One day my friend I hadn’t seen for many years called. He was beaming with excitement. He dumbfounded me with the news he had just left the hospital after suffering heart attack. I remembered he suffered from obesity ten years ago, and I thought that he must be quite ill now. I told him I was happy his life was saved. And he replied that he was going to celebrate … his heart attack! He said he had no intention of getting rid of any extra pounds, because now he qualified for full disability benefits, and as he no longer needed to work, he could watch TV for days on end.
This case should be included psychology textbook in the hidden benefits chapter, why a person cannot get rid of fat. Frequently a person goes against great changes in his/her life, sabotaging opportunities in every possible way, because the goals of the subconscious mind are contrary to the conscious mind.
Secondary benefits can also lie at the root of diets’ vicious circle ; i.e. “diet– weight loss – stress – binging – weight gain – diet again.” Sometimes we are unconsciously afraid of all the changes that might come in our lives when we lose the excess weight, so we keep creating obstacles for ourselves. After all, being fat is an unpleasant but already experienced state. What if we can’t handle the increased attention that might come with our being more attractive? Or, we might be afraid of intimacy. Consequently we convince ourselves it is better to wear a fat armor, protecting us from sex, heart breaks and a dangerous world. In most cases, the choice is made unconsciously.
That’s why in my practice we first dig out the secret benefits that extra weight comes with. At the very beginning of this exercise, my puzzled clients always talk about the positive changes they expect as a result of fat loss, and then, as we go under the surface of conscious beliefs, many realize that, in fact, subconsciously they are afraid of this new life.
If you have been struggling with extra pounds for a while, you might want to check whether your fight has secondary benefits. You can do the following exercise: Find a quiet place and imagine that you have already lost weight once and for all. Visualize this in great detail and answer the questions below on a sheet of paper:
1. How is your day starting?
2. Who surrounds you and what do they say?
3. What do you do?
4. How do you look and how do you feel?
It is hard to get slim without having tuned into the subconscious and conscious parts of mind, and as Albert Einstein said: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” So, maybe it’s time to for a change?
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Author of Hollywood Body Method