What Is Beneath The Weight?

Understanding The Emotional Issues Beneath Your Extra Weight

By Joshua Wayne, MA
This is the first of a two part article

{Disclaimer before reading this article:  I am not seeking to diagnose or treat any physiological or mental disorder that would require the services of a trained and licensed physician, psychiatrist or mental health counselor.  The information I am sharing is intended to be strictly educational in nature.  If you think you may have either a physiological or mental disorder that requires the treatment and/or supervision of a licensed physician, psychiatrist or mental health counselor, I highly encourage you to seek out that consultation.}

Do you have a lot of weight to lose- meaning more than 60 pounds?  Or perhaps even 100 or more pounds to lose?  Have you tried to lose that weight many times before- and perhaps successfully lost some of it- only to find yourself losing focus and gaining it all back again?

If this sounds like you, then in order to have the lasting success you desire, you may need to look at what is emotionally “below the surface” of the extra body weight you are accustomed to carrying. 

Very often- not always, of course, but often- people who are carrying significant extra weight (60-70 pounds or more) have a deeper psychological issue (sometimes it may be more than one issue, but for grammatical simplicities sake, for the duration of this article I will just refer to it as an ‘issue’) that the extra weight is a symptom of.  In order to experience sustained, successful weight loss, very often they must unearth and address that deeper psychological issue at the same time.  They must deal with what’s beneath the weight.

If you fit the profile I describe above, then it’s possible that you already know what that deeper psychological issue is.  Perhaps you have even been working on it for some time- by yourself, in a support group of some sort, with a trust friend or with professional support.

Being willing to look at your personal issues is an important and crucial early step to resolve or let go of what stands in the way of having the health and happiness you desire. 

If you don’t know what that issue may be, then it’s an important thing to consider as you move forward on your trajectory to lose weight. 

Here is the first crucial question to ask yourself:

What do I get to avoid in my life by carrying this extra weight? 

If you are carrying significant extra weight on your body, there is something you ‘get’ out of it.  We could say that the extra weight has a ‘positive purpose’ in your life.  That may sound strange because it costs you so much in terms of your health and happiness, but nevertheless it is most likely true.  The ‘positive purpose’ is what it allows you to avoid dealing with.  So ask yourself, “What does this extra weight enable me to avoid?”

➢    Is it the discomfort of being in an intimate relationship and all of the vulnerability that comes with it- both emotional (being ‘seen’ and expressing your true feelings) and physical (sex)?

➢    Or perhaps being fully intimate in the relationship you’re already in?

➢    Maybe it’s dealing with deep-rooted anger or sadness from long ago?  Perhaps you grew up in a family where there was emotional or physical violence?  Or perhaps just a ‘typical dysfunctional’ family where you weren’t shown the respect and unconditional love you deserved.

➢    Maybe it’s addressing a sense of chronic low self-esteem or low self-confidence?  Many people adopt the false belief that they’re somehow ‘not okay’ just as they are, or that they don’t really feel they deserve happiness, and so they bury themselves in food and cloak themselves with the extra weight.

➢    Maybe it’s a way of avoiding allowing friends and family see who you really are and how you really feel about things.  Many people with lots of extra weight ‘lurk in the shadows’ so they really aren’t seen at all.  Others will put on the elaborate ‘funnyman’ facade to get the attention of others without having to let their vulnerability, fear or low self-esteem show itself.

Regardless of what your particular issue is that your extra weight allows you to avoid, it is important that you identify and begin addressing it if you want to have long-term success in losing weight and keeping it off. 

If you don’t, it’s very difficult to have the lasting success you desire, because these issues tend to have their own sense of ‘gravity’.  No matter how hard you try to avoid them, their ‘gravitational force’ will ultimately pull you back in.  You may be successful for a period of time, or you may find a fad diet that generates results for awhile, but without addressing what’s truly beneath the surface they will eventually return to the surface and take over.  This is why so many people have lost weight before only to gain it back again.  Their deeper beliefs about themselves and what’s possible in their lives hasn’t yet changed.

The good news is that there is always a way out of this pain and frustration.  It may require some effort and willingness to make some changes in terms of how you handle and deal with things in your life, but have hope because change is always possible.  It is only your belief that it is not that limits you.

In part 2 of this article, we will begin exploring some practical ways you can begin addressing these issues in order to finally ‘put them to bed’ so you can get on with creating the results you truly desire in your life.

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Joshua Wayne, MA is a Personal Development Coach and trained psychotherapist with an emphasis on weight loss motivation and mind/body wellness.

In his private practice Joshua has helped his clients achieve their weight loss goals, shape their life direction and resolve a wide range of family problems from relationship difficulties to out of control teenagers.

Joshua has a Masters Degree in Counseling.   He has also been intensely interested in and studying personal development, fitness and spirituality for close to 20 years.
Joshua also heads up the PEERtrainer 12 Week "Point Of No Return" Coaching Program.