I recently attended an excellent conference in Sydney. It was the ‘International Congress of Obesity’ and I spent 3 days listening to a variety of guest speakers from all over the world. There were some fascinating topics covered, but one that really ‘stood out’ for me was a presentation by Mr Mike Curley. He totally changed the dynamics of the conference by taking our minds away from the physiological side-effects of obesity and instead explored the emotional reasons as to why obesity may occur in the first place. Think about somebody you know very well who is overweight – can you perhaps identify a reason why from the list below?
The psychological reasons for weight gain:
There are 2 main reasons: They revolve around protection issues and acceptance & love
BEING FAT FOR PROTECTION
- Being fat protects me from the scarcity of life i.e. ‘I don’t have enough so I need to hang onto everything’
- Being fat protects me from others i.e ‘ the bigger I am, people won’t push me around’, ‘ the bigger I am, the more people are scared of me’, ‘ the bigger I am, the more I don’t feel the pain of abuse’
- Being fat protects me from myself i.e. ‘ no one wants me anyway’ which is indicative of self pity / defeated/ self punishment
- Being fat protects me from danger i.e. ‘ the world is a dangerous place where anything can go wrong if I am not careful. I need protection’.
BEING FAT TO GAIN ACCEPTANCE & LOVE:
- Being fat gets me attention ‘ poor me, I’m so fat’…helps to gain pity
- Being fat helps me to please others i.e. ‘ eating my mother’s / spouse’s food helps me to please others
- Being fat helps me to fit in i.e. ‘ my spouse is fat, so am I’
- Being fat helps me to feel loved i.e. ‘if you love me when I am fat, then you must really love me’.
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