There is so much talk these days about America’s “obesity epidemic” and what we, as a society, should do about it. It’s true that obesity rates for both adults and children have been on the rise in the U.S., and this has prompted a lot of discussion from well-meaning professionals and other observers about how best to help people get rid of excess weight.
But as we can clearly see, the strategies that have been offered so far are not working, and the problem is only getting worse. In this honest and straight-shooting new video from #IPEtv, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explains why our current approach will never heal the core issues that lead to obesity, and offers an alternative way of looking at obesity that can lead to real change.
Below is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s Topic: Obesity is Not a Disease
Well, as you probably heard, the American Medical Association has decided to clearly label obesity as a disease. Oddly enough, this new strategy actually went against the recommendations of a special committee that was formed to explore this very topic.
You’ll likely hear all sorts of official fanfare of how this is such a wise and generous move because now the doctors and insurance companies will put more emphasis on this condition in order to minimize its negative effects.
Don’t believe it for a second.
When was the last time insurance companies were loving on you when it came to your health? When was the last time they truly advocated for your well being?
What you may not know, is that there is absolute widespread agreement that the very measure used to determine obesity – BMI – also known as body mass index – is absolutely flawed and inaccurate. No one really debates this simple truth. BMI does a poor job of measuring your overall lean muscle tissue and body fat composition.
Here’s what I would like to suggest:
Obesity is not a disease.
It’s a symptom.
This does not lessen the importance of addressing obesity. In fact, it strengthens it.
A symptom means this: something that points to something else.
Are you surprised?
Does that make any sense?
Let me explain what I mean:
A headache is always a symptom. It’s not a disease. The symptom called headache is pointing to something else. It might point to the fact that you had a concussion while playing a sport. It might point to the fact that you have too much caffeine in your diet. It might point to the fact that you have a toxin or mold in your home. It might point to a food allergy. It might point to stress. It might point to lack of sleep. It might point to eyestrain. It might point to personal and emotional issues at home or at work. There are endless possibilities here. I think you get the picture.
Extra weight is always pointing somewhere else.
Extra weight might be pointing to the fact that we’re eating too much poor quality food. It might be pointing to the fact that we eat too much sugar. Or too many soft drinks. It could point to a thyroid issue. It could point to adrenal problems. It could point to diabetes. It could point to a brain tumor. It can point to issues that are originating in the digestive tract, or to environmental toxins and pollution. It could be related to the use of certain prescription drugs – especially antidepressants. And so much more when it comes to nutritional and metabolic factors.
And we haven’t even talked about the personal and emotional dimensions of what excess weight might be pointing to. Extra weight can be pointing to an excessive amount of stress in one’s life. Such stress could be related to work, relationship challenges, family issues, financial woes, divorce, death of a loved one, and so much more.
Extra weight can be pointing to the difficulties of navigating raising a family, making money, and living in a world that doesn’t make it easy for us to take care of our own health and well-being.
For all these reasons, obesity is not a disease.
It’s a symptom.
It’s letting us know that there’s something else that needs to be addressed.
It’s letting us know that somehow, life is out of balance because the body is carrying more pounds than it needs to.
Indeed, perhaps one of the biggest places that the symptom called obesity points to is a world out of balance. We tend to look at extra weight as exclusively the problem of the person who has it. But these days, so many newborns are exposed to a mother’s diet in the womb that predisposes them to obesity. And then they pop out of the womb and they’re fed unnatural amounts of junk food, sugar, and poor quality carbohydrate products that masquerade as food – and obesity becomes almost predictable.
This is not so much a personal problem. It’s a collective one. We live in a world where food production has been hijacked by corporations that have no regard for individual health. But they have a high regard for maximizing profits. We live in a world where we’re taught to consume and consume and never stop when it comes to buying things and having things. We live in a world where there is a barrage that happens nonstop day in and day out through advertising and media that’s programming the highly susceptible minds of humans, young and old, to consume foods that almost guarantee weight gain.
Perhaps the American Medical Association should take a nice big stethoscope and put it on the hearts of the leaders of industry and government. Are those hearts beating properly? Are those hearts truly open? Do those hearts have the best interest of those that they’re supposedly meant to serve?
Obesity is not a disease.
It’s our collective bodies screaming at the world that we need a course correction. We need a whole new way of how we treat each other and how we do business on planet Earth.
We don’t need less weight.
What we truly need is more love, more care and concern, and more people waking up to an enlightened way of living.
I hope this was helpful my friends. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.
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