to take my outer beauty away.”
She has a strong value of people acknowledging each other for who they are on the inside. To hold a vigil for her value, she gained weight again when her daughters became teenagers and complimented for their beauty.
“As a teenager, I learned that bad things happen when you have an attractive body. I was also punished a lot and made to feel like I’m a bad person when my stepmother came onto the scene.”
By binging and mentally beating herself up over it, she could continue feeling bad. She could also feel bad about her “unattractive” body while keeping herself safe with it. (There is usually more than one reason and often opposing reasons in our eating/weight dynamics.)
“I’m holding onto this weight, while I seem to be in a holding pattern waiting on my husband and on my boss to make decisions that affect me.”
Her opinion wasn’t welcomed when she was a child. Her weight said that this wasn’t okay with her spirit.
“When I was 12 years old, ice cream was the only sweetness I could find. I had to do endless work on the farm and didn’t get to play, learn music, do sports or extracurricular activities at school. I thought that happiness was for other people, not for me.”
As a grown woman, she continued to put herself into a job where there was endless work to do, with no time for anything else – and found some relief by eating candy bars on her long commute home.
“I eat when I’m bored. My parents had a lot to deal with when I was a kid. They didn’t want me to have needs or show emotions. I once cried in violin class which ended up being very embarrassing. That day, I went to the candy shop across the street and I felt better.”
Whenever she had a need, or felt an emotion, she would get “bored” instead, and fill that need by eating sweets.
“When I was 6 years old, I was sexually violated. No one was talking about it, and I felt helpless. I also thought that if I was bigger, I’d be able to protect and help myself, like an adult. I eat whenever I feel anxious because I worry that I won’t know what to do or how to deal with a situation.”
So, what’s the truth behind your food and weight issues? As the saying goes, the truth will set you free.
Once you uncover these reasons they begin to turn around! It takes being curious and compassionate with yourself. It helps to have a coach to guide you and create a safe, comfortable space for you to explore and discover. In working with an experienced coach, these inner dynamics and their layers unfold and reveal themselves relatively quickly.
Now that we are adults, we don’t have to carry around our little kid beliefs, which have been informing our choices and actions. You can adopt new, truer, empowering beliefs. You’ll see how life responds to you accordingly and live a more peaceful and satisfying life.
I relate to your words and understanding of my overweight situation.