After multiple failed weight loss attempts many of us are left wondering “what is wrong with me?” Emerging science tells us that the better question is “what happened to me?”

We know that weight is complex and multi-factorial. One of these factors involves our early life experiences. New research highlights how maladaptive schemes resulting from early life experiences set up a deep need for using food to self-soothe thus driving overeating and binging.

Among study participants, overeating and bingeing behaviors served as self-soothing strategies when they experienced feelings of abandonment (the belief others will be unavailable or unpredictable in their support or connection); dependence/incompetence (the belief that one has failed, or will fail in important life areas of achievement); and subjugation (the belief that one must surrender control to others), as well as to quiet internalized Punitive Parent voices (inner dialogue that is self-blaming, punishing, and abusive that causes one to detach emotionally and reject help).

These responses can be deeply rooted and resistant to change. This means that for those affected weight loss coaching, brief therapy approaches, or even surgery are unlikely to be successful in the long run. This doesn’t mean that hope is lost however, as new trauma treatment approaches for deep healing show much promise in resolving the impact of negative early life experiences.

The bottom line is that there’s nothing wrong with you, but early life adaptations for managing stress and trauma may be impacting you negatively as an adult causing unwanted eating behavior to persist.

Deeper Understanding of Early Life Experiences Can Help Combat Chronic Obesity and Frequent Binging | Sciencemag