The Inner Battle of Losing Weight

How can you overcome the constant distraction of food and eating?

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How often have you heard the following advice?

  • Just cut down on what you are eating and exercise more.
  • Count calories, only eat so many points, only 'good' foods, and don’t sin too much.
  • Follow this diet, or that programme.
  • Have this replacement drink, or take that pill.

The search to lose weight, and discover the right diet, can be an all-consuming and demoralising experience.

Your mind can get ‘full up’ of what you should and shouldn’t be eating, when you should and shouldn’t eat it, with you trying to muster up as much will-power as possible to resist temptation.

Add in to this daily routine the consciousness of your body, and the worry of what other people think of you, and there isn’t much room for anything else!

These were some of the experiences of the women I spoke with in my research regarding what it was like being them in their bodies, and their experience of trying to lose weight.

There is little or no space to figure out ‘why can’t I lose weight?’ and yet this is the key to the desired aim, and probably a question you have asked yourself many times.

I want to offer you an important reminder. That a way of life where you eat naturally can be found, and becoming a healthy body size can be achieved.

The Inner Battle

If you are struggling to lose weight then there is an inner battling raging with you; there is a part of you that is desperate to lose weight and there is also another part that needs food, to eat, or your current body weight to remain as it is, in order to fulfil a very important survival concern in your life.

It is not about the amount of will-power you have or have not got. It just isn’t that simple. Connecting with these parts, understanding what they are and working through them is the key.

You will have your own unique reasons why keeping the weight on, or putting it back on once you have lost it, is important. It will have a uniquely personal significance.

Exploring You Deeper

You need to understand the reasons at a deeper level, rather than grasping for explanations, like “I was bullied at school,” or “because both my parents worked and they made up for it with fast food treats,” for example.

No one else can tell you the meaning of these events for you, this is yours only. Your emotions, your words, your beliefs, and your experiences - amongst all your other life experiences.

There is a need to explore your inner world, as your psychological motives and bodily actions are interrelated. Your body and its actions are expressing something, so there is a need to delve into what that message is.

What Kind of Discoveries Could You Make?

  • Eating may provide an escape from something. It may quell feelings of isolation and uncertainty, or serve to appease another’s needs.
  • It can also be a punishment, to relieve feelings of guilt, shame or failure.
  • Eating can help you temporarily move out of your physical body, which you may hate, or be afraid of.
  • The whole preoccupation with food and eating can distract you from other issues in your life; be it relationship issues, feelings of isolation, or fearing the limits of life.
  • It occupies you if you are struggling to know who you are or what you want out of life, and if you are needing to make tough decisions.
  • It can keep you away from unresolved life experiences and give you temporary security and love.

If you are struggling to lose weight, stop for a moment today, and look at your whole life: what’s happening inside you and what’s happening around you.

Directing yourself away from the distractions of food and eating, into other aspects of yourself, might just illuminate what else is happening within you, and lead you to making different choices, and alternative decisions.


Dr Sandra Westland

Sandra is a UKCP registered Existential Psychotherapist and Counsellor. She has nearing 20 years of experience as a therapist helping people through various difficulties. Her research interests include weight issues, body image, eating disorders and trauma. As an advanced practitioner of Inner Child Therapy, she works with trauma of various kinds experienced from childhood. Sandra teaches, lectures and runs workshops across Europe.