Obesity, as reported by the CBS Evening News, is the fastest growing public health problem in US history. If you are at least 30 pounds overweight – 30 pounds – then you are considered to be obese. I'd shudder to think what that makes me (morbidly obese is the term used to describe me). The story frames the debate in terms of dollars, most likely to spark debate, which I think is a mistake, at least in part.
Skinny people – who I define as persons who do not struggle with weight issues – think the solution is simple: put down the fork and take the stairs. There is truth in that statement, but it also implies a simplistic mentality toward the complex paradigm that leads people to have excess (and dangerous) levels of cellulite.
Overeating is an addiction.
I say this not to secure monies for the lipid-enhanced and not to create entitlement mentalities or a helpless framework in those that overeat, such as myself. It would be a gross mistake for me to somehow suggest or imply that we the fatties of Ameirca have no control over our situation. We do. We have choices. W make poor eating and exercise choices, which is one reason I weigh over 300 pounds.
However, there is a significant psychological addiction attached to overeating. There are chemical reactions that occur when one overeats and there are euphoric feelings triggered with overstuffing the stomach. Those feelings involve, among other things: happiness, comfort and escape. It allows one to deal with the world.
Teaching about nutrition, health, and exercise are integral parts of the recovery process. However, unless we address the psychological addiction, the problem – I can assure you – will continue to grow.
As for me, I have tried many weight loss programs and diets, yet I have continued to grow to dangerous levels. It took me two years in a comprehensive, physician-monitored weight loss program at a hospital and weight loss surgery in order to gain some control over my weight issues. I have lost 50 pounds so far, give or take, and I am continuing to lose weight. It feels great, but it is very hard. (Even tonight I ate more than I should have. It was drastically less than I used to eat, but it was still too much. What do I need to do? I have a plan to help me during the transition from work to home.)
Keep in mind that it took me two years going to a dietician, exercise physiologist, attending weekly health seminars, and psychological treatment of my overeating addiction in order for me to qualify and be successful after surgery. So far it is the most successful treatment I have ever endured. It's also drastic. It is my opinion, as a over eater currently in recovery, that a comprehensive program addressing all aspects of the person is the only real key to the problem.