Let’s address one of the most difficult issues regarding weight loss. It’s a touchy topic that can be an obstacle to weight loss for many of our patients. I’m referring to self-sabotage. How do you know you’re sabotaging your success? These are the thoughts that may come to mind:
- Whenever I try to lose weight, I go off my plan and gain it all back.
- I know how to lose weight, I just can’t do it.
- I’m not hungry, but I still keep overeating.
- I need food to deal with feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, anger, or loneliness.
- I feel uncomfortable with the comments of others when I lose weight (Translation: I use my weight to avoid dealing with social situations or to prevent advances from others of the opposite sex).
- I started gaining weight at an early age after major change or trauma in my life.
While the reasons can be numerous, my experience and those of other Bariatricians confirms a high degree of emotional trauma often complicates weight loss in a segment of our patients. The sources of trauma include emotional neglect or abuse as a child, overly critical parenting, or sexual abuse. It is natural to avoid dealing with these wounds. The result is the continued pattern of using food to numb difficult feelings. This expresses itself as self-sabotaging a weight loss plan.
How can you be successful when you self-sabotage? The first step is to recognize the that unresolved conflict may be the cause of weight gain. Second,you have to decide if you are ready to heal. This realization takes some courage. When you are ready, getting the right help is critical. Working with a licensed Psychologist is the catalyst to safe healing. You can obtain a referral from the American Psychological Association.
Only when you have prepped the field will healthy plants grow. The best of weight loss plans will not work until you have healed form past emotional obstacles. The journey is not easy, but well worth it.