“I couldn’t believe it,” my client, Kate (not her real name) exclaimed, “I actually craved a salad last week! My mom was shocked. She asked me what happened because she’s been trying for years to get me to eat healthier.”

Kate is certainly not alone when it comes to her lifelong weight battle. The weight loss industry has grown to $20 billion a year. Losing weight has become a lifestyle obsession, particularly with women. However, despite this growth in the industry, studies show that two-thirds of women in the United States area overweight, with half of those women being obese.  Why is the number of overweight people increasing when the weight loss industry is booming and we have more healthy food and exercise options than ever before?

Weight loss and the fabricated solution

Most of us know that to lose weight we need to eat better and exercise more. We know what we “should” be doing, so why are so few people doing it?  Because they can’t! No one would continue to binge or eat something that they knew was harmful to their body if they could stop. Something is unconsciously motivating these negative and even harmful behaviors.

We understand this with other forms of addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, but society does not understand or sympathize with food issues in the same way.

The weight loss industry supports this fabricated ”solution” by displaying “before” and “after” shots of women, as if this food, beverage or program is all you need to lose weight. The reality is, the success of these diet and exercise programs are much smaller than we realize. If this weren’t true, then we wouldn’t have an increasing number of people gaining weight while the industry continues to flourish.

Sadly, when diets and weight loss programs continue to fail people often feel defeated and more ashamed, blaming themselves and their lack of “self will” for the failure. This often leads to even more “comfort eating,” which can lead to more self loathing, making it even harder to lose weight the next time round.  The weight loss industry is reaping the rewards of people’s failure to lose weight.

In order to lose weight and keep it off,we need to address the emotional and psychological association we have with food and exercise. This association is happening unconsciously. Again, no one consciously chooses to struggle with food and exercise. If they could do everything they should be doing they would already be doing it.

Your unconscious programming with food

Our association with food was initiated during our childhood and upbringing. What we experienced then and the years that followed shaped and influenced our beliefs about food, exercise and ourselves.

For example, for some people food was the only way, or a significant way, that their parents express love and care for them. For these people, food has a strong unconscious association with love and care. Who would give up love so that we can lose a few pounds? Many people are trying to lose the weight so that they can “Crestor.” This places them in an unconscious double bind.

While the weight loss industry continues to focus only on food and exercise, it overlooks deeper emotional issues that could be the root of the problem. For example, sexual abuse can lead to an unconscious desire to gain weight to protect one’s self against becoming prey or a victim.  Oprah Winfrey is an example of this; weight is gained for “protection.” Additionally, a lot of sexual abuse takes place during childhood years at a time when the body is thinner. An unconscious association can form between being thin and being vulnerable. To be thin is unconsciously considered “dangerous.”  And no one is willing to be a victim of attack just to lose a few pounds.

Our unconscious beliefs control most of our behaviors. In order to experience true change, whether it’s weight loss or anything else with which you struggle, it needs to take place in your unconscious where it all started.

This is how Kate finally managed to change her eating habits. By using Hypnotherapy and NLP (Neuro – Linguistic Programming), we uncovered hidden childhood issues that negatively impacted her eating habits and prevented her from losing the weight she desired.

“All this time I thought I was on the wrong diet or that my weight was just genetic,” Kate reflected.  “Who knew it would boil down to my own self protection.”