Comparing Obesity to Near-sightedness

I found this article to be very interesting, and well worth the read. I do come from a family of overweight people; my grandmother, who was born some time around 1890 or so (I could be as far as ten years out with this) and died in the early 1960’s was 5’8″ and well over 200 lb. early on (before most processed foods – I have a photo of her from around 1928-30 and she’s definitely a “woman of substance”), so I come by it honestly. And I absolutely support the premise of the article that we treat obesity with far more cruelty than we treat near-sightedness, when the increase in both, according to the research in the article, is on a very similar track.

On the other hand, and I certainly do not, in any way, want to denigrate the content of the linked article, I have an eating disorder. It’s my preferred coping strategy, and I know that when my stress and triggers are being managed by my tools – meditation, directed dialoguing, etc. – that I learned as part of my Cedric Centre therapy, the eating is much, MUCH healthier, and my weight naturally decreases. But I’ve never, so far, been able to stay on that track, to see if the weight stays off whilst I continue to eat healthy foods in reasonable amounts to nurture my body and spirit. So I know that so much research today says that, when one loses weight (i.e., DIETS to lose weight), that weight is almost always regained, and more on top of it. That’s why diets are evil; that’s why I am attempting to focus on living a healthy lifestyle, rather than following some predetermined eating plan.

That’s why the part of the article that does NOT resonate with me is the lack of acknowledgement that WHY one eats can be a factor in the increase in obesity. I may be comparing apples and oranges, but there are a lot of us out there who use food to cope – bingeing, restricting, purging – it doesn’t matter how – and THAT needs to be addressed as well; seeking therapy for this can still be seen, in some quarters, as something to be ashamed of. Life is hard. It’s a challenge. It causes a lot of stress and can be very difficult to cope with. We need to feel compassion for those who use harmful coping strategies – no matter what they happen to be – and acknowledge that working on WHY we do, and learning how to use healthy coping strategies, is not a matter of shame, but something to be celebrated. Because I want to be a better person, for myself, for my family and friends, for my co-workers and students. Just because I want my life to mean something to me. I want to live with joy, rather than fear; with compassion, rather than indifference. I want the (here’s hoping many) years I have left to be the best ones I’ve ever had.

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