The root cause of unwanted extra weight in most people is the lack of using effective strategies to deal with life issues and stresses. People usually see unwanted weight as a primary problem; however, the extra weight itself is frequently a secondary issue and the effect of other problems. When people have a weight problem, what they usually focus on is how to lose that weight instead of finding out what caused them to have the weight problem in the first place. In a way, they routinely see only the surface problem and are oblivious to the root causes. Some eat as a way to deal with their daily or chronic stresses and the added weight in return would add to their stress. As a result, not dealing with the root causes will not fully address the weight issue.
What is surprising and appears counterintuitive is that sometimes the extra weight could actually be due to your dieting routines or programs. In fact, dieting can be bad for your mental and physical health, because when dieting, you are operating on a form of fear mode, not a peace mode. Dieting itself can create stress because when you think you are on a restricted diet, you feel deprived of what you want. When you feel deprived, continuation with the diet becomes a matter of tolerance, which after a while leads to frustrations which in turn can increase the temptation to binge and some people give up. Even if you carry on with tolerating the restriction, as soon as the restriction is off or the dieting program to period is complete, you will likely go back to your old ways of eating. This has been shown by data indicating that most diet programs don’t work; less than 5-10% of all dieters can keep their weight loss within one year of dieting, while more than half regain 30–65% of that lost weight, and the rest will have gained even more than what they started with. This is because the most determined dieters work hard to avoid certain foods while on a diet but as soon as they go off the diet they lose that motivation and regain weight and the yo-yo dieting pattern continues. Diet restrictions can cause weight fluctuations that will bring a host of related side effects that can affect your sense of mental and physical well-being.
It has been shown that if the weight problem is over 10-20 pounds or if the person has a BMI of more than 30, the extra weight could have been gained in response to some form of emotional threat we feel in our lives. This is because, in face of long-term threats, our body’s nervous system is designed to protect us by either making us numb towards the threats or by making us become physically bigger to feel safe and secure.
Everyone knows that the healthiest way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories or burn up more calories, and better yet do both at the same time. But in reality, eating food has become a coping mechanism to deal with daily stress for a lot of people. Most people will spend an enormous amount of energy fighting or running away from feeling uncomfortable. This is because they have never learned another strategy to resolve their issues or handle stresses. Sometimes, we think we are hungry and start binging and don’t even realize that we are stressed. And if we realize that we are stressed out, we don’t know any better way to deal with the stress. Either way, we gain weight which would become a new source of stress, to be added to the stresses that caused us to overeat in the first place.
Research shows that most adults with a history of yo-yo dieting feel dissatisfied with their lives and health in general. Dieting affects people’s self-confidence and they feel a sense of being out of control. If you have tried to lose weight repeatedly and have been unsuccessful, you may experience a sense of personal failure, hopelessness, guilt, humiliation, doubt, or frustration. However, it is important to know that you are not alone and not having lost weight or having regained weight should not be viewed as a personal failure — rather it should be seen simply as a sign that you do not have the right strategy. So, stop torturing yourself and instead make an informed decision to learn strategies to deal with the fundamental causes of your weight gain.