Are You Sabotaging Your Health?

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. - Alan Alda

I often encounter people who lose some weight, maintain that they really want to lose more weight and yet, do not seem to make the changes needed to reach their goals. Why would that be?

There can actually be many reasons, including that you really do not want to lose weight – on a subconscious level. There is a factor known as "secondary gain." This means that carrying extra weight offers you some benefit. Secondary gain often occurs on a subconscious level – in other words - you are unaware of the underlying issues. Others may be aware of their secondary gain but choose to deny it.

You might want to ask yourself the following questions and try to answer them honestly:

  • What are the benefits to me of being overweight or obese?
  • Am I using my weight as an excuse to avoid other issues in my life?
  • Do I have an emotional attachment to my weight?

We all tend to engage in internal conversations with ourselves on an unconscious level. “I want to lose weight, but I really don’t want to give up that dessert tonight.” “One bite won’t hurt me – after all, I deserve it.” “I am to tired so I won’t exercise today but will do it tomorrow.” “If I lose weight I will be noticed by others.”

We can all deceive ourselves into making unhealthy choices for what seem to be good reasons. It is important to become aware of your internal dialogues and to understand what is motivating you to have these internal debates. With increased awareness comes the ability to make change. Remember, you cannot change your weight until you change your mind!

Let me share with you some additional questions to ask yourself – and again, answer them honestly. These questions and answers can give you a better understanding of your weight issues and thus, with this increased awareness, the ability to make positive change.

The three top advantages for me being overweight are:

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.

The biggest fear I have of losing weight is:

  • Losing weight would force me to:

The thought of losing weight makes me feel:

  • If I were thin, my life would be:

The way I sabotage my weight loss efforts include:

  • I use food for:
  • I use my weight to deal with or avoid:
  • If I were thin, people would:

The most common reason that I give to people for being overweight is ________, but really, I know the reason is ___________________.

Now, answer the following questions:
The three top advantages to me of NOT being overweight include:

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.

People who are not overweight are:

  • If I lost weight, my family and friends would:
  • If I lost weight, how would I use food differently?
  • If I lost weight, I would have to give up:
  • If I lost weight, I would gain:

The message I would give to others if I reached my ideal weight is:

  • In my heart, I want to lose weight because:

Please try to do some soul searching and use these questions to help you dig a little deeper on your journey to becoming healthier in all ways!

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.