I’ve been sparked to write this post after an eye-opening conversation with a fellow natural health practitioner who believes that anyone who is overweight is simply eating too much and not exercising. I honestly cannot believe that in today’s society, with all the research and information we have, there is a holistic practitioner who still adheres to the theory of energy in and energy out.
The old theory went like this: weight gain is simply a case of consuming more energy (food) than you are using (exercise). So, to lose weight, people were instructed to simply output more energy (exercise) than the energy they are consuming (food). Sounds simple, right? If ONLY it were actually that simple! I’m positive that if weight loss really was as simple as that, no one would have a weight problem.
All that theory does is put the blame on the overweight person. The person who is overweight because they feel inadequate. The person who eats to numb their feelings. Yes, that person who is struggling.. let’s place more blame on them, and make them feel even WORSE about themselves! That will help them to lose weight, right?!
I’m sure you can sense my frustration.
I see weight gain as a symptom of a deeper problem. Sure, the wrong foods in the wrong amounts are involved in weight gain. And sure, some of us might not be exercising as much as we should be. But you know that size 4 model on the runway? She consumed nothing but coffee for 3 days before the show to dehydrate herself to appear thinner. She exercises for 6 hours per day until she throws up. Do you think that’s healthy? No way in hell. Does anyone call her out and BLAME her for being unhealthy? Nope, they celebrate her slim figure, and tell women that we should all aim to look like that.
So don’t blame someone who is overweight, as if it is all their fault. Blame the dieting industry for selling products that don’t work. Blame the media for making us feel like a worthless piece of crap unless we’re the “right size” and wearing the right clothes for the season. Blame every single person who has ever judged you for gaining weight but didn’t ask you if you were doing okay. Because I have struggled with my weight, over the years I’ve gone up and down like a yo-yo. And not once did anyone ask me if I was okay. And I’m not talking physically okay. I’m talking about my mental health.
Do you know how it feels to not want to get out of bed in the morning? Do you know how it feels to have no hope for the future? Do you know how it feels to be judged for your weight, when all you need is a shoulder to cry on? Weight problems go SO much deeper than just food and exercise. For me, I was in a fairly deep state of depression (mixed with a bit of anxiety just for fun) every single time I gained weight. And this is not a case of the chicken and the egg, I know what came first. Every time my emotional and mental health spiralled downwards, my weight spiralled upwards. And the crappy cycle continued until I was able to break free from it.
To tell someone that their weight is THEIR FAULT without delving deeper into the other issues contributing to their weight gain – well that’s just plain ignorant. Let’s look at some of the reasons why someone might not be living a healthy lifestyle..
A few of the reasons why people eat too much:
- low energy
- low mood/depression
- addiction (yes, you can be addicted to food or even just certain foods or components of food)
- emotional turmoil (emotional eating)
- stress and adrenal fatigue
- lack of understanding of health and food
- unhealthy body image
A few of the reasons why people don’t exercise enough:
- low energy
- low mood/depression
- stress and adrenal fatigue
- pre-existing medical conditions
- unhealthy relationship with their bodies
Your energy can be low for a range of reasons – without addressing the CAUSE of that low energy, you can’t expect someone to completely overhaul their food choices and exercise routine without enough energy to sustain it. Depression can be so debilitating that every day is just a matter of surviving – and you’re going to tell that person to go for a run every day and spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a salad and healthy smoothie? It’s not addressing what is going on internally! It’s not going to be sustainable and it’s not going to help them in the long-term. And in the short term? It’s only going to give that person one more thing to fail at, one more reason to hate themselves, one more reason to give up and one more reason to suppress their emotional pain through food.
Inflammation. Toxicity. Hormonal imbalances. Hypothyroidism. Hypo- and hyperglycaemia. Stress and adrenal fatigue. These are all reasons for weight gain that are not as simple as what you eat and how much you exercise.
If you are reading this, and struggling with your weight, PLEASE don’t let anyone tell you that it is your fault. Find a practitioner who will help you address the deeper aspects of your weight and your health.
If you are reading this, and you know someone who is struggling with their weight, PLEASE ask them if they’re okay. Let them know that you don’t judge them, and that you’re there for them.
And if you’re reading this, and you’re a practitioner or other therapist dealing with overweight persons, PLEASE don’t be as small-minded as to believe it’s just about food and exercise. Those people need your understanding and your support, or else they will never succeed in losing weight for good. Don’t be just another person who judges them, lowers their self-worth and makes them feel like a failure.
P.S. If you feel like food cravings are holding you back from staying consistent with your eating habits, click here to download my FREE food cravings guide.
P.P.S. If you’d like to work 1:1 with a qualified practitioner who is completely non-judgmental and understands what you’re going through, you can click here to book a free intro session via phone or video call.
I’d love to hear your story: have you been judged or dismissed because of your weight? Do you feel listened to by health professionals, or are they making assumptions about you without delving into the possible causes of your weight struggles? Comment below and let me know your experience.