There was an interesting article in my newspaper, the “i”, the other day. The headline read “Just eating less and exercising ‘won’t cure obesity’ “. That in itself made me smile – to me it is obvious, but the latest findings of an extensive study are clearly headline material!

The article quoted that reputable publication The Lancet. Experts from US universities agreed that, even after actively losing pounds, biological mechanisms kick in that make it extremely difficult for previously obese people to stay a healthy weight.

It went on to quote Dr Christoper Ochner, who is assistant professor of paediatrics and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York. Dr Ochner said that, for those people with chronic obesity, “body weight seems to become biologically stamped-in and defended.”

He went on to say that few individuals ever truly recover from obesity, saying that rather they suffer from ‘obesity in remission’. “They are biologically very different from individuals of the same age, sex and body weight who were never obese.”

I think that is a really interesting phrase – “biologically stamped-in and defended” – and I agree. I would also agree that those who are obese (let’s say those who are holding on to excess weight) are very different from individuals who were never obese. And I suppose it is biological – but I would also suggest that there is more to it than that.

My own research and practical experience show that, frequently, there are very real underlying emotional reasons for people holding on to excess weight. It could be childhood abuse or bullying at school; it could be a broken relationship or even a pregnancy that was terminated. In all cases, the person concerned builds layers of protection or comfort – and no amount of eating less or exercising will shift that!

The approach I take is to uncover the real root causes: is it, perhaps, one of the reasons I mentioned above, or does it go back even further, to a past life? That is far more common that you would think. If someone has starved to death, and passed with the thought, “I’ll never go hungry again,” – that is a powerful statement to bring into the next life, albeit at an unconscious level. I have worked with several clients for whom that was exactly the scenario, and they find that they lose their obsessive craving for food when that past life trauma has been laid to rest. Or maybe there is a spirit passenger with a sweet tooth – that, too, is more common than most people think. Again, once the spirit passenger has been released, the craving for sweet foods seems to evaporate, allowing the person to change their eating habits.

And, of course, talking to that excess weight is very revealing – it knows what is role is, even if the person at a conscious level has forgotten or blocked out the root cause. Once we know exactly what the issue is, and have resolved that – at whatever level – then generally the excess weight is happy to go: its job is done, it is no longer needed.

So yes, body weight is “stamped-in and defended” – but not, I would suggest, in the way that the experts are stating. I would say that the “stamping-in” and “defending” is at a deep, unconscious level, and that it can be accessed and resolved, allowing people to let go of their excess weight and move on with their lives.