Why food is not the root cause of weight issues
Weight gain, emotional eating, or any other food related issues are typically grounded in one, or a combination of, these three reasons – to protect, to punish, or to pay attention.
Our mind and bodies are incredible and work harmoniously to ensure our survival, even if on the surface this doesn’t make sense or isn’t what we want. The minds’ primary responsibility is to keep us alive. While weight as a means to protect us may seem more obvious as a way to pad, and create space, weight can also be a means to fulfil a believed need to be punished, or to get one to take note of something underlying. Once we understand the root cause of the symptom of weight issues, we are able to support the mind to realise that weight issues are no longer serving us.
For my clients who want to transform weight/eating issues, I like to start the process with self-worth, supporting them to remember the authentic selves, re-establish self-worth and ultimately begin to love themselves… love the body they have so that they can have the body they love.
Diet culture has taught us to use food as a tool for deprivation and exercise as a form of punishment. The tragedy of this is that this goes against our innate natural instincts to nurture and nourish.
Because of the contradiction, food is often used to soothe the underlying feelings and beliefs. As children we seek connection and want to avoid rejection. When our feelings are not acknowledged or we feel helpless to impact our environment, we seek out other ways to soothe ourselves. As adults when we feel overwhelmed by feelings or when we feel helpless we may turn to alcohol, sex, shopping etc. as a means of soothing yet children don’t have access to these and so often food becomes an easily accessed numbing. These habits could also flow into adulthood, and if our lifestyles change (which is likely) we may experience weight gain or sugar binges. All these soothing methods in excess are obviously not healthy and all of them are rooted in feelings of not being enough, not getting our needs met, and feeling different to those we are meant to connect with. Weight gain is simply a symptom. The symptom could’ve been pain or depression or addiction, and in this case weight gain or eating issues is the way your body figured to cope with what lies beneath.
Dr. Gabor Maté talks a lot about addiction, trauma and authenticity in the context of how not honouring our true self through the experience of childhood trauma we may develop addictive behaviours as a means to cope.
I hope to be part of the change, moving our society towards loving ourselves, having boundaries, respecting ourselves, and ultimately being happy and free.
If you’re struggling with weight or eating issues, connect with me for support!