Is Perception Helping to Cause the Obesity Crisis

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HAS THE WRONG PERCEPTION CAUSED THE OBESITY CRISIS?

 

While walking in the local park today with my dogs, I made the following observations while people watching.  I find people watching very entertaining!

People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be smart and sophisticated, not so smart bordering on scruffy, or just getting on with their lives and pleasing themselves how they dress. It’s interesting working out which category they might come into. Their shapes vary from thin to fat, tall and short, different hair, skin colour and all the variety that goes to make up humankind.  Every one of us looks different and except for identical twins there are no two faces alike.

Yet, we spend much time and money trying to fit into a one size fits all frame of mind.  Almost to the degree that fashion dictates what shape we should be.  Are we striving to be something we are not?

It starts at school of course; we are usually happy with who we are up until  about the age of seven or eight. Then we start to notice the kids who have shiny trainers, or trendy clothes. Many parents find themselves out of pocket trying to keep up with these trends. From a child’s perspective and part of its manipulation to the parents, he or she will indicate that they are the only ones in the class who hasn’t got the item in question.

As we get older we start to become dissatisfied with our body shapes and so starts the downward road to dieting,  and starving and bingeing. There is an awful lot of confusion around for young people. With the abundance of sugary drinks, sodas, junk snacks, chocolate snack bars and to add to the confusion they will see these foods in the form of diet alternatives that they then believe that they can consume safely. Many young people become Vegetarian, and still other’s become obsessed with counting calories or eating low fat.

So coming back to the way that people dress and my observations in the park, I wondered if somewhere along the line many people who perceived themselves as fat, are not that fat. But just trying to wear the clothes that are designed for the minority of women in society that are super slim. How many of them would avoid having to worry about their size if they wore clothes that they would look good in today, to suit the shape that they are at present? Would they then avoid  becoming a victim of the diet industry, who play on these people’s desires?

So perhaps If people did not become unsatisfied with their body and shapes when they were young, perhaps they would not start to diet in the first place. Dieting will  bring down their metabolism, and before they know it they have fallen into a diet trap, and there they remain for the rest of their lives. Many of them become Obese and super obese, all because they could not accept a reasonable size, dress appropriately, and stay that way.

So could our self image and perceptions of people’s body image be a major factor in the Obesity Crisis

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What’s Not Fair In The War Against Weight?

 

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People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Each one of us is an individual, and we have as many different body shapes as we do faces.  Except for identical twins, there are no two faces the same.

Yet many of us are trying to emulate the latest look.

Ridiculous statements come from the press when talking about fashion.  “Boobs are out of fashion” or “The look this Autumn is narrow hips!”  As if we can change our body shapes to keep up with the fashion!  What happens the following year when boobs are back in fashion again?

Yet people fall for this, and try to diet to change their shape.  If they can’t, they will go for liposuction or plastic surgery.

People go to extreme measures to be thin.  Some of the diets that come around are simply Starvation diets.  The dieter can get to look emaciated, and I wonder what is going to happen to their bodies as they get older.

  Are they going to lose bone density?

 Are they going to be able to fight disease?

 There will be no nutrients in their bodies to fall back on when they are ill. 

Can anyone define the point of danger these days?

 We have a BMI table, which uses a graph to show if we are underweight, overweight, obese or morbidly obese. A healthy BMI is meant to be between 19 and 25.  It is reckoned that between 25 and 30 is overweight.  30 to 35 is in the obese category, and 35 onwards is counted as morbidly obese.

I have a BMI of 26.  But I am healthier than I have ever been, and I have friends who say the same about themselves. Current studies are questioning whether being in the overweight category is safer than the normal weight.

Yet we are still in the midst of an Obesity Epidemic.  We demand that people be thin to be accepted, but bodies are becoming fatter!  Consequently we are losing touch with the realities of what our bodies need and we only look at what we should or should not eat.

We watch people in restaurants, and if they are fat, we judge what they are eating. We use phrases like “Oh, you are being good!”  I hate that phrase and it is generally only used if you are eating a salad! 

When you are eating out, what do you base your choices on? 

How long is it since you chose what you really want?

Perhaps your choice is based on what people will think!

 There are many reasons why people choose what they are going to eat, but very rarely for the right reasons. If they indulge they feel guilty and probably say that they will go back on the diet tomorrow!  If they omit a certain food that can get a comment – or the person concerned feels the need to explain why.

Often heard is the phrase “It isn’t fair; she eats all that and never puts on an ounce.”  I well remember when I was stuck in my dieting days, sitting in a pub with my husband, and watching people have their dessert.  I did not have one, but looked on in envy thinking, “It’s not fair, none of these people has a weight problem, yet I do, and I am the one who is going without!”  But the question is “What wasn’t fair?”

How did I know?  How could I tell what anyone was doing at home?  I was only seeing what was going on in the pub at that given moment!  I was feeling indignant but had no grounds to feel that way. For all I knew she may stick to a diet at home and was eating out for a treat!

Although I had weight issues in the past, and although I have been overweight by a stone in the last few years, actually for the last twenty one years of my life I have been a reasonable size.  Perhaps this may be slightly over weight but by whose standards?

