Before discussing this topic, it’s important to note that excess weight and obesity are not the same. The difference lies in the Body Mass Index (BMI): a BMI of 25 to 30 indicates excess weight or pre-obesity, and over 30 indicates obesity.
Excess weight refers to having some extra body mass.
Signs of excess weight include:
- New folds on the body, a “double” chin, cellulite,
- Inability to tuck in the stomach,
- Areas that don’t warm up after intense physical exercise (stomach, buttocks, sides, thighs), etc.
Causes of excess weight:
- Genetic predisposition,
- Poor diet,
- Diseases of the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, and ovaries.
Obesity is a disease, a pathological accumulation of excess fat in organs, tissues, and subcutaneous tissue, posing a threat to health and life.
Signs of obesity:
- Snoring and sleep deprivation,
- Frequent high blood pressure,
- Discomfort in the back and knees,
- Constant increase in waist size and weight,
- Difficulty in leading an active life and engaging in sports,
- Development of cellulite,
- Persistent hunger.
Physiological causes contributing to obesity:
- Genetic disorders,
- Imbalance between calorie intake and energy expenditure,
- Liver, pancreas, and intestinal disorders,
- Bulimia (an intense sense of hunger). It’s noted that women are twice as likely to be obese as men.
Several types of obesity are recognized. Alimentary-constitutional type is related to predisposition and often occurs among family members. Hypothalamic type results from central nervous system deviations, particularly hypothalamus disorders – the brain section regulating the endocrine system. Endocrine type of obesity arises from endocrine system pathologies and is rare.
Psychosomatics of Excess Weight
In revealing the psychosomatic causes of excess weight, certain points should be considered.
Firstly, remember that the human body is a vessel for the Soul (the Soul is the content, and the body is the form). Hence, any disturbances in mental health eventually reflect negatively on the body’s condition.
Secondly, the word “weight” metaphorically means “status, position” (“to have weight in society”). Sometimes, people who strive to find their place in life start to gain weight.
Negative self-perceptions and self-esteem in relationships with others often affect a person’s weight.
Psychologists have found that sensitive, insecure people tend to gain excess weight. They typically harbor fear (of people, the future) and are characterized by being easily offended and imposing their will on others. They often have a hoarding desire (reflected in accumulating excess weight).
Psychological studies show that excess weight indicates disturbances in the sphere of feelings: eating becomes the only joy in life for such individuals.
A person with such an approach to food feels an inner emptiness that needs to be filled. Instead of filling their inner world with joyful emotions, they fill their stomach. But this only provides a temporary effect, as emotional emptiness cannot be filled with food. Gluttony continues.
If a person craves sweets, it indicates a lack of “sweetness in life” (joy in life).
Children’s craving for sweets usually points to a lack of love. Excess weight in children often appears as a desire to be noticed by loved ones (thinking they are unnoticed in the family).
Psychological Causes of Obesity
Alimentary type of obesity is linked to psycho-emotional hunger: a person lacks love, and physical nourishment weakens the pain of loss.
This psycho-emotional hunger with a constant desire to eat can lead to bulimia. This disease arises from a neuro-psychological disorder characterized by uncontrolled food intake.
The endocrine form of obesity is localized around an organ, as it’s connected to the endocrine glands’ diseases. The location of the organ and its metaphysical meaning can hint at the negative emotions causing this type of obesity.
It should be noted that exercise and diet don’t help with this type of obesity, directly pointing to its psychosomatic basis. It’s found that spiritually weak, unprotected, easily offended people usually suffer from endocrine-type obesity. This is because such people have weak protective psychological functions and lack understanding of the essence of events, leading to grievances.
Another factor of this obesity type can be living under the oppression of a close person (e.g., strong dependence on the mother). In this case, the person internally feels suffocated by powerlessness and externally “swells.”
Frequently, fat deposits speak of complexes related to one’s appearance.
If a woman gains weight, it might be because life requires her to be strong, like a man (since “strong” subconsciously associates with “big,” the woman starts to increase in size).
From birth, a child’s consciousness inseparably links satiety with fundamental sensations like security and love. Thus, a child gaining excess weight compensates for their lack.
Parents can also cause a child’s obesity: if they constantly offer food as a universal response to any expression of the child’s needs, or if a mother shows love depending on how the child eats (“eat, and I will love you”).
Overview of Psychosomatic Causes of Excess Weight and Obesity by Some Authors
According to Louise Hay, the underlying causes of excess weight include fear, the need for protection, an unwillingness to feel, vulnerability, self-denial, and suppressed aspirations.
Among the causes of obesity, she identifies hypersensitivity, fear and need for protection, hidden anger, and unwillingness to forgive.
In her table, Hay provides psychosomatic causes of obesity in different body parts. For example, arm obesity indicates anger due to rejected love, stomach obesity – anger in response to denial of spiritual nourishment and emotional care. Upper thigh obesity signals stubbornness and anger towards parents, while lower thigh obesity – childhood anger and resentment towards the father.
Psychologist Liz Burbo found that humiliations in childhood and adolescence often underlie these ailments. People with such psychological trauma fear repeating shameful situations, and the body finds protection in fat.
According to Burbo, sometimes excess weight acts as protection from people who use the individual (when a person helps everyone and is afraid to refuse help). Another scenario: being “squeezed” between two people, wanting to make them happy, forgetting oneself.
Sometimes, a person doesn’t want to be attractive to the opposite sex due to fear of rejection. Then the body simply fulfills their wish.
Dr. V. Sinelnikov also points to fear as the main reason for fat accumulation, symbolizing protection. He writes that people are so dissatisfied and hateful towards themselves that the body protects itself from such destructive emotions.
His practice revealed that hidden anger and unwillingness to forgive often cause obesity.
Sinelnikov also states that often the lack of love is compensated by food. Alternatively, food is perceived as a means of quick pleasure.
He debunks the myth that women gain weight after childbirth. In his opinion, the reason lies in the woman paying less attention and love to herself.
Anxiety about a child’s health often leads a future mother to eat heartily, as many subconsciously associate “abundant food with health.”
Paths to Healing
Many different ways and methods to heal from excess weight and obesity are offered today.
However, when speaking of healing a psychosomatic ailment, one should remember that the paths to healing, like the causes, lie within the person, specifically in their inner world.
To find one’s path to healing (and everyone’s path will be different from others), one must trace and analyze the thoughts and emotions they’ve lived with recently. Are they filled with Love or hatred, Trust in life or fear, Kindness or evil, Joie de vivre or depression, positivity or negativity, optimism or pessimism?..
By doing this inner work, you’ll come to realize that physical health is achievable if you live in Love for yourself and the surrounding world.
What does “loving oneself” mean? It doesn’t mean indulging oneself.
It means accepting oneself (with both good and bad sides) but striving to be spiritually and morally better. It means not “breaking oneself” for something or someone. If a person loves themselves, they will strive to develop themselves spiritually and take care of their body, as it’s the only one given.
And if a person loves themselves, they will treat others similarly: with acceptance and respect for other, equally unique individuals.
It seems that with these two fundamental conditions (the right attitude towards oneself and others), health and fitness are assured.