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Obesity treatment – a psychological approach

SHA Wellness Clinic
February 10, 2015

We live on the speed society. We constantly demand more speed and we usually feel frustrated when something slows as traffic or Internet speed. It seems as if we had been used to living in a way that we hardly question and only a few do anything about it. It seems we are on a train with no stops.

We integrate the technological aspect to our metal/emotional world and thus it’s easy to fall into stress and chronic anxiety. We are less tolerant to frustration. This extra anxiety doesn’t allow us to enjoy the mental clarity we could have and make more mistakes. We don’t see the deep problem, just the superficial problem and again demand quick solutions.

When someone resorts to a health professional to lose weight, the physical and observable aspects are usually met. This is necessary but not enough sometimes. Some want to lose weight quickly without thinking what is impeding them to be on their ideal weight. This impediment is usually in their inner psychological world. They try different and varied diets, some of them achieve their objective and are able to maintain their ideal weight but some others can’t. What is the difference between them? The psychological aspects. There are usually emotional aspects behind overweight, which are not recognized and therefore not healed.

I refer now to an approach that explains and discusses the psychological message behind diseases by Joan Marc Vilanova.

“Overweight people often have feelings of fear and feel unprotected. In many cases they suffer emotional deprivation and sexual dissatisfaction. Food becomes a palliative for dissatisfaction, whatsoever. Overweight also promotes loneliness, boredom, sadness, rejection, sense of failure, helplessness, and negative ideas. The only effective diet is refraining from negative thoughts. Many times remorse is more fattening that the food you are eating, than the food itself. If you believe it is fattening, it for sure will be. Believe is create.”

As a psychologist I daily confirm an obvious truth: the more we like ourselves, the more positive and healthy things we do for our body and mind. The less we like ourselves, more negative things we do to our body and mind. This simple. When a person is in harmony with his/herself, it is more difficult for her/him to fall into self-destructive or harmful behaviour to him/herself or to others. The real harmony is incompatible with negativity.



If you decided to lose follow a weight loss program or an obesity treatment, congratulations! You are showing your interest on doing something healthy for yourself. My recommendation is to accompany the medical/nutritional treatment with a mental health treatment to treat those intangible but very real issues that can even boycott the basic treatment. At least do it if you felt identified with the above explained.


Different approaches are useful depending on the personal circumstances when loosing weight. From the expression of hidden emotions, which were blocking a healthy self-esteem, to learning relaxation and stress management techniques. Work is usually more efficient when both conscious and subconscious parts are involved, the big warehouse where memories and information are locked away.

We work attitudes, motivations, techniques to prevent relapse, expectations, beliefs, etc. with the conscious part. Different techniques such as abdominal breathing, progressive relaxation or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can help relax the anxiety that is causing the excessive intake. But we must remember that the conscious part is only 10-12% of the mind total content. The rest is unconscious mind. That’s why sometimes willpower (which resides on the conscious part) is not enough for some people to get their ideal weight.

There are techniques and procedures for the unconscious part that can work very well or at least catalyse and accelerate the process. One of them is the clinical hypnosis in which a person can access those “forgotten files” on a relaxation state and replace them for more constructive others. This technique has nothing to do with TV shows where the subject becomes passive at the mercy of the hypnotist. The person is conscious during clinical hypnosis, in a state of light sleep and many times, playing an active role on the process.

Creative visualization is a different technique in which the person makes use of the mental images to achieve their goals (for instance: visualizing he/she is has a virtual gastric band that helps him/her to eat the right amount or imagining how to get rid of negative thoughts that go out of his/her body on a liquid shape.)

It’s also important to analyse the stress factors around the patient’s life: Relationships that don’t work, jobs that take vital sense away instead of producing it, or limits with the intimates that need to be readjusted. Each case is singular and different and it is worth it to give a time to explore and improve the inner world. Your intern harmony will thank you (and therefore your body).


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