Losing Weight isn’t as easy as “eating less”
The daily politics did a segment on obesity & health and fitness in response to Andrew Lansley (Secretary of State for Health) telling fat people to “eat less”. To start off the debate, they had Emma Burnell who blogs over at Scarlet Standard. Her video piece was effectively a rehashing of our blog: The Personal is Political: What its like to be Morbidly Obese.
Her video piece was slightly different but the underlying message was exactly the same. One cracking line was “Telling obese people to eat less is like telling an alcoholic to stop drinking.”
The only problem with it, is that with alcoholism is that once they make that decision to stop drinking and/or get the help they need to stop, it is far easier to stop drinking alcohol as we don’t need it. However, with food you can’t quit that easily, you need food to survive and do you know what it doesn’t matter what food it is.
Derek Hatton on the Daily Politics show today was insensitive towards this subject as he said in effect the government had it right. All fat people need to do is eat less and exercise more. Whilst that is good advice, what he seems to forget is that people like me who are clinically obese have heard this advice over and over again. Some of us try, we fail, we feel bad about ourself then eat more in response to feeling bad about ourselves and so gain weight not lose it.
As someone who is clinically obese who lost 5.7% of their bodyweight then fell off the wagon & has recently climbed back on, I know it is far too simplistic to say “just eat less.” My dad is a doctor and my mum a midwife, I’ve had all the lectures about eating less and exercising more. I’ve had all the lectures about what I’m doing to my health. Yet I still managed to become obese. I have a body mass index(BMI) of 30.7 thats 0.8 away from being simply overweight.
The problem doesn’t come with eating less or exercising more, it comes with the psychological problems behind why we eat more and why we don’t exercise. There is a huge barrier that comes from our bodies as to why we eat more and don’t exercise. If sweets are a problem, like it is for me, my body/mind will tell me to go out and buy sweets. My body will want the instant gratification that comes from the sugar hit.
I lost 5.7% of my bodyweight in 2 months. The next 2 months, i stalled, mainly because i fell off the wagon and started eating sweets (main culprits were maltesers,galaxy counters and haribo). I didn’t put all the weight back on in fact i only gained back a pound. What made me jump off the wagon well it started after i lost 10lbs in the first month, thought this was easy, I would treat myself. It snowballed from there.
The next day, I thought about sweets, the more I thought about it, the more I could feel the sugar hit and then would give in. I wasn’t that bad in the second month, i still lost 4lbs. Whilst in the 3rd month and half of the 4th month i was much worse, I ate even more. My body was craving sweets. I was telling myself to stop but I would still go out and buy sweets.
About 2 weeks ago, I managed to stop. I don’t know how. I wish I did. I managed to flip a switch but I don’t know how. We need to learn the psychological processes as to why we become obese and how we stop including in that the chemical processes that happen. It will only be then that we can actually overcome the obesity problem once and for all.