I am often surprised at how frequently I’ll hear a comment or conversation on how someone views people from slightly overweight to obese. The theme seems to be their internal anger at them for not having enough self-control or will power to do what needs to be done to lose weight. I think to myself, do people really think and feel this way? Do we really need to be judging other people and their behaviors, or lack of behaviors, when we really don’t know what is going on with that person? Then I get a little riled up at the fact that the people having those judgements are a segment of society that is uneducated about how our world has changed. That it no longer is an issue of self-control and motivation, or was it ever?
Let’s just take a glimpse at the ideals the media portrays on how we “should” look. There are several theories out there on how the media affects our personal body image. It starts with how much we watch T.V or visual media of any sort, and the type of people that are portrayed there. Studies between the years of 1959-1988 showed most females in media met the requirements for anorexia nervosa. Look how long we have been ingrained in a sense of “what we should be”. We gain a sense of experience of what people “should” look like. We then take that and apply it to our lives by comparing ourselves to other people and the ideals portrayed in our social system. We internalize it by how we talk about and view our own body image, in turn teaching that to our children all the while it affects our own self-esteem and theirs. So we already have this skewed view of what normal and healthy actually is, and we want everyone to fit that picture or something is wrong. The information I could find said an average model in the 80’s was a size 6, late 90’s-2000’s size 2. That goes for move and T.V. personalities as well, size 2-4. Of course, that doesn’t cover everyone, but even at 50% that’s still a gross generalization in our minds.
Let’s move on to the chemicals we put on and in our bodies in the forms of cosmetics, lotions, food, aerosols, and cleaning products, or emissions from vehicles, all of which change the way our hormones function in our body. According to an article posted in the Guardian, 75% of 80,000+ chemicals used in the US have never been tested individually or in combination with one another for safety data? In fact the US has not made a law concerning the safety of personal care ingredients since 1938. So here’s why it matters, not only hormones, but all naturally occurring chemical reactions in our bodies have something to do with how we process everything which includes how much weight we wear. So for all you out there that say “move more, exercise, get off the couch” it’s not that simple!!!!!! Yes, I’m using lots of exclamation marks there. Everything is connected, everything in our bodies, in the Earth, in the air and it all works together and comes together in different ways. Is this news? Is this new? So when you have thousands of chemicals inundating your body and changing your internal processes to make what you need to be healthy it messes up those processes (I want to say f’s it up, can I say f’s it up? ), bad, badly , really bad, bad enough to make you gain weight, then gain more weight, and struggle to lose it. If you are interested in more information on chemicals I suggest going to the Environmental Working Groups website, they keep information posted on such things.
Mental and Emotional Health
So now for some heavy heart hitting numbers. Did you know statistically that people who are abused tend to be larger? Just one analysis of 57,000 women showed the females who were victims of physical or sexual abuse twice as likely to be addicted to food. Another study of 11,115 females 18 and older also found a connection between obesity and childhood abuse. Bariatric clinics report 20-40% of their surgery candidates have reported past sexual abuse. And those are just the reported cases. How many people don’t say, or don’t even remember?
It’s not just motivation and lack of exercise that affects peoples’ metabolism and ability to maintain a healthy weight. It’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s the cigarette you are smoking, the car you are driving, the unused bottle of medication you flushed down the toilet that is now in our water sources. It’s the hormones and antibiotics in meat, fertilizers, and pesticides on our food, SLS (sodium laural sulfate) and phalates in our moisturizers. It’s the amount of stress that you are burdened with on a daily basis.
I’m just asking, do us all a favor, save the judgement. Have some compassion, be kind, share some love. We are all in this together.
If you are struggling with any of these components to weight we are here to help. Acupuncture and Guided Imagery can be a healing path to emotional and physical freedom from these burdens. Our Environmental Wellness classes can teach you what you need to know about the toxins in our environment. Our weight release program is designed to help heal all areas of your life that feed this issue. Also, if you just happen to be one of those naive people who are doing the judging, we would love to help educate you on these platforms as well. Let’s all step into this thing we call compassion together.