Of the many causes of weight gain, emotional eating is one that most of us can relate to and admit to ourselves. We eat because we are stressed. We eat because we are upset. We eat because we are frustrated and lonely. Ironically, the eating causes us to gain more weight which then causes more stress, frustration and loneliness. Which leads to more eating. We become caught up in a never ending cycle of feelings and food.
In that case, our weight gain is causing us more of the emotional problems that led to us overeating in the first place. What about the scenario that leads you to eat and gain weight to protect yourself emotionally? What happens when you start gaining weight to find security and control? You probably aren’t consciously aware that is what you are doing, but your subconscious mind is steering you towards a state that will allow you to feel safe.
It may seem contradictory, but sometimes our bodies follow what our mind is subconsciously telling us is the thing to do to ensure or survival or our sanity. Trauma or abuse, even that which is not remembered or is still being revealed to us slowly, can cause us to create certain circumstances in our lives.
As one of my former therapists explained to me: when you suffer some sort of sexual abuse you may think that you were the cause of it somehow. You may blame yourself for it. You start thinking that if you weren’t as attractive, or as pretty, or maybe you weren’t as approachable. So your mind starts trying to find a solution to keep you from being abused again. Somewhere in your mind you are thinking of ways to make yourself less attractive and being overweight can be one of them.
You could probably just as easily go to the other extreme and emaciate yourself by not eating at all or by forming an eating disorder that keeps you from gaining weight and being attractive by having curves. Maybe you become self destructive and self injure to disfigure yourself in such a way as to turn away anyone who may be attracted.
The point is, weight gain can become a sort of security blanket and a means of exhibiting some control over your own life when you feel like you have completely lost control. When this is the case, you will have a lot more hurdles to overcome than just knowing how to eat right and exercise. Because even if you know what you need to do to lose the weight, chances are you will sabotage your own efforts until you can effectively deal with the underlying emotional issues.
With or without the help of a therapist, I strongly suggest that you do a lot of self examination and positive affirmation. You have to come to a place of knowing that you can be an attractive person physically and still be safe. You have to know that it is a false belief to think that physical attractiveness is the reason a person is preyed upon; and you just continue to further traumatize yourself if you continue in the unhealthy behaviors of poor eating, lack of exercise and weight gain.
Develop a strong sense of self worth and be aware of your past and what triggers the feelings of helplessness in you now. Journaling can be an excellent tool for you as you work through the issues that lead you to seek out weight gain as a means of insulation from harm.
Medicine Net – Weight Loss: Emotional Eating
Suite 101 – Trauma and Weight Gain
Find Counseling – Effects of Child Abuse on Adults
Gift From Within – Secret Diet Disasters of Truama Survivors