Unfortunately we live in an age where magazines and other forms of media regularly announce “miracle” diets and young women (and increasingly men) often feel pressured into feeling unhappy about their bodies. Not only are diets significantly ineffective, but there are serious physical and psychological health issues around dieting.

The flaws of dieting are well documented, yet many people still try them again and again and get into a vicious and unhealthy cycle. They seem to be desperate to lose the weight and prepared to take a chance on another type of diet in the hope that the results will be different than the last one.

Some people will go to a local weight management club, because they say it keeps them motivated and / or they know that they will feel ashamed if they put weight on at the weekly weigh in. I would appeal that motivation needs to come from within for it to be effective long term. People tend to lose weight for a while using this method, then the weight comes back on again and they may even find themselves heavier than before.

Other people go to a medical doctor or to “health” food stores and receive slimming pills (and all the associated side effects) and again they lose weight for a while, but then the weight comes back which can lead to all kinds of negative emotions .

What is the solution then? The mass media and public health bodies in most countries have only really played lip service to the psychological aspect of people who are overweight and this is the crux of the problem. Perhaps there is a lack of sympathy or understanding in society for people who have a tendency to overeat?

Overeating is a symptom, not the cause! Just like an alcoholic may drink to drown his sorrows, people tend to overeat for a number of reasons. It can be the subconscious mind's way of dealing with bottled up emotions which have not been dealt with properly or it could have been a way of dealing with stress, boredom or some discomfort in life. I have found that people overeat for a multitude of reasons.

Getting to the root cause and resolving it makes having normal, healthy eating habits in the long-term without feeling a sense of deprivation possible. It makes it possible to break the cycle of dieting that only treated the symptom and not the cause.

Many clients who have seen me with the goal of weight reduction have been quite surprised to learn what their overeating was connected to and have gained so much by being able to finally deal with their bottled up emotions. They have also been surprised to find that getting to a healthy weight and staying there was much easier than they had expected.