WHAT IS OBESITY
In simple terms obesity means having excess body fat. In medical terms obesity is classified as 20% above the recommended weight/height.
Being overweight/obese can cause serious damage to your health. A large number of illnesses are associated with excess weight. These include increased risk of:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Cancer of the breast/colon
- Lower Back Pain
- Disturbed menstrual cycle
- Gallbladder Disease
- Complications at surgery (should you every require it)
Having that extra load to carry means you may feel tired often. You also may have difficulty getting from A to B. Bending over to pick up objects or tying your laces can be a very difficult and sometimes impossible task. In other words, simple day-to-day routine activity can be a problem in you life.
HOW CAN OBESITY AFFECT YOU PSYCHOLOGICALLY
For many people who have a weight problem, their main goal in life is to be thin. They have intense dislike of their bodies. Is this you? Whether it is or not, feeling of helplessness, selfworthlessness, low self-esteem and some times even self-hatred are common in people with weight problems.
Many overweight people tend to overeat for emotional reasons. Rather than face whatever issues are in their life, they bury their feelings in food. Food becomes “the emotional crutch”. Instead of solving the problems, it creates more, i.e. obesity.
Many people with weight problems have been on and off diets most of their lives. They experience a feeling of ‘high’ whilst on the diet and losing weight – “I have conquered it this time”. However, once off the diet, depression, guilt, and feelings of failure set in. Bingeing can occur due to either/or
A. Automatic response after strict dieting.
B. Comfort-eating as a response to feeling low.
So the vicious circle begins: weight fluctuates, mood level swings, and feeling of self-worthlessness.
HOW CAN OBESITY AFFECT YOU SOCIALLY?
Having a weight problem can seriously affect your social life. The reasons can be because of one or a combination of the following reasons:
A: Physical exhaustion and lack of energy from the extra burden/weight.
B: Low self-esteem; you feel everyone is looking at you.
C: You keep putting off going out until you loose weight.
D: No clothes will fit you properly, and any clothes that do fit you are old fashioned.
E: You feel ugly.
Do you identify with what I am saying to you?
PERSON’S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
“I was always trying to control my weight, and was continually on a diet! I kept trying, but never got anywhere. I’d start every Monday, and if I was lucky it would last until Tuesday, evening, when I’d go out and buy four or five bars of chocolate. I’d hide them or keep them till I was alone, and savour them in guilty pleasure. “I succeeded four times in losing large amounts of weight. I looked and felt great then I’d slacken off my restrictions. I’d find I had put on a few pounds and I’d think what’s a few pounds. The next thing I’d know I was back on the merry–go-round, out of control with weight on again.”
“A really good friend on numerous occasions told me I could not lose weight alone. She said I needed help. She was right. I went for counselling. Now I realise how I concealed my true feelings behind my weight, so that eventually I hid what I was feeling, even from myself. Now I am slowly losing weight, and more importantly I am now learning to confront problems and feelings instead of avoiding/burying them. “I no longer feel under stress when asked out for a meal. I enjoy my food, because I know am in control of my food and not the latter in control of me. It’s great! But I know I could not have done it alone.”
Despite the poor results in the past, there is now more positive treatment available today. The longer you allow the weight problem linger the more difficult it is to treat. Please do not allow another day to pass. Look for help today. Remember, going on a diet will not help your problem.
First you need to adopt a healthy eating pattern with a reduced energy (calorie) intake and some people need counselling or psychotherapy to help identify and express feelings and also to help build up one’s self-esteem.
Dr. Gillian Moore Groarke – 25 years in practice