I have had people say to me “Why do you worry about your weight?  You haven’t got any weight problems”.  They are assuming that because I look slim, there is no weight issue.  They don’t see all the hard work that goes into being slim!  I then have to tell them that I am slim, because I work at being slim.

Having said that though, I don’t have any issues with my weight now, as I have sorted out exactly what I can eat, and I stick to it.  It is ironic that now I get accused of being finicky!  But I don’t mind at all because that is far better than to be worrying about slimming!

Many people I meet who have weight issues cannot accept that we have a choice.  We either need to eat properly and not indulge in sugary, starchy or refined foods, or we put up with being fat!  We can’t have it both ways.  But saying, “It’s not fair” is self indulgent!

This all came to mind today when I was sitting with a friend who was tucking into a giant muffin! She always asks if I am going to have something to eat when we have coffee out.  She cannot accept that actually I am happy not to have anything to eat!

When I am in other people’s houses, and I say no to something that they offer me, they look so surprised and feel sorry for me because I can’t have it.  I can’t persuade them that I simply don’t want it!  They are judging my feelings, on what they would feel like having to say no!

Another phrase people I hear is “It’s all right for you, you have a strong will power!”  Words always fail me on that one!  I do not have a strong will power I simply accept that I have a choice.  If I want to put on weight, I shall have a muffin.  But I do not want to put on weight, so I do not have a muffin.  Simple!

To lose weight and keep it off requires hard work. Indeed any goal requires work.

 Tiger Woods started playing golf at the age of 2!

A concert pianist practices for hours every day to keep on top form.

 There is no magic wand, but I can testify that it does pay off in the end.

So is it unfair that you can’t lose weight? Or can you change your thinking?

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I Am So Glad That I Have a Weight Problem!!!

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You may be wondering why on earth I can say such a thing, but I am coming to understand that having a weight problem has brought me so many advantages.

  I struggled with controlling my weight for over forty years. I have been fat, and I have been thin. I have binged and starved, counted calories, fat units, Weight Watchers points, low fat and low carbohydrate.  I have tried the Cabbage diet, Lean Cuisine, Supermarket ready meal diets, The F plan, Rosemary Conley, South Pacific, Mediterranean, Dukan, Atkins and many more.  I tried the Mayo Tomato and egg diet and even an orange and peanut diet once.

Twenty years ago I slimmed down from 13stone to 10 stone 4. Since then I have followed another set of diets to keep my weight within a sensible limit and have ended up around 11 stone 7.  I would like to be another seven pounds lighter, and I find that is the wish of many women and the yearning to be that seven pounds lighter can make people’s lives very difficult with the constant fight to do just that.  For me, the remarkable thing is that although I would like to be seven pounds lighter, I am not getting fixated about it and letting it rule my life.

So to get back to my original statement, you may be wondering why I should be glad that I have always had a weight problem.

  Because I have always had problems with my weight, it has made me very health conscious.  In the constant search for the answer, not only have I developed into an expert on how to control weight and know what it is like for people to struggle and be accused of being a glutton or have a sense that they are a failure, I have used that knowledge to start my own business in weight management, which in turn has led me to become a writer, coach and teacher at workshops.

I am absolutely passionate about reading up on the subject, and my desire is to help as many people as possible to overcome their weight and food issues.

I am one step ahead of a lot of people with the latest developments in science with such matters as cholesterol and statins, sugar and food addictions, diabetes, food intolerances, celiac disease; Lately I have come across evidence that a low carbohydrate diet helps to keep Alzheimers disease and dementia at bay and keeps our brains alert too.

The fact that I have been on a low carbohydrate diet for the last four years now, and have always been careful with my weight and keeping myself fit, is apparently paying off in more ways than I ever thought  possible.

A good many people, these days, are being controlled around their food choices by what the food and diet industries are saying, but I have learnt that I need to find out for myself which is the way to go. There are also many people who have gone through their lives feeling quite content or even smug that they have never been fat, but are now beginning to understand what it is like to try and control their weight, because as they have got older the foods that people are now consuming more and more are causing unprecedented problems with Obesity and even the slimmest among us are putting on weight.

There are also many people who have never had a weight problem so have been all their lives eating what they like and having a shock when they find that they have other illnesses that have been caused by too much sugar and not enough fat!  They have been happily tucking into their food thinking that because they were not fat they could just enjoy themselves, only to end up with such illnesses as Type 2 Diabetes, Arthritis and Depression.

I have recently read the excellent book The Brain Drain by David Perlmutter, in which he explains the damage that is being done by the overabundance of not only grains, but too much carbohydrate in general. As I was reading this, I was able to take comfort in the fact that because I have always had a weight problem and had to be careful with my diet, and in the last four years have not consumed much in the way of carbohydrate, I am already one step ahead of those people who are only just realizing that there is a problem.

I find that a lot of people just do not have any idea of what is healthy and just do not know where to start when they are confronted for the first time with putting on too much weight, or being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and having to find a new way of eating.

So I will end with the words that I started with, “I am so glad that I have always had a weight problem.”

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