Obesity epidemic? Try asking why people are doing this to themselves before pointing the finger.

Obesity epidemic?


Try asking why people are doing this to themselves before pointing the finger. 


Every day there seems to be something else in the news about obesity and the fact it has risen to ‘epidemic proportions’. More calls for health professionals to tackle the problem with a firm hand.


”We’ve seen hard hitting campaigns against smoking and it’s time to back up the work that’s already being done with a similar approach for obesity.”




When are people going to recognise the fact that obesity is an indicator of underlying distress and sadness?  Who would want to make themselves deliberately obese? Who would want to put themselves in a position where people stare or laugh at them? Who would want to be treated with disgust?


Answer: Nobody.


I believe (through my own experience) that over-eating is a sinister form of self-harm. As you are eating too much you are well aware of the consequences but at that moment the feelings of self-hatred and low self-esteem are comforted and soothed by the feel-good sensation of consuming calorific food. This easily becomes a cycle of self-abuse and self-soothing.


The more you eat – the more you hate yourself . The more you hate yourself – the more you eat.


It must be amazing  for the motivated people who go running every day and are always careful about what they eat. To have a zest for life and look forward to each day. Exercise makes you feel amazing and there are so many health benefits. Unfortunately going for a run doesn’t ‘cure’ recurring psychosis. It certainly helps but should be a part of an holistic way of life that firstly heals the mind as well as the body and soul.


Shame on those who look down at overweight people as being  greedy, undisciplined failures and reinforce their own self-hatred.


If we started by looking at WHY people overeat then we could usually find an answer. Many reasons which could include bereavement, abuse, terror, stigma and bullying. If professionals just took the time to ask and try and solve or alleviate those issues before pointing the finger and blaming people as simply lazy and greedy then a solution may be found. Couple all of this with psychiatric drugs PROVEN to make people gain weight and this becomes a toxic formula for life threatening obesity.


Some people are brought up to be obese by obese parents who feed their children badly. But once the obesity has set in they too are subject to so much stigma, abuse and bullying that they join in the cycle.


Just as the medical model in psychiatry is all about just treating symptoms and not acknowledging the cause so obesity is also being considered this way. Every time you see a ‘Fat’ programme on the TV the story of the person is usually heartbreaking. The 21st century is a very stressful, uncertain era in history. Media pressure continually to be stick thin with plastic surgery and economic meltdown with the ensuing fears that creates are continually with us. Families choose to stay indoors through media induced fear and obsession with TV and computers.


There is talk of some people being emotional eaters. I believe all overweight people eat through their emotions.  If we could just recognise this then therein lies the solution. Sort the emotions and fears out and the rest will be a lot easier or even follow naturally. Mindful eating could be a help (link below).


When Im upset or hurt I go straight to the fridge almost unconsciously. Food acts as my antidepressant in the moment and my depressant in long term. The cycle of self-hate followed by self-soothing and then self-hating again is always there in motion.  Some people may use alcohol or drugs. Obesity and its use of food needs to be recognised alongside them as the drug of choice for many of  those who are in distress.


So just as we shouldn’t be looking at traumatised and distressed people as ‘mental’ or ‘schizo’ so we should show kindness and understanding to those who have become obese through hurt and pain. Using food as a comfort should not be considered as a disease or epidemic just a sign of the terrible times we live in where distress and trauma are not acknowledged as the causal factor for so many problems.




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