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The Link Between Stress From Defeat & Trauma And Obesity

trauma, visceral fat, obesity, cortisol, adrenal fatigue,

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the impact of feeling defeated – hopeless and helpless – and the link between the stress of defeat, trauma and obesity.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, or pining over your ex? How would you like to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

The Effects of Trauma
Discover that trauma really is, the way it affects you and your physical and psychological health. You will be shocked to learn of the various types of trauma. Watch the video of the webinar replay

Now, let’s talk about the impact of feeling defeated – hopeless and helpless – and the link between the stress of defeat, trauma and obesity.

In 1985, Dr. Vincent Felitti made a mistake that would change the understanding of trauma and obesity. Dr. Felitti was treating patients to help them lose weight.  Fifty percent of the patients would drop out of the program even though they were having extraordinary success losing weight.

“Instead of asking, “How old were you when you were first sexually active,” I asked, “How much did you weigh when you were first sexually active?’ The patient, a woman, answered, ‘Forty pounds.’”

Dr. Felitti was so confused he asked the same incorrect question again.

His patient who was obese burst into tears, “It was when I was four years old, with my father.”

This response began decades of work by Dr. Felitti which would eventually reveal the link between sexual abuse and obesity, and result in a study of 17,000 people linking every major chronic illness and social problem that the United States to adverse childhood experiences – trauma!

In my article Trauma’s Lifelong Impact On Health and How To Heal Trauma,  I explain that trauma is the response to feeling intensely threatened or harmed by an event you were involved in or you witnessed, and I reveal that trauma triggers the body’s stress response and negatively impacts the brain, body, immune system and endocrine system.

In this article, I reveal another aspect of trauma – the way it triggers the defeat stress response, and the way that leads to depression, anxiety, and obesity.

Stress is the body’s response to any demand put upon it. Not all stress is bad.
Stress is bad when the demand is greater than the body can handle or cope with.

The body responds to stress four ways, with each one dependent upon the way your brain perceives the demand or threat:

1. Fight Back – You believe you have the power to defeat the threat. You seek to control or overcome the challenge/threat. Primary hormone/neurotransmitter released: Noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and cortisol

2. Run Away (Flight) – You believe you cannot defeat the threat, and you believe your world is out of control. You seek to run away, and you enter flight/anxiety state. Primary hormone/neurotransmitter released: Adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol

3. Freeze – You feel overwhelmed by the threat. You can’t run or fight back. Your system shuts down, you freeze to protect yourself from the threat or to numb yourself from consciously feeling pain. Primary hormone/neurotransmitter released: Endorphins to act as analgesics.

4. Defeat – The threat/challenge is ongoing and/or you perceive yourself to be defeated (sense of hopelessness and powerlessness), and you enter a state of Social Defeat Stress. Your body is producing high and prolonged releases of cortisol.

Cortisol suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes, and in short bursts it is anti-inflammatory but chronic levels of cortisol negatively impact the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and other diseases.

Prolonged and elevated levels of cortisol (particularly at the tissue level):
* Create fat in your body
* Create visceral fat (this is the deep abdominal fat the lays beneath the abdominal muscles and around the organs; visceral fat leads to abdominal obesity, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes mellitus, and cerebrovascular disease; visceral fat is a strong independent predictor of mortality)
* Suppress the immune system
* Weaken bones
* Reduce capacity to detoxify body
* Increase appetite and cravings for sugar and fat
* Lead to eventual depletion of cortisol resulting in adrenal fatigue

Which traumas lead to Social Defeat Stress?
Any trauma you experienced where you felt powerless, hopeless or helpless will lead to feeling defeated.  Experiencing abuse and/or being bullied are common example of social defeat stress.

Did you experience any form of abuse (physical, sexual or emotional) whereby you were not able to fight back, you could not escape, you could not tell anyone, you were ‘forced’ to keep it a secret, you were constantly afraid or anxious that it could happen at any moment, you feared for your safety, and/or it happened repeatedly?

Did you witness some form of abuse such as a someone else being physically, emotionally, verbally or sexually abused – mom, dad or a sibling – and you felt helpless to do anything about it? Perhaps you did make an attempt to intervene, but you couldn’t stop it.

Perhaps you did try to fight back or stop the abuse and repeatedly you failed. In turn, you felt weak and powerless, and therefore you either became submissive or surrendered along with the subconscious feeling of helplessness and/or hopelessness. You began to withdraw or isolate yourself.

It is also possible that you responded with both paralysis and defeat. In other words, depending on the abuse itself, because you couldn’t fight back or escape, you disassociated from it (you shut down all emotion during the abuse/threat so that you could not feel the pain) and you still also felt hopelessness and helplessness in relation to the abuse. Thus, during the abuse, you might numb or disassociate yourself but after it, you might function with defeat – hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness, and feelings of being trapped.

Please accept that each one of these are natural responses to stress – to trauma.

Behavioral responses to Social Defeat Stress
Feeling defeated via traumatic experiences and/or feeling defeated at the subconscious level can lead to:
* Apathy
* Hopelessness
* Anxiety
* Loss of or weakened ambition, drive, and enthusiasm
* Fear or reluctance to set goals
* Fear to ask for what you want or to stand up for yourself
* Fear of authority
* Fear of getting in trouble
* Frustration or angry outbursts
* Hesitation
* Isolation
* Withdrawal
* Feelings of low self-worth
* Depression

The impact of trauma stays with you for life unless you get the right help. The process I use to effectively and quickly heal and release trauma is SRTT – Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique. This process which I organically developed identifies the root of the trauma (the emotions and behaviors you wish to release) and by creating a safe state of third person observation using the subconscious mind, you can gently release the painful emotions without reliving them, and you can change the faulty beliefs and interpretations that your mind created at the time – often the mind and perception of a child. And yes, I have been doing this successfully for clients around the world over the phone!

If you would like to release trauma gently, easily, and quickly, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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