Obesity as an epidemic and the weight loss industry
The most common measurement of human body weight is the BMI (Body Mass Index), which is obtained by dividing one's body weight in kilograms by the square of the person's height in metres. The normal weight range is between 18,5 – 25 and one is considered overweight when their BMI is between 25-30. When one's BMI is higher than 30, the person is considered obese, whereas when it exceeds 40, then the individual suffers from morbid obesity, a more serious condition with potentially severe medical complications. Obesity has been found to increase the risk for a wide range of health problems and diseases and, since its prevalence is steadily increasing in adults and children, weight loss has become one of the most popular subjects in the Western world and a huge weight-loss industry has been developed, continuously offering new promising diets, exercise regimes and even medication, with, however, very little success in the long run.
A number of different factors behind weight increase
Unfortunately, obesity is stigmatised in modern society, which favours and worships thinness and weight control, and, as a result, a number of myths about overweight and obese people have been formed and prevailed. These include the belief that obesity occurs due to weakness, lack of self-discipline and will-power, laziness or greediness, or that obese people have been born to be fat, and, therefore, there is no point in trying to change. These myths are extremely harmful and misleading and they only serve to make people with weight issues feel worse about themselves, guilty and ashamed, while also hindering and sabotaging their weight-loss attempts.
Extensive research into the causes of obesity has revealed that there is a number of different factors that can be responsible for weight increase in specific individuals, including external influences, such as those coming from one's family, the culture one lives in, extensive advertising of foods that are associated with weight gain, and high levels of stress, as well as internal biological and psychological factors, which can be related to one's genetic predisposition, a slower metabolism due to lifestyle choices and one's weight and dieting history, the number of fat cells in one's body, etc.
It is important to note here that, even though there is evidence showing that obesity can be hereditary and that there are inherent factors that make some people more prone to become overweight or obese than others, it definitely does not mean that weight cannot be controlled. It does mean, however, that, in order for somebody to lose weight and keep it off permanently, a general and fundamental life change needs to take place, which will touch upon all areas of one's life, including beliefs, habits, lifestyle choices, but also and most importantly one's relationship with oneself.
It is very common for obesity to appear in combination with either Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Night Eating Syndrome (NES); in fact research has shown that 75% of obese people suffer from either BED or NES. In such cases treatment primarily focuses on the normalisation of eating disorder behaviours, and secondarily on weight loss.
An alternative, holistic, pleasurable approach to the treatment of obesity
My approach to weight-loss and the treatment of obesity is greatly influenced by my studies with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, which promotes a groundbreaking, holistic understanding of nutrition, nourishment and our relationship with food, and emphasises the importance of pleasure in any attempt to lose weight. This is a more 'feminine' and compassionate approach, embracing the totality of the human being, approving of the person's needs and affirming everyone's uniqueness, on the antipode of traditional, 'masculine' and aggressive approaches, favouring deprivation, rigidity and self-punishment.
If you are experiencing issues with excess body weight and are ready to take the first step towards a healthier body and a more enjoyable life, or if you feel ambivalent about reaching out, or would like to discuss any concerns regarding your challenges and how I could be of help, please call me on 07450256556 or contact me throught the form below.