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The Hidden Reasons You Remain Overweight

DonutsYou know what to do to release weight, right? 

Eat nutritious foods, stick to reasonable portions and move your body.

Sounds so simple.

But if you’re like most people, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not.

Because releasing weight permanently isn’t about what you “do.” It’s about how you feel. And how you feel in your conscious mind isn’t necessarily how you feel in your subconscious mind. And it’s your subconscious mind that counts.

Your Conscious Thoughts Won’t Get You Slim

Your conscious mind guides many of your choices but your subconscious mind influences the outcome of everything. That’s why some people can know all the health risks of obesity and unhealthy foods and not change their behavior. The thing is, despite how desperately someone wants to be slim, on a subconscious level they’re receiving some kind of benefit by staying overweight.

Benefit? Yes… the fear of being thin sometimes feels stronger than the fear of staying overweight. So you may actually benefit in some way by not releasing the weight.

Here are five common benefits to staying heavy that I’ve heard from clients over the years. Perhaps you can relate to some of these stories:

1) I Keep My Identity

Overweight since childhood, Danielle felt excited–and also unsettled–whenever she went down a dress size. She knew who she was as the “fat” girl and so did everyone else. She couldn’t relate to becoming the slim girl. It felt easier to stay with what felt familiar.

2) I Protect Myself from Unwanted Sexual Attention

Mary experienced panic attacks when she started releasing weight. As she became slimmer, she covered her body with the same oversized clothes she wore when heavy. Sexually abused by her father during her childhood, Mary felt uncomfortable when men looked at her. It felt easier to stay safe and unseen in a heavy body.

3) I Stay Connected to My Family

Teri’s parents and siblings were obese. They didn’t understand why Teri joined a gym and began buying organic foods. She felt sad that the family she loved wasn’t interested in living a healthier lifestyle. The slimmer she got, the more distant she felt from them. It felt easier to stay heavy and feel close to her family.

4) I Don’t Want To be Seen as a Failure.

Gloria yo-yo dieted for years. Even though her family and friends supported her each time, she cringed at their encouragement. She hated that her failures were on public display. She wanted to release the weight but the thought of everyone witnessing her fail again kept her stuck. It felt easier to stay heavy and not try at all.

5) I Can Hold on to My Comfort Foods

Since childhood, Betty used food to soothe her feelings. Huddled in her bedroom closet while her parents’ fought, chocolate donuts distracted her from hearing their screams. Food was the only way she calmed, numbed and rewarded herself. The thought of what she had to give up to release the weight terrified her. It felt easier to stay soothed by her sugary comfort foods.

Do any of these stories sound familiar?

Sometimes the benefits of staying overweight seem clear to you.

 And sometimes they lie within your subconscious mind, waiting for you to uncover them. Either way, when you find the courage to dig deep and be honest with yourself, you open the door to letting them go.

Reflect on this question:

How do you think the extra weight on your body benefits you?
Please feel free to share below.

(Photo Credit: Sugar Donuts)

11 Responses


    when I was slimmer, I was a sex addict. If I’m overweight I won’t appear attractive to strange men. My partner is overweight so its easier to join him.

  2. Alisha

    I may not like who I am when I’m heavy, but do I do of I don’t like who I am when I’m thinner either? I fear that I will continue to find problems with myself.

  3. Soothing myself with comfort food keeps me safe. And I don’t mean from male attention or the memory of past traumas, I mean it quite literal. I have a lot of anxieties around feeling safe from things like illness, wars, catastrophic weather and eating numbs these anxieties to a more comfortable level. This was not too much of an issue when I was younger because I have always liked healthy foods and have always been fairly active so while I was always a little overweight I didn’t cross the line into obesity until my 40s. Since then my activity levels have decreased sharply and my portion size (since I moved to the US) have increased. On a rational level I know of course that food doesn’t keep me safe at all and may even contribute to some of the things I worry about but my subconscious mind is not about logic, is it? And I can’t tell you how tired I feel of it all 🙁

  4. Thank you all for sharing. Being aware of underlying fears and anxieties is an important first step in releasing them. Sometimes it helps to write down your thoughts and feelings as a way to gain mastery and new insights. Certain fears are hard to overcome on your own. Please give yourself the gift of support and seek out a psychotherapist to help. To find someone in your local area, use this therapist finder link at http://www.psychologytoday.

    Much love,

  5. b.w.s.

    Over the past 3 years I gained all my “lost” weight back. But just recently I found out the reason. I was attacked at my work, shamed, and humiliated. (I eventually quit) I put on all the weight to protect my body from emotional attack. I developed serious stomach issues that landed me in the hospital. I couldn’t eat without being in extreme pain. I was down to eating only chicken, fish and dairy. The only things I could eat without being in pain. Then I learned how to do a energy, chakra body protection. Along with the safety of not being attacked at work and the daily meditation has changed my life completely. My body added weight to protect me in the only way it could. I had added extra weight over my 3rd chakra, the stomach. Now I thank my body from trying to protect me and I know that I can release the extra protective fat layer a little at a time as my body feels safe. I can now eat again. What a blessing to not be afraid to eat and be in pain. Our bodies are wise and they always want to be in balance and health. I didn’t listen to my body until it nearly shut down. I needed to make serious changes in my life, and now that I have I am looking forward to being healthier and more in balance.

    1. Dear bws,

      Thank you very much for sharing. This is so helpful for people to read. It’s beautiful to hear how you recognized that your wise body was trying to protect you. And how powerful to thank your body for doing that! Energetically you did the clearing and cleaning necessary for a deep shift in your consciousness which resulted in a shift in your body.

      Thank you again for writing. You’ve offered hope to many.

      Much love,

  6. Bernie Bennett

    I’m sure there is something going on in my subconsciousness mind. I just don’t know what it is. I lost 87 of the 100 pounds I need to lose and I felt great. Then, when bicycling season ended in November, I became a couch potato again and have gained 30 pounds back. I hate every mouthful I eat but cannot control myself.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Bernie. When our subconscious mind takes over like that, we often need professional help to get to the root cause. I hope you’ll consider seeing a psychotherapist to help you with this. Blessings, Diane

  7. Steph

    How do you think the extra weight on your body benefits you?

    It’s a layer of protection from the world. I don’t want people to know that I’m secretly fit.

    I blend in.

    It gives me an excuse to hate myself.

    I can be lazy and relax.

    I’m connected to my mother.

    I’m compliant.

  8. Kirby

    I was always thin and healthy when I was younger I was also sexually and physically abused and because of this I made a lot of bad decisions when it came to men. Now I’m 51 60-70 pounds overweight and getting bigger. I’m also single and I think I stay overweight to stay unattractive to men so I don’t keep meeting men that are toxic. I’m okay with being single but I’m afraid to get healthy again and I feel miserable.

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