"Overweight is another good example of how we can waste a lot of energy trying to correct a problem that is not the real problem. People often spend years fighting fat and are still overweight. They blame all their problems on being overweight. The excess weight is only an outer effect of a deep inner problem. To me, it is always fear and a need for protection. When we feel frightened or insecure or "not good enough" many of us will put on extra weight for protection.
To spend our time berating ourselves for being too heavy, to feel guilty about every bite of food we eat, to do all the numbers we do on ourselves when we gain weight, is just a waste of time. Twenty years later we can still be in the same situation because we have not even begun to deal with the real problem. All that we have done is to make ourselves more frightened and insecure, and then we need more weight for protection.
So I refuse to focus on excess weight or on diets. For diets do not work. The only diet that does work is a mental diet---dieting from negative thoughts. I say to clients, 'Let us just put that issue to one side for the time being while we work on a few other things first.'
They will often tell me they can't love themselves because they are so fat, or as one girl put it, 'too round at the edges.' I explain that they are fat because they don't love themselves. When we begin to love and approve of ourselves, it's amazing how weight just disappears from our bodies.
Sometimes clients even get angry with me as I explain how simple it is to change their live. They may feel I do not understand their problems. One woman became very upset and said, 'I came her to get help with my dissertation, not to learn to love myself.' To me it was so obvious that her main problem was a lot of self-hatred, and this permeated every part of her life, including the writing of her dissertation. She could not succeed at anything as long as she felt so worthless."