The Spiritual Yo-Yo Effect
Written by Sandra Cooze
Emotional trauma and weight issues – could there be a connection? Emotional trauma affects a person at their core. It rips through the heart and the soul. We try to make sense of it, try to rationalize it and figure out why this had to happen.
What do people with emotional trauma do? They compensate. They try to find a way to cope with the emotional pain. They build protective walls around themselves. They hide from society. They cut themselves for temporary relief of the emotional pain. They drink, they take drugs, or worse - take their own life. They stop eating and become anorexic. They start eating and become obese.
People hide emotional pain because it shows weakness. They don’t talk about abuse because they think they somehow allowed it to happen or are afraid they are blamed. Most people don’t talk about their problems just because they are afraid of what another person may think. They would rather suffer in silence than find someone who can help.
Before I was sexually assaulted I felt and looked good and essentially had a joy for life. But all this changed after my traumatic experiences. I secluded myself and gained weight. I stopped caring about how I dressed, stopped using make-up and without realizing it, made myself invisible.
Oftentimes, we don’t even realize that our weight is our protection. We begin to feel unhappy with ourselves, even loathing the way we look. So on top of having created a protective shield, we shame ourselves for looking like this and in turn usually gain even more weight or become depressed on top of it.
For the past 20 years I have tried to lose weight without much success. Then one day not too long ago I began to wonder why I never managed to lose weight and keep it off. Suddenly, I realized how safe I felt. I did not like the way I looked in the mirror, but I felt safe. That was the moment I understood that my weight was my protection. The yo-yo effect suddenly had a whole new meaning.
How can extra weight help heal emotional wounds? The body is self-healing. When you scrape your arm it generally starts bleeding – or in other words, becomes traumatized. It builds up a scab to protect the wound until the skin underneath is fully restored. If you ripped off the scab before the wound could properly heal, it would start bleeding again and new scab would form once more.
This can be seen as a type of yo-yo effect. A person who has experienced emotional trauma may gain weight as a form of protection to fully heal. Trying to lose this weight before the trauma healed will only cause the weight to come back because the wound is still ‘bleeding’ and needs protection. So if scab is the way of the body to heal itself physically, then weight gain can be one way for the body to heal itself spiritually and emotionally.
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Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for entertainment purposes only and based upon my opinions, unless otherwise noted. The information in this article is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice in part or in whole. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from my research and experience. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.