7 Psychological Reasons Keeping You From Losing Weight
Common knowledge states that to lose weight, that you have to use up more calories than you consume. That’s been the biggest factor in almost all weight loss programs, diets and fads. “Eat less, exercise more” is the Magic formula. And it works.
Most of the time. “Huh? What do ya mean ‘Most of the time’?” you may ask…
Well, there’s another factor, a BIG one! It’s rarely discussed but it has the ability to counteract all your exercise and dietary efforts. In the therapy world, we call it Secondary Gain.
I come across it fairly often with many of my clients. Secondary gain can be described as “a benefit gained indirectly from a certain behaviour or way of being”. A simple example of this might be a child who gets expelled from school (where they are being bullied) because they’ve been misbehaving. This child may LOVE school but the Secondary Gain is that they are able to avoid being bullied.
Secondary Gain can show up in many different forms, quite often without you even being aware of the way it’s playing out. And the reason you don’t know is because it’s all happening below the surface at a subconscious level.
Your subconscious works in mysterious ways. It is not logical or analytical. It can hold unconscious beliefs (aka: truths) you may not even be aware of. And what sucks is that those “truths” may not even be true! But if your subconscious thinks they’re true… then case closed. TRUTH!
As a hypnotherapist, I work with my clients at their subconscious level, so I see it all the time. What I’ve discovered is that when we are able to change those beliefs. You, the client, truly begins to move forward (these truths apply to many areas of life, not just weight loss) towards your goals.
So let’s take a look at what some of those “truths” can look like and where they could possibly come from.
1-Something That Someone Did To You
I typically label this as protective weight because the subconscious mind is trying to protect you from something. For some, excess weight literally serves as a shield. A barrier between them and the outside world. An example of this might be a woman who at some point in her life received unwanted sexual attention. The subconscious mind believes that if she is overweight, she will be protected from potential sexual abuse or harassment.
2- Something That Was Said To You (Or to yourself)
It is the “Label” to has become owned. An example of his might be an authority figure (e.g. mom, dad, doctor, older sibling) who says “You’re going to be fat just like your Uncle Bob!”.
Or in the case of Self-Talk the person who frequently tells him or herself that they are fat. That person is “owning it”. And subsequently giving their subconscious mind a goal which it will work towards.
3- Something You Saw
Imagine little Suzie who goes to the hospital with her mom to see her Grandma Bethel who is dying of cancer. Grandma has been sick for quite some time and has lost a LOT of weight, she’s a bone rack. Little Suzie’s mind isn’t mature enough to understand that Grandma is skinny/dying because she is sick. Her subconscious mind could easily decide that Grandma is dying because she is skinny. Another way to interpret that is: if you are skinny, you are dying. And the opposite end of that spectrum would imply that if you are fat you are healthy. Therefore her subconscious mind, in an effort to survive, keeps her overweight.
4- An Association With Another Person
This one happens less often, but it’s still very much possible. We’ll use little Suzie again, she overhears hearing her mom excitedly state “Oh, I love Auntie Laura! She is so fun to be around!”. Now, Suzie knows that Auntie Laura is fun to be around, but she ALSO knows that Auntie Laura is overweight. And if she wants to be loved (and fun to be around) then she will have to be overweight, just like Auntie Laura. Her subconscious mind doesn’t understand that the two traits are not dependent on each other.
5- Punishment of Self
This is when the Subconscious mind decides to be the judge AND the jury in one fell swoop. An example of this might be the Subconscious mind punishing someone for something it perceives they need punishment for. “I did this awful rotten thing, therefore I should be punished and so I will put on weight”. Nope, it doesn’t make sense! But remember, the subconscious isn’t logical.
6- Punishment of others
A tricky one to recognize and understand without providing an example. Let’s say we’ve got a pre-teen whose parent places high importance on physical appearance. That pre-teen could in a subconscious attempt to punish the parent through association by becoming overweight. “I’ll show you!”
7- Avoiding Other Issues
Sometimes it’s easier to dance around one problem instead of dealing with a bigger one. For example, someone who has severe social anxiety could benefit by remaining overweight when they decide that they’ll start dating after they lose the weight. As long as they hold onto that weight, they will never have to face their social anxiety issues.
If any of these seem to hit home with you and you feel you need help letting go of Secondary Gains or Self-Sabotage, that’s my specialty!
To learn more about the Weight Loss program offered through
Aligned Hypnotherapy Call 604-781-2035.