Inner Decisions

Is Obesity All About What You Eat?

Research is uncovering that there are many issues besides calorie intake causing the obesity epidemic in America. While considerable research is ongoing, there is a growing list of other causes. When embracing a whole person whole health perspective for a person struggling with obesity it is important to investigate all five pillars of health: physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental, and spiritual. Physically what a person routinely eats as well as their genetics will have a significant impact on their ability to lose weight. If the person’s genome predisposes them to obesity they may wrestle with that issue. It is also important that the stress hormones are in balance and that the body can adequately digest what the person eats. Human bodies, though resilient, require significant attention to remain in balance.

From a nutritional standpoint, the typical American diet of highly processed food is depleted in nutrients. These foods are difficult to digest, high in sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, other sugars, and sugar substitutes, high in bleached white flour, high in salt, and imbedded with chemicals making it almost impossible for the body to extract enough vitamins, minerals, essential fats, and other nutrients to survive.  An individual may experience inflammation contributing to poor digestion, a weakened autoimmune system, and difficulty with movement, all stemming from poor nutrition – all physical endpoints from dietary obstacles.

Some suggest environmental toxins contribute to American obesity. Toxins especially obesogens in foods, food packaging, and products for the home disrupt metabolism by triggering proteins in the body to increase fat cells. Contrary to the opinion of society, people can become fat because the toxins in their body activate their hormones to demand ingredients to create fat and not because people are lazy.

Industrial pollutants contaminate the air, soil, and water where people breathe them in and ingest them with their food and beverages. Prescribed and over-the-counter medications can affect body weight as some toxify the liver as the liver tries to metabolize the medication. Psychotropic medications are notorious for causing weight gain. A toxic liver cannot generate balanced hormones and there is a disruption of food metabolism causing significant weight gain from insulin resistance despite what a person consumes.

There are emotional barriers to losing weight as well. Emotional triggers cause people to eat to “bury the pain” or “squelch the anxiety”. Stress with its surges of cortisol and how that plays out in the body, both acutely and chronically, stems from the impact of a stimulus of fear with far-reaching impacts. All fears, except for the fear of falling, are learned through religion, cultures, and the artists of pseudo-science where many have taught people false ideas, that once may seemingly make sense but have been proven to be erroneous notions. “Eating fat will make you fat” is a notion that seemed to make sense though through exhaustive research has been found to be untrue. Unfortunately, the myth is perpetuated by the marketing of low-fat foods and gimmicky diets that work for some. For many, this notion has become a fear preventing people from eating the essential, natural, and healthy fats they need for their body to function well.

Spiritually and culturally, food and water are the essences of life. Core gatherings around holidays and major life events with family and friends include food and drink. There are many expectations around the recipes made and even how the food is consumed. For example, if the daughter is choosing not to eat foods that cause her inflammation issues conflicts may occur with the mother who cooked the traditional family feast in honor of the daughter coming home.  The daughter may feel compelled to eat what is harmful to her to please the mother. The daughter may also feel her life choices are unsupported and dishonored because of the mother’s reaction. This can develop into a deeply spiritual issue for the daughter.

While obesity is a matter of what goes into the body, food is not always at the center of the issue and it may be worth investing what the central issue is for the person who is struggling with their size.



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