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Excess Weight: Are Stress, Past Traumas and Trapped Emotions to Blame?

Excess Weight: Are Stress, Past Traumas and Trapped Emotions to Blame?

We all know about emotional eating, the need to eat for comfort, or if we are sad or angry.

But did you know it often goes deeper than that?

There has been a lot of research into why we over eat, and why people are often unable to lose weight or having lost the weight, it goes straight back on.

When dealing with immediate emotions such as being dumped by a partner, falling out with a friend, being bullied or having issues with our boss it is evident that we are comfort eating. However, there often deeper reasons.

Emptiness and missing aspects of our lives

Often people who are lonely, or who feel unloved, unsupported or undervalued will find it impossible to lose weight. Their eating fills a void.

It is unfortunate that the foods usually craved are the feel good foods, the ones that generate feelings of pleasure. This usually involves sugar and fat. Also, cakes, muffins, cookies, pasta, pizza are all made from wheat, which contains gliadin, an opiate which binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and triggers excessive appetite.


It becomes difficult to function without these feel good foods as we experience withdrawal, in addition to which the void in our lives is not fulfilled.


So often when working with my larger clients the inability to lose weight correlates with physical or emotional trauma. On occasion, there can also be trauma during the parents’ lives before conception, or of the mother during pregnancy.

It can be viewed that the subconscious, sometimes referred to as the inner child, is seeking protection.

The excess weight provides physical protection against abuse. It has the added protection of making the person unattractive and can relate to childhood sexual abuse.

Primitive, Instinctive Reaction to Stresses

Our primitive, reptilian or automatic brain can feel our daily stress and tries to interpret the cause. It can associate the stress with physical dangers, famine or threats from the elements such as winter cold.

To deal with the perceived threat of hunger or cold it will respond by slowing the metabolism and increasing appetite leading to fat storage. The extra fat would have been essential for the survival of our ancestors.


In light of the above, it becomes apparent that we need to resolve these past traumas and emotional stresses to lose weight and keep it off.

So, how can you do this?


Bringing awareness to your emotions is a great start. Acknowledge what triggers you and work to let it go.

Look for areas of stress in your life and make changes to address that stress, or at least put in place a plan to make the necessary modifications, whether it is a change of job, to resolve relationship issues or release past traumas. Having a light at the end of the tunnel can be very beneficial.

Seek Help

Some therapies and healing modalities can help.

It is important to be sure that you feel comfortable and can connect with the person you choose. Some therapists and healers offer a free introductory session, a chance to meet before committing to a full session. This is an excellent idea as there is nothing worse than starting a session and 5 minutes in you are sitting there thinking I don’t want to be here!!.

Having a team of people to help is also a good idea, drawing on whichever approach is needed at the time. You may see people for a while then someone else, then maybe go back to the first, each assisting you with a particular issue.

You may want to consider the following:

Talk therapies such as:

  • Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
  • Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

Energetic work, including:

  • Emotional freedom techniques (EFT)
  • Reiki and Chakra balancing, energy healing
  • CranioSacral Therapy or Bowen therapy

In summary

However you decide to deal with your stresses and emotional issues or traumas, remember that this a process, not a one-session instant fix.

The process can be complicated as you work to bring changes to your life, release your emotions and stresses, and reprogram long-standing habits and beliefs.

Stick with it and you will ultimately become less reactive, happier more whole and most importantly be able to lose the weight and keep it off!

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This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.