"What are you weight-ing for?
Uncovering the Hidden Reasons for Weight Gain
by Randall K. Holmes, ACH, CtHA
"Recently talk-show host Oprah Winfrey revealed her renewed battle with weight. Despite having access to personal trainers, nutritionists, and dieticians Oprah continues to struggle with weight. Anyone who has gone through “yoyo” dieting, weight-loss and then regained the weight understands her situation. However, what most people do not realize concerns the effect of past conditioning that reinforces the extra weight.
Most people who have a weight problem acknowledge that they are “emotional eaters”. It is well-known that emotional eating is triggered when we are experiencing uncomfortable emotions. Boredom, loneliness, anxiety and other stressful feelings often trigger a comfort food eating response. Weight is not only about the number of calories you eat, but about the emotions you carry. If we struggle with our emotions we most often struggle with our weight as well.
People often over-eat when feeling uncomfortable emotions. We do this because food creates a metabolic change in our bodies that changes our blood chemistry, which then leads to a change in brain chemistry. The result is that food makes us feel differently. Over a period of time this cycle of – feel bad, then eat, then feel differently - becomes a subconsciously programmed response. A lot of weight-loss approaches, such as hypnosis, attempt to break-up this pattern of conditioned responses.
However, weight gain is not always about negative emotions. What is not as well known is that not all subconsciously triggered eating is about changing bad feelings directly. In some instances weight can be about our subconscious acceptance of positive reinforcement buried in the past.
In NLP,(Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it is taught that behind every behavior there is a positive intention. Sometimes what started as having a positive intention or purpose in our past ends up moving us away from our currently desired state, like being at our ideal weight, for example. Weight issues often reflect past mental programming that no longer fits in with our current lives. However, we continue to live our lives ruled by past conditioning.
An often overlooked cause of over-eating and weight problems stems from forgotten past positive programming. For some people there has been a positive intention for gaining and maintaining weight.
Oprah Winfrey is a good example of this often overlooked cause for weight retention. There are two incidents in her life that have reinforced Oprah’s weight gain to fulfill a positive intention. And although these root causes are in her past, the programming remains as does the weight.
The first pivotal incident that reinforced Oprah’s over-weight conditioning concerns her teenage unplanned pregnancy. On a biography of her life, Oprah explained that being large and wearing big clothes helped her conceal a pregnancy from her strict father. So, early on being over-weight had a positive intention in Oprah’s life.
The second critical positive reinforcement of Oprah’s weight issue was centered on her strong desire to be in Steven Spielberg’s movie, “The Color Purple”. After trying out for a part in the movie, Oprah decided to go to a “fat farm” to lose some of her unwanted extra weight. However, when Steven Spielberg called to inform Oprah that he had a part for her in the movie, he told her not to lose an ounce. Oprah was given a part in the movie, and her weight was again positively reinforced.
We all have positive and negative issues that affect our weight. If you are struggling with your weight, or in any other area of your life, begin to look for your hidden re-enforcers. Change begins with understanding."
"Uncovering the Hidden Reasons for Weight Gain
Published: April 2, 2009, 11:29 pm