When you ask most people what causes obesity, their answer will always be “over eating”.
Well duh, that is the most obvious answer but there is far more to the problem than just over eating. Not only do we often have emotional ties to our comfort foods, we also can have emotional ties to our obesity. It is because of this, that we will regularly watch as someone who has had great success at losing weight turn around and put it all back on. The emotional bondage to our obesity can actually be stronger than our addiction to sugar and simple carbs. It is a hurdle that a good many have to face when losing weight, but most people won’t. Obesity is often a symptom of deeper, emotional problems that can come from a multitude of issues that are not always your fault. If you are one who has an emotional block to losing weight, there is no shame in seeking out professional help. You have to know that losing pounds off of your body may not bring you joy to your life, if your emotional connection to your obesity is not addressed. You may not realize the depth of your attachment to something that causes you misery, but these attachments are quite real my friends. Weight loss is not only a physical adjustment. It’s psychologically complex too, and may not always bring about as much happiness as a person may expect.
Emotional challenges that come with weight loss are:
Realizing that losing weight doesn’t necessarily equal happiness: A person may not feel as happy or content as they may have expected. This can come as a shock following dramatic weight loss if a person is not yet mentally prepared for it. Because of this, we recommend you only try to lose no more than one or two pounds per week. It takes time for your mind to accept your new look. It takes time for you to not see yourself as being obese. Your mind has to adjust to your new look, and despite how you might feel better physically at a lower weight, you are probably not going to be happy with your look if you see a lot of excess, sagging skin when you look in the mirror.
Losing weight might make you feel vulnerable: For a person who has been obese, their larger size will often provide a degree of emotional protection. This can come as an emotional sense that they could ‘hide’ their true selves. Psychologically, losing this ‘fleshy protective barrier’ can leave a person feeling somewhat ‘exposed’ to the world around them.
Losing weight casts a spotlight on a person: Adding to feelings of vulnerability, dramatic weight loss can bring about a certain amount of attention from others which may not be all that welcome. Although positive comments given about the change in physical appearance are meant to be complimentary, they can actually make a person feel all the more exposed and vulnerable. Our friends and loved ones will almost never understand that losing such a lot of weight is quite an adjustment, on multiple levels. Coping with the attention of others in a way that isn’t familiar at the same time can be challenging, and can sometimes feel a little ‘too personal’ for others to be acknowledging. Additionally, for some people when all of the attention dies down and passing comments no longer happen, this can become emotionally problematic. When the compliments subside, the individual can feel as if they are failing in their health initiative even though it is natural that others will get used to the new look and stop acknowledging the change.
Losing a lot of weight can make us feel angry: When other people start noticing our new look, it can spark anger for some. Positive remarks will not necessarily be received as flattering when they come from others who never gave them the time of day before. In learning to cope emotionally with changes to a persons body, it can make them feel as if others are shallow and superficial if they’re only now treating a person positively after they have lost weight. Some people have also experienced negative remarks, commenting that they no longer look ‘healthy’. It is a shame that people think of being over weight is a healthy look!
Losing a lot of weight loss can make a person a little self-absorbed: Making such a dramatic change in day-to-day life can become a little all-consuming for the person going through it all. A person may not be feeling all that negative about the changes they’ve been through but can still become very lost within themselves. While this can be understandable, our family and friends may not be as gracious about it if taken too far.
Losing weight may not automatically give any of us a sense of self-confidence, nor should this be expected. This is especially true if you were not in the habit of being outgoing before you began losing weight. Self-confidence will need to come ‘from the inside’ while learning how to cope with the physical changes, happening ‘on the outside’. Learning to dress in smaller sizes may help towards positive feelings about dramatic physical changes to the body. But, it’s not uncommon for to find ourselves still shopping for clothes at the size we were before or dressing in the usual ‘over-sized’ comforts. As I have said, it takes time to get our minds wrapped around the changes we go through when losing weight.
When we decide to lose weight and to be healthy, it requires a lifelong commitment. A person may have goals to set and accomplish, but there is no real end to ‘the journey’. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight will continue every day. Dieting is not the answer, a change to your nutritional habits for life is the answer. If you are prone to being overweight, then this will be a permanent problem for you if you do not adapt to a new lifestyle of healthy nutrition and exercise of some type that is right for you.