Home > Uncategorized > “I eat because I’m unhappy…I’m unhappy because I eat.”

“I eat because I’m unhappy…I’m unhappy because I eat.”

Fat Bastard said it and….he was right.

The people at Kaiser Permenante in San Diego have been running a weight loss clinic since 1982 which dealt mostly with the obese . After treating 30,000 patients they’ve made some pretty remarkable findings concerning obesity and published them in a paper titled, Obesity: Problem, Solution or Both.

In short they found that obesity, “is not the core problem to be treated, any more than smoke is the core problem to be treated in house fires.” Basically obese people are obese because they eat too much, yepper that whole law of thermodynamics is still holding steady..but what drives them to eat to much?

NOTE: Yes, I know that there is such a thing as metabolic advantage and that a “Calorie is not a Calorie“.  But I’m talking big picture and real life here people, on the whole…eat more than we burn; gain weight…eat less; lose weight..Don’t believe me? What about Harvard? Diets that Reduce Calories lead to Weight Loss, Regardless of Carbohydrate, Protein or Fat Content.

What the researchers found is that obesity was  the result of another underlying problem and excessive weight gain was used as a protective mechanism…

 “we unexpectedly discovered that histories of childhood sexual abuse were common, as were histories of growing up in markedly dysfunctional households. It became evident that traumatic life experiences during childhood and adolescence were far more common in an obese population than was comfortably recognized. We slowly discovered that major weight loss is often sexually or physically threatening and that obesity, whatever its health risks, is protective emotionally. Ultimately, we saw that certain of our more intractable public health problems such as obesity are often also unconsciously attempted solutions to problems dating back to the earliest years but hidden by time, by shame, by secrecy, and by social taboos against exploring certain areas of life experience.”

This lead them to realize that everyone  (including themselves) had looked at the cause of obesity through the wrong lens, different questions needed to be asked.

“Ultimately, we learned from our patients that in obesity, we are dealing with two core problems:

• The unconscious, compulsive use of food for its psychoactive benefits

• The unrecognized and unspoken benefits of obesity.”

Basically food does make people feel better even if it doesn’t fix the problem, “The psychoactive benefits of food are profound though not curative….Whether we are talking about the next mouthful, the next drink, the next cigarette, the next sexual partner, or the next dose of whatever psychoactive chemical we might buy on the street, the concept is equally applicable: It’s hard to get enough of something that almost works.”…for the obese, it seems, food is that drug.

Obesity also “protects” these people. As one patient responded in an interview, “Overweight is overlooked, and that’s the way I need to be.”

So it looks like a whole lot of us may have been barking up the wrong tree in terms of trying to cure obesity. Looks like it’s not just about eating right and exercising…..

” we had learned that our initial goal of teaching people to “eat right” was totally irrelevant to obesity, although it seemed a reasonable thing to do when we did not know what to do. In retrospect, we should have known better because most of us knew that overweight, middle-aged women commonly know enough about calorie content to give a dietitian a run for his or her money any day of the week. ….Nutrition is an interesting and important subject that has no more relationship to obesity than it does to anorexia.”

This is a really interesting paper and well worth the read if you have the time. It’s extremely eye-opening and the results, at least on the surface, seem to be valid if for no other reason than the authors were willing to admit that their previous interventions had all been uninformed, misguided and failed. The mark of a good scientist is usually one who can admit and learn from their mistakes. Beyond that there have been some other studies that seem to streamline with this study….like:

 Treating Womens Depressions Might Help Them Lose Weight.  

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