The Other Side of Weight Loss
Do you struggle with weight loss?
Are you someone who has tried everything yet you are stuck in an ongoing battle with your weight?
Have you lost weight only to find you start to revert back to old behaviors and patterns and the weight you lost starts to slowly seep its way back?
When it comes to weight loss…..nutrition, diet and exercise are the most immediate actions people tend to seek. Rightly so! For me, it is important to fuel the body with great food. After all “we are what we eat” and “we are what we do not eat”! Also we are how we move. We only need to compare the physical bodies of a marathon runner and a sprinter. Both specimens are symptoms of their movement.
Approximately 90% of the people who set health oriented goals do not succeed!
If the above statement is true, is eating healthy and exercising a necessary, but very small part, in aiding people to meet their weight loss and health oriented goals? Is it time to look beyond the conventional methods of shedding your weight?
Why Do We Gain Weight?
For the most part, too much stress can result in weight gain (increased body fat) as our hormonal system shifts out of balance. Stress is the body’s reaction to a perceived stressor, something which interferes with functioning so that adaptation is necessary. Holistically, anything can affect anything and therefore, anything can be a stressor. If we eat too little or too much, exercise too little or too much, are sleep deprived, worry about eating the “right or wrong” foods, or become consumed in a The Other Side of Weight Loss
diet or bothered by what others think of us then all these can create stress and affect our hormonal system. It all depends on how the individual system perceives, processes, and responds to the stressor(s).
What if your weight issues were not about what you eat or how much you exercise? How would diet and exercise help if you were a prisoner of your own emotional stress? Would you consider that underneath our hormones, underneath our nutrition, underneath our diet, underneath our neediness to become healthy lays the unresolved emotional wounds that we have suppressed and repressed from the past? Our emotional wounds/stressors are possibly the hidden driving force behind how we eat, how we exercise, how our body defends and fights to preserve itself. Ultimately all of this influences an unfavourable imbalance in our hormonal system leading to an increase in body fat! In reality, our extra body fat can be a symptom of symptoms related to some unhealed emotional stressor or wound.
Emotional stress is significantly bigger than we give credit because there is always a story under its story. What we believe causes weight gain is not really the root to its creation. Most struggling people will think and tell themselves the opposite. In my experience, a significant step in shedding excess body weight occurs when we investigate the root causes of our unresolved emotional issues.
Emotional stress can be known, suppressed and repressed. We can suppress so much that we become numb to it. If we become unconsciously numb to our emotional stress could this not be a potentially harmful stress to our body and create the greatest imbalance on our hormonal system? A wise man once said to me, “We Can’t Heal What We Can’t Feel!” The more we live with ongoing hidden stressors the harder it is to balance our hormones and shed the weight you have been battling for so many years.
How Does Emotional Stress Become Hidden?
When something is perceived as frightening, painful or hurtful it is hard for us to really grasp all at one time what it really means to us, especially at a younger age. Because of this, parts of the experience are carried with us as it was not fully healed at the time of the event. To compensate for our inner conflict, we flee, freeze and facade to help us avoid and suppress the overwhelming pain inside. The more we live in an altered state of compensation the more we move away from who we truly are. And this disconnect is the hidden driving force behind our weight gain. It is the one that is always there circulating within our unconscious mind. It is the one that is most often denied and hidden from us.
How to Find Our Hidden Stressors
Introduce Curiosity. How can we find something that is hidden? Curiosity relieves ourselves from the attachments we develop through our compensatory mechanisms. It helps bring a closed mind to a more open one. The more open minded we become the more conscious we are of the moment. To be curious is questioning the WHY.
Below are sample questions of curiosity relating to someone struggling with their weight:
Can you recall when you first started to struggle with your weight? How old were you? How did you feel when you first thought about the idea of wanting to lose weight? Was there something unordinary about that time in your life? If so, how did you feel around this time? What were your actions following this particular experience? If you are found in a constant struggle with your weight are your feelings toward yourself similar to feelings of yourself in the past?
Name It. Once you become curious and more aware of what certain experiences mean to you I suggest to name the feeling that you are feeling. By naming your feeling you make it more of a friend than an enemy. True friends are generally connected and easily recognizable.
Express It. Expressing creates movement and allows energy to move instead of being suppressed. It allows the stress to breathe and give it life. It now becomes a part of you rather than against you. Journaling, talking to a friend or even using your voice recorder on your phone or computer are ways to give depth to your feelings and experiences.
Weight gain is often a symptom of something bigger and deeper than we are aware of. If you have battled with weight loss perhaps the nutrition you require is at the roots not the symptoms. Emotional wounds are like the roots of a tree, they are often covered and hidden; however, they are the backbone to stability, guidance and balance.
This is a guest article by Jason King. He is presently completing his thesis in Osteopathy. He can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org