The emotional stresses of being overweight

The emotional stresses of being overweight

The emotional stresses of being overweight

Originally published at and

While the medical and scientific community may have its own controversial definition of obesity – the BMI – Body Mass Index, most of us know when we are overweight. If we don’t blatantly see it, at the very least, we feel it. And it’s never a good feeling. In fact, being overweight leads to many negative and destructive emotions – most of which result in low self-esteem, low self-confidence, a negative body image and a fear of physical and emotional intimacy. All in all, for many people, being overweight makes dating and relationships a truly daunting challenge.It is also important to note that most women today have a negative self-image of their body.

As a Human Behavior Expert, Celebrity Life Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist, I can testify to the fact that very few women actually like their body. The truth is that I have yet to meet a woman who is truly happy with every aspect of her body. Even my clients who are highly successful models are still dissatisfied with their body. Ask almost any woman, and she will find something wrong with her body, exclaiming that she wishes she could change something about her body: larger breasts, smaller breasts, perkier breasts, less cellulite, not so skinny, taller, slimmer legs or buttocks, less baby fat around the belly, less flab around the arms, more toned, less wrinkles or stretch marks, etc. The irony is that the average woman cares much more about how her body looks than men care about how a woman’s body looks. Yes, men are critical, sometimes highly critical but they are not as critical as women and men don’t notice things such as hip to waist proportions and won’t make comments such as, “If only your legs were two inches longer…”

The perfect body!
Thus, the first challenge women face is that they are often competing with other women for the best body or worse, the perfect body. Many people will say that the media is to blame for the unattainable perfect body which, changes every year according to the fashion. Is it just the media that must take responsibility for the expectations we have set for women? No. Women have fallen prey to this false expectation and idealization of the perfect body – often being the toned, tight, slim, 22-year old rock star body ala Britney Spears or Jessica Alba. Yes, too many women have decided that they must have the perfectly proportioned body regardless of their natural-born shape, height, build and regardless of their age.

Just not good enough
Accordingly, the first immediate stress that any woman will face occurs when she decides that she must look like or even dress like someone else. The desire to be someone else automatically sends a message to the subconscious mind that you are not good enough the way you are – there is something wrong with you. In turn, the woman now becomes a victim; she spends most of her energy denying who and what she is and instead dedicates her time, energy and emotions to trying to become and attain something she can never attain – someone else’s body, shape and look. And the more attempts she makes and the more she seemingly fails, the worse she feels about herself because not only does she think that there was something wrong with her body, now she feels like a failure, guilty and ashamed because she cannot change it. The result is a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness. This is the painful mistake that the average woman makes: she is unable to appreciate her own beauty (inner and outer), unable to embrace all of herself. Her confidence is shattered. Her self-esteem is low. She will quickly latch onto the first man that gives her some attention, praise and compliments. And before she is even aware of it, this man will probably control her by reminding her of her inadequacies, the very ones that she has been sending off as subconscious messages – her fears, self-doubt and insecurities. One of my clients, Isabelle, was crying because her live-in boyfriend would always control, criticize and condemn her by telling her that she is fat and ugly and no one else would want her. And the longer she stayed in this destructive relationship the worse she felt about herself and the more weight she put on.

Tipping the scale
On the other end of the spectrum is the person I referred to at the beginning of the article – the person that clearly knows that he or she is overweight. While five to ten pounds of extra weight may not be such a serious health risk nor be so obvious to the outside observer, the real danger of being overweight is first in the category of physical health. Caution needs to be taken to ensure that there is not too much fat surrounding the inner organs and that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are at a safely acceptable level. (Consult your physician for tests and advice.) The second danger of being overweight is the effect it has on you emotionally. When you are clearly overweight, people don’t look you in the eye; they look anywhere and everywhere else. Often they don’t see you, they just see the weight. And when it comes to dating, most people just skip over your photo or skip over you. Generally, other people feel uncomfortable around overweight persons: they may be less open, less likely to suggest physical or strenuous activity and even hesitant to order certain foods on the menu in case they offend. And a man seeking a woman as a potential mother may have even more fears and doubts about the health potential of an overweight woman.While most people will argue that the above is highly unfair and prejudice towards overweight people, it nonetheless, remains to be a true and common occurrence in our society. It is also further exacerbated by the other category of women who I mentioned earlier – the ones that are busy trying to attain the perfect body and whom will also sometimes flaunt and expose as much of their body as they can to get that attention, recognition and approval. In turn, the overweight woman (or man) is left feeling even worse, feeling inadequate, unable to compete, relegated to the sidelines, like a second class citizen. Accordingly, she now feels highly unattractive, loses her sense of self-worth and self-confidence. She now spends more time hiding and less time seeking dates.

It’s just the way I am
So why are so many people in our society overweight and obese? Is it just our poor choice of food and a lack of regular exercise? And why do so many diets fail or only have short term yo-yo effects?There is no doubt that regular exercise and healthy eating lead to a healthy body and often to a healthy weight but there is one greater factor which also prevents us from following the program we know is good for us or which sabotages the usually successful program. Do you know what that is?You will be shocked by the answer!

Walls around us
Recently, I was brought in by The Montel Williams TV show to spend three days with a Michigan family -to help save their marriage and family and to tape it for TV.As soon as I sat down to meet, Lou Anne, the step mother, I shocked her when the first thing I said to her was, “You have major walls around you and you fear real intimacy (physical and emotional.) Who has hurt you?” Lou Anne was stunned and she exclaimed, “Well, quite a few men in the past have hurt me actually.” “No, I mean, even farther back? Who hurt you when you were a child?”As we delved deeper, Lou Anne revealed how her father was highly critical, never kept his word or promises, was almost never home and when he was home, he was abusive to her and her mother. Lou Anne’s parents thus divorced when she was young. And as most children of divorced parents do, Lou Anne, subconsciously felt she was to blame. All in all, Lou Anne said she felt abandoned, rejected and ultimately she felt worthless. Lou Anne has been feeling worthless her entire life. Can you guess what is Lou Anne’s weight and body shape?Lou Anne is extremely overweight – obese.Thus, I did hypnotherapy to help her to forgive herself and her father, and to help set her free from her own judgments and guilt.On another Montel Show, I was brought in to help work with Steve, a married father who has explosive anger, suffers from fits of rage, and yet can also be extremely generous and very funny. His anger is worsened by his frustration that his wife won’t sleep with him and doesn’t have physical relations with him.Steve is angry at himself because he feels he never measured up to his father’s expectations of him and because his mother was very strict with him as a child. Prior to his father’s death more than ten years ago, Steve used to weigh about 175 lbs. How much do you think he weighs now?Yes, Steve is obese – over 250 lbs.For both Lou Anne and Steve, the weight was a way to shut out the world, avoid emotional and physical intimacy and as a way to punish themselves. When we subconsciously believe that we have done something wrong or that there is something wrong with us we will respond to the guilt and shame by punishing and sabotaging ourselves and by keeping people at a distance. After all, if we think we are bad we won’t allow anyone to love us. And if we believe we are worthless and fear rejection, we will also subconsciously put walls around us and do our best to prevent people from getting to close to us, in case, we again get hurt or feel rejected.

Feeling light and happy
Ultimately, we are all seeking the same thing – to love and be loved – to be happy. But love and every relationship begin with you. To experience love and to allow yourself to be loved, you must first love yourself. You must love and accept all of you: your body, your mind, heart and soul. You must also love and accept all of your flaws and mistakes. You must forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you believe you did; whatever you feel you did or didn’t do in the past. And then, you must forgive others – everyone else. And if you are overweight, begin to explore all of your emotions and beliefs: your fears, self-doubt, insecurities, resentments, anger, pain and hurt. Once you let go of the past and see the real inner beauty in you, then you will be set free to dissolve all those walls around you so that others will be able to see the beauty in you and love you back!

I have created a special hypnosis audio program for people that choose to be thin, lose weight and love their body. Also, coming soon is a special recording of a live presentation, “Secrets to being thin, losing weight and loving your body.”

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