Obesity is not a Disease
Earlier we would see men with midriffs bulging post age 35 and women putting on weight after their deliveries, post 25 or 30 years of age. Today young and old alike are not only over weight but even obese. The medical world is in such a great dilemma that they have started prescribing weight loss tablets or even recommending various surgeries to even young girls and boys.
As we enter the New Year let us be very clear that obesity is not a disease and the solution to this ever increasing and rapidly increasing problem is not to treat it as a disease. Individuals and their families have to understand the problem and identify the cause and work together with counsellors and dietitians to solve this problem.
1. The first step is to know whether there is a tendency in the family for putting on weight. This could be due to a medical back ground of thyroid or diabetic problems. Those who know this must make sure that children in your home are encouraged to be in a regular sports activity and are enrolled in some sport coaching classes for as early an age as 5 years. Parents must try to restring eating our or ordering in to once a week. Also avoid buffet eating and keep healthy snacks options at home like fruits, light biscuits or crackers and sandwiches.
2. The second factor to be aware of is addictive behaviour or habits in parents, or other immediate family members. Children coming from families prone to cigarette or alcohol, etc. addiction can become food addicts from a young age starting from 5 years and above but mostly during puberty age 10-14. Parents need to identify whether your child is reaching out to food whenever lonely, sad, hurt or when feeling rejected or even angry. I have been talking about children so that we are able to catch the problem at an early stage but this applies even to adults. A person may have stayed very trim and fit up to age 20-30 even though genetically in their family there is obesity. But at age 40 for some reason they may lose focus on the dietary control and may suddenly start putting on weight. On the other hand they may be from a family with addition and they have no sign of it in their life. However at age 40 or 50 they may face some crisis or tragedy and may fall into food addiction.
3. The third factor could be that a person who is overeating may be doing this due to some serious dysfunction in the home, family or relationship or marriage problem. Children in homes where parents are too busy with their work or social life and children in homes where parents are always arguing or fighting can fall into the trap of overeating. Similarly youngsters in a troubled relationship or early marriage adjustment stage or in-laws problems can turn to overeating.
4. Lastly once a person starts putting on weight and it gets visible then people start commenting, ridiculing or advising them and this can make a person so depressed that they eat more, stop going out, stop socialising, even feel bad to go out and exercise or go to a gym and this can make their condition even worse.
Our advice is first and foremost to be positive and tell yourself you donít have a permanent handicap or disease. So many who may be born physically or mentally challenged or have met with and accident or are diagnosed with a disease are fighting and struggling and try to live a normal life. So we too must fight and struggle to win this battle of the bulge. It is not a permanent condition it is a changeable, reversible condition.
We have to tell ourselves that we are not suffering with a disease which requires medication or an operation but we only need to change our lifestyle and diet. I am a person who comes from a family with a severe history of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. I also used to be a food addict in that every time somebody commented about my weight ( I was over weight from age 10), I used to feel like eating more but today I am a diet counsellor and during the last 17 years we have counselled over 6000 people and without medication or operation have helped thousands to change their lives.
Our formula is Walk 25-30 minutes daily, Water 2.5 -3 liters daily and Diet Ė Eat balanced food with lots of fiber and very strictly avoid Fatty food. Lastly start counting your blessings, thank God daily and ask God to guide you and give you His strength to change your life.