The Symbolic Meaning of Fat
Many people who join Solutions claim that they know why they overeat. While knowing is the first step, you need to follow though and explore these reasons in a deeper way.
For example, if you develop an insight that the only reason you are eating is because you are bored, you have only taken the first step in developing an understanding of your overeating problems. First, you need to explore why you are bored, what makes you feel bored, whether the boredom is a cover-up for other feelings, and what makes you stay in a boring situation. Next, you need to understand why you choose to overeat when you feel bored. Only then can you get to the root of the problem.
Consider, then, that there is a difference between the symbolic meaning of food and the symbolic meaning of fat. In the last article I provided a partial list of the meaning of food; here follows a partial list of the symbolic meaning of fat.
1. Fat as non-verbal communication of seemingly unacceptable emotional expression, e.g., “I’m angry.” “I’m hurt.” “I hate you.” “I’m in pain.”
2. Fat as a social barrier, communicating the desire to be left alone to avoid a range of social interactions.
3. Fat as a demonstration of power and control, e.g., “I refuse to look the way you want me to look.”
4. Fat as a means of maintaining the status quo and avoiding the fear and anxiety- producing challenges of, for example, moving up the corporate ladder, applying for a better job, leaving a bad relationship and seeking new relationships, and taking risks.
5. Fat as a way of communicating that one should approach with minimal expectations, e.g., “don’t expect too much of me because I am fat and lazy as you can plainly see.”
6. Fat as a protective barrier against sexual overtures in order to avoid feelings of guilt and shame, vulnerability, and exposure. Essentially, it is a way to avoid intimacy in a culture which is certain to reject the obese.
Obesity, especially in women, has reached epidemic proportions. It is little consolation to tell a compulsive eater to “reduce your caloric intake” and “all you need is motivation and will power”. Now that so much more is known about the causes of obesity and compulsive eating disorders, it is important for you who suffer from such problems to explore new avenues, and not close yourself off to the possibility that there are hidden psychological issues that lie at the root of your eating problem. Only then will you be able to free yourself from the tyranny of compulsive eating once and for all.