Just the other day one of my clients made a deprecating remark about an obese individual, it was critical, judgmental, and most unkind. I asked him, who also happens to be considerably over weight, if that’s how he viewed himself. After a little thought, his hesitant answer was, “I guess so.”
When you see an obese individual, or overweight people, what are your thoughts? Do you think of them as lazy, or careless about themselves? If you are even a few pounds overweight, do you judge yourself as harshly as you do others?
There are few problems people face in life that are so blatantly obvious as excess weight, and few whose problems are looked upon without compassion. The client mentioned above is among many of those who also have weight problems who make harsh judgments of others who share that burden; like society in general they make assumptions that other overweight people are simply gluttons deserving of disgust and ridicule. Yet do you know how many times and how many methods they have tried to lose that weight and keep it off?
Stop and think, are you in control of every aspect of your inner and outer life and all of your behaviors? Is there something you have been attempting to achieve and not yet succeeded?
All too few people understand the complexity of the physical mental and emotional issues related to obesity, and the struggle people have with extra weight and eating disorders. They seldom realize themselves how deep and complex their issues are; they think for the most part that they lack will power because staying on a diet or sticking with a sensible eating and exercise routine is more than they can manage for any length of time. I say this from my nearly 40 years of experience helping those who have been trying without success before they come to me to get in control of their eating habits and weight. People who look upon the obese despairingly have no insight into the nature and the depth of despair obese or even somewhat overweight people feel when they have a hard time losing or keeping off those extra pounds. It would be good for everyone to become acutely aware of the fact that if it was simple and easy to overcome weight problems everyone would be slim and trim.
We are so weight conscious in our society, that even a few extra pounds on their bodies makes people uncomfortable, physically mentally and emotionally and often times socially. It impacts self-esteem, often causes social withdrawal, even sexual problems and loads of deprecating self talk. Obesity seriously impacts the person’s ability to get about and ultimately damages their health. And they are often unable to get the respect they are due, or even a job they are qualified for especially when competing with a slim individual. Prejudice comes in many forms.
Eating primarily for health’s sake and for looking and feeling ones best isn’t all that common. How many people actually do just that consistently?…even slim people, least of all in a culture where food is a form of entertainment and a way for people to relate to each other; to show love, to be hospitable, to comfort etc.
Yes, there are many people who are health and fitness conscious: People with weight problems are just as concerned about all that. However, there are issues that drive them to eat too much, eat junk food or eat for the wrong reasons; just as there are motives that drive your own behaviors good and bad.
Common sense and knowledge of nutrition are all too easily overridden by unconscious needs and the stresses in their daily lives that all too many people don’t know how to cope with. Food is used as a coping strategy more often than alcohol and drugs. Convenience foods, usually the empty calorie laden and least healthy fit into the fast paced lifestyles of many people fat or thin these days; too cheap and too easy to resist for too many, even though they know better.
I am dismayed by the number of people in the health care field who are extremely overweight or obese, for every day they care for patients experiencing the results of poor diet and excess weight. It’s in their face as it were. I see ads on TV for hospitals and for drugs promoted by heart and other health care specialists who are themselves overweight! Is this an oxymoron? What message is coming through? Ought not those in the health profession to be good examples for their patients? Ought it to be criteria for those who administer advice to be required to follow it themselves? Oh I know saying this I’m stepping on a mine field of controversy, however while saying it I’m fully aware of the fact that as human beings professionals are just as subject to the same life challenges, difficulties and stressors as the ones they serve, and in many cases to a greater extent. They need understanding and the right kind of help too.
I created my Weight Control Seminar (WCS) and hypnotherapeutic processes for those whose struggle has become untenable and who are seeking solutions to the puzzle of their predicament; they need a different more effective and more comprehensive approach, one that treats them as whole person, not a mindless body to be weighed and made to live a life of deprivation, of counting calories and points and still feeling hungry; or sold special diet drinks and prepared food, to have their stomachs stapled and bypassed, or their jaws wired shut, and risk all kinds of complications from prescription medication and over the counter pills that only disappoint and frustrate more. They are tired of dieting and being told to change their lifestyle. It just doesn’t work! They’ve done it all. They know how to lose weight….they’ve lost and regained weight so many times they feel like failures. In truth it’s the diet industry and other common approaches that have failed them. Some just give up, it’s just too hard. It makes me angry and extremely frustrated for them.
I wish those who don’t have weight problems and don’t understand that struggle would also take my WCS. It’s an eye opener and profoundly moving and mind altering experience for even the most experienced weight watcher and even for those who work in diet and medical weight loss centers of every kind: Also for therapists who work with people with eating disorders and weight problems; many have come into hypnotherapy with me and attended my WCS for personal reasons and learned far more effective ways to their own and their client’s ideal weight and health
Although there is more awareness now than there has been for ages about the psychological causes of obesity, the standard approaches fail miserably because the myriad issues are not being addressed and resolved on all levels of consciousness; they lack an understanding of the subconscious and its motivations, and how the conscious and subconscious interact. A lot of what is offered are simple behavior modification techniques, or talk therapy. Not enough or good enough! We can’t talk issues away any more than we can permanently diet away the myriad causes for overeating, eating the wrong things, or even for being overweight.
So the next time you see an overweight or obese person, or if you are overweight and see your reflection, or think about your weight concerns, be more understanding, be more compassionate, be more aware of the fact that all behavior is motivated, and some motivations are very deep and complex, and there may be many of them, and you don’t know what they all are consciously, and you don’t know how to change them or you would have, wouldn’t you? And you and those who share your struggle are not failures, or lazy, or careless. You and they are people in one of life’s most challenging struggles, and need a better and different approach to end it once and for all, without it being a struggle in itself.
Just know that when we get the conscious and subconscious working as a team and we work directly and skillfully with the subconscious through hypnosis to help it develop new ideas and associations, to heal psychological wounds, resolve issues on the root level, when you learn how to cope with stress healthfully food can go into its proper context in life and eating sensibly becomes natural and easy and you can enjoy food without guilt.
Until you take the necessary and appropriate steps to overcome your problem/s, be non judgmental and less critical; look deep inside yourself for your own motivations, for your attitudes about yourself and your behaviors, and about someone else being overweight or obese, or having any difficulty for that matter.
What is your personal struggle? Does it show itself to others as readily as excess weight? Actually people express so many of their inner conflicts in subtle and often overt ways without consciously being aware of it. Think about how you might be dong just that with some form of self-expression.
What are you doing about your own issues? If they were as obvious to you and others as an obese person’s, what would they look like? How do you communicate your personal problems? Do you confide in others, do you complain, do you try to hide them even from yourself?
Be kind to yourself, and be as kind to and about others as you would want them to be toward you. When you look upon others with respect for their humanness, with empathy and understanding it will show on you, it will emanate as an aura of compassion that adds beauty to your whole persona, whether you are fat or thin and anything in-between.
TTFN all the best, always from Elaine