January 28

Why There is a Social Stigma Attached to Obesity


Why There is a Social Stigma Attached to Obesity

lowself-esteemThis is probably going to be one of my most controversial posts yet. Obesity or being overweight is a touchy subject for many. America’s waistlines are growing. A size 8 today is comparable to a size 12 when I was in High School. I look at high school girls and they are not as thin as they used to be. Sure, some girls are rail thin, but more often than not, girls now have “normal” bodies.

I’ve written in depth in the past how our foods and diet are now sugar laden and the denaturing of our food lends to increased hormones that mimic estrogen. Estrogen is what gives women soft curves. An estrogen mimicker will pad fat in all the wrong places as insulin increases.

Increased toxins in our food, water, and air also add fat to the body. Our body is an amazing system. Toxins are fat soluble and your body will wrap toxins in fat and put them in places where they cannot harm important organ function. Cellulite is actually toxins trapped under the skin.

Stress is a big contributor to a growing waist line. Cortisol is released into the body when under stress. The adrenals control the endocrine system and the thyroid. When your adrenal system is overworked, the thyroid shuts down and the body gains fat. This is just addressing the external factors that lead to weight gain, but why is it that not everyone is overweight, even when they breathe the same air, eat the same foods and experience the same amount of stress? I believe this all points to the internal factor, which is the focus of this blog post.

Few people understand the role of emotions or self-worth in health. How we feel about the world and how we feel about ourselves affect our health and our appearance. Everyone is looking for the next great diet book, diet pills, or fat loss surgery but no one addresses the core of the issue. Just like in diseases, the people that overcome and triumph over a disease have a complete change of perspective on life and their self. If they believe they are not good enough and not deserving, their reality will match that and give them a seemingly non-deserving disease. So many times we rarely know what is going on inside someone. Some people will put up a brave front and you will never know what they are truly feeling inside. Obesity and being overweight is the same thing.

This same principal holds true for overweight people. People who lose weight and can successfully keep it off instead of yo-yo dieting have undergone a complete change of perspective of self and life.

I can speak from experience with this subject. I went from a model, gaining popularity in a popular national magazine, to being overweight and hiding for the majority of my adulthood. I can tell you how different society treats you when you are thin and beautiful and when you are overweight.

While I was not obese, I was overweight. Having children just gave me an excuse to put weight on and keep it on. Beautiful people do get certain privileges in life. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is how our society works. Fair has nothing to do with reality. Reality is that beauty is an automatic green light to many things. I’m not saying people that were not born with natural, perfect beauty cannot get ahead, people are gifted in many different ways. I am saying that beauty does open several doors, while being overweight slams those doors. I’ve had many years to analyze this as both an observer and participant. Pursing psychology in college as an adult let me delve deeper into understanding the core emotions that rule certain situations and actions.

Anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about food; specifically pure, healthy foods. I love food. Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” This is a principle I stand behind. Live food equals life. Denatured, processed, energetically dead food equals death. There is not any argument that food can make or break our health, but there is a deeper issue. Why do people choose bad foods over good foods and how does this affect each individual person?

Food is comfort to many people. Food is the best friend or significant other that will never leave you or judge you. Food is readily available at all hours of the day or night. Many people equate food with good feelings and celebrations. Birthdays usually center around you and eating, whether it is dinner and cake or just cake. Celebrations usually occur in a restaurant. We reward good behavior with a treat or something sweet. If you look at the sugar on the back of any package, you will quickly see how many times you are unknowingly treating yourself. It is no wonder food is our comfort. What feels better than to have a tummy full of your favorite dish?

When does food go from being a comfort to being something someone uses as protection? Many times we can look at someone’s childhood to determine why food is being used as protection. How safe did you feel during your childhood? Did you often feel like you didn’t fit in? That you didn’t fit in to your family? Did you feel that neither your mother or father liked you? Did you feel like you fit in at school? Did you feel undervalued and that no one really understood or cared about you?

People are often surprised to find out that I never felt like I fit in growing up. I was athletic, received good grades, had