There are different opinions and strong emotions when it comes to obesity and weight loss. This article is simply another opinion about obesity in the U.S. By writing this content, I am not headed to convince anyone of anything; I’m just trying to give you something to think about — perhaps sharing a new idea.
The statistics concerning obesity in America are alarming. At present, 35 percent of American adults are obese (CDC, 2012), and that number is projected to rise to over 50 percent in majority of states by 2030 (Henry, 2011). Clearly, what we’ve been doing to try to solve this issue isn’t working and is perhaps making it even worse.
Years ago I was seeing a dieter who we’ll call Sarah. Sarah was extremely obese and desperate to drop weight. Her doctor had recently told her that if she didn’t lose a considerable amount of weight she would lose her mobility as well as have a host of other medical consequences. Sarah tried many diets and exercise programs but - nothing worked. She even enrolled in a weight loss clinic but again - had no success. She in fact ended up gaining even more weight during this time. Not knowing what else she can do, Sarah’s doctor told her that she needed to talk to a therapist.
When I met Sarah she was quite desperate to drop the weight, and very and very depressed. Much to her surprise, I told her that I didn’t want us to work on her cutting weight, but rather I wanted to work on her emotions and teach her to accept and love herself unconditionally. This seemed the opposite of what she needed in order to drop weight, but Sarah decided to trust me anyway.
One should not have to go to a clinic, read a book or take a class to learn how to drop weight. There is a very successful eating plan that has been around for thousands of years and all of the big celebrities do it. Try to guess what it is. It’s called “Moving more and eating less.” How you go about accomplishing this is up to you.
Obesity and Genetics
Science agrees that genetics is not responsible for the obesity epidemic, although they do agree it is a factor. Depending on which research you look at, genes only account for between 1 percent and 5 percent of an individual’s body mass index (Li et al., 2010). I think that majority of people would agree that 5 percent of bad genes doesn’t excuse the 95 percent of it that scientists claim is due to unhealthy habits.
When confronted with these facts, people often cite that most of the people in their family are also overweight, so it must be genetics. However, the more likely possibility is that families tend to eat the same food sources and have similar habits. Genetics also doesn’t explain why obese also tend to have obese domestic animals (Bounds, 2011).
Obesity and Depression
Studies have revealed that 66 percent of those seeking bariatric, (weight loss) surgery have had a history of at least one mental health condition. And of course, it doesn’t help that the medications people take for depression and other mental health problems can cause dramatic weight gain.
So if depression triggers weight gain and antidepressants cause weight gain, then what is the solution? Well, study has shown that talk therapy is just as productive at relieving depression as antidepressant medication (Doheny, 2010), and talk therapy doesn’t have the negative side effects that medication does.
One group received 150 mg of Zoloft while the other group was involved in 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 to 4 times a week. After 8 weeks, they found that the workout was just as effective at fighting depression as the Zoloft! Another considerable thing is that Zoloft has negative side effects including weight gain, sleep problems, and sexual dysfunction