If you deal with weight at all, you need to be following the writing of Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, founder of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa. Click to read his blog, Weighty Matters. Dr. Freedhoff writes quite a bit and I just read an article that appeared in in the Huffington Post. Dr. Freedhoff addresses the contention that obesity “is the new smoking.” Read the whole article here. Dr. Freedhoff has summarized into one devastatingly succinct paragraph, the reasons why so many of us are dealing with serious obesity today:
Genetics, co-morbid medical conditions, psychology, pace of life, socio-economics, environmental obesogens, governmental failings in the provision of evidence-based nutrition and energy balance/caloric information, the unregulated self-help quackery of the commercial weight management programs, the confusion and contradictions of over 60,000 diet books, glossy magazines that promote quick fixes, reality television that promotes inane, non-sustainable and frankly dangerous treatment, crop subsidies that allow highly processed, hyperpalatable, hypercalorific foods to be sold for pennies, front-of-package labeling that confer health-halos to junk food, the demise of the family meal and the fall of cooking, predatory advertising targeting adults and children alike, a culture that promotes the provision of food at every event however small, super-sizing of restaurant portions, lack of caloric information at point of sale, medications which cause weight gain, juice and chocolate milk being promoted as healthy choices, public health messaging that wrongly suggests exercise is sufficient to “balance” calories consumed, epigenetic changes that occur in the womb, eating as a defense or a reaction to emotional, physical or sexual abuse…..
I read it and I could only react by starting to cry.
My whole book is about this paragraph and how we need to release ourselves from believing we become obese because there’s one particular “reason” connected to our own personal failings.
“If I can do it, you can do it” is an insult. “Believe in yourself, get motivated to succeed!” is marketing hype. “Just eat less and move more” is simplistic, magical thinking. “It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you” is a lie.
You are not “the problem.” You are not an epidemic. You are not diseased. You are not broken. You are human in a complex, food-obsessed culture.