It’s easy to think that obesity and overweight are simply affected by the amount of food you consume and your activity levels. Yes, behavioral issues play a significant role in forming obesity, but one should never underestimate the role of psychological factors.
Whether you like to admit it or not, everything starts from the head, and if the mindset is out of tune or not strong enough, it’s relatively easy to fall into the traps of unhealthy choices and habits.
In this article, we’ll look at psychological aspects that have possibly played their part in leading you to obesity and how fixing these factors can help you fight the overweight and, who knows, maybe win the battle without opting for weight-loss surgery.
Make Peace With Your Past
You may be thinking, “what has the past to do with my current obese situation?” but instead of trying to put out the fire and deal with consequences, it’s wiser to start fixing the situation by targeting the roots.
As a child, we tend to take up the habits, behavioral patterns, and more from our parents and family members. We are very open to taking everything that is said to us as the absolute truth, and that can stick with us for the rest of our lives.
Here are some of the psychological factors from childhood that can affect developing obesity:
- Strict rules and discipline – to support the child’s healthy development, a balance of guidance, nurturing, and discipline is optimal. However, if the control and discipline are getting overwhelming, such as aggressively forcing your child to eat their veggies and other green foods, this can lead to a mental block and rebellion against the rules, and therefore, against the foods.
No wonder children start eating junk food and sweets as a sign of protest, and in an environment where they feel suffocated by eternal rules, their rebellion and emotional soothing come from food. These childhood methods of “escaping from reality” stick with us for a lifetime. That’s why even as an adult, we are inclined to reach for food to soothe the pain, as we’ve learned to as a child.
- Poor body image – as mentioned before, our earliest experiences stay with us and become the foundation of how we see ourselves in the world. Bullying by cruel kids at school, name-calling by parents, and other humiliating moments can all feed into forming an unhealthy, unlovable, and destructive body image.
If these imposed core beliefs about being ugly, fat, and unattractive rule how you see yourself, obesity can become a label that defines and certifies self-identity. In this case, once again, you start to search for consolation from food.
- Trauma – unfortunately, terrible things can happen, and the initial shock and a wave of chaotic emotions are something one just can’t prevent. Often during the most challenging times, people tend to alleviate their feelings and pain with food that has already been proven, since we were children, to make us feel better.
- Neglect – the feel of neglect can come quite quickly to a child whose parents are always busy with work, lack adequate parenting skills, or struggle to feed a large family with little to no money. These children learn to fill the void of recognition, love, and attention with food.
- Abuse – whether it’s emotional, physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, it’s difficult for a child, or for anybody, to cope with it. And as a child, you’re not aware of other soothing solutions than eating –– it is seen as a treat, it makes you feel good, and it tastes fantastic too.
This list can go on and on. As you can see, the roots of obesity can go back to your early childhood or teenage years.
Take a minute right now before moving on to the next chapter, and travel back to your earliest memories. Think about whether a specific event –– kids bullying you at school, friends calling you names, or parents forcing you to eat something –– and try to remember how did that make you feel.
Go back to the roots and try to understand the circumstances. Of course, it’s 100 times easier to say it than actually do it, but forgiving these moments and these people, and forgiving yourself for suppressing those emotions could be the first step of you crawling out of that hole and starting to see life from a better, more positive perspective.
“Spring-Clean” Your Present
After you’ve finished making peace with your past, or at least made the first steps towards it, it’s time to look at your present self.
First of all, think about all the people you are surrounded with. How are they like? What are they doing? What are their habits? How is their attitude towards life? What are they eating?
As the motivational speaker Jim Rohn has said so aptly, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So if your closest friends and family members are also struggling to eat healthily, don’t exercise much, whine, think negatively, rather binge eat and sit on the couch most of their days, this is 100% affecting your life.
Another thing to take a closer look at is your overall environment. If you have a secret sweet stash box full of candies and some of the fast-food chains are under your Uber Eats app’s favorite sections, then this environment does not support you to make healthier picks in your everyday activities either.
So here’s a harsh but necessary truth –– if you are serious about changing your life and getting rid of the overweight, spring-clean your home of all the unhealthy things, and have a serious, eye to eye talk with your closest people. If you’re taking on the challenge of changing your lives together, it’s much easier to stick to it successfully.
Keep Your Head Up For the Better Future
As you have healed your past and made necessary adjustments in your current environment, you have cleared the ground for take-off for a better and healthier future.
Remember that without making peace with your childhood memories, with triggers that caused you to search for comfort and consolation from food, it’s impossible to have a better present, especially a better future.
Just know that the people who may have hurt you in the past, who said evil things to you, who called you names, who made you feel even a little less important or significant than you are, just know that they were wrong. Most critics don’t hate you. In fact, they hate themselves because you’re a reflection of what they wish to be, or they just want to put other people down so they could feel better themselves.
Keep your head up, know that you are essential and worthy of the best, and keep pushing to pivot your life for the better. If you happen to need any help with finding the right diet or exercise plan, or just need moral support that helps you put on the right track mentally to overcome your obstacles, leave us a message. We’ll shortly get back to you with the best possible action plan and a team of experts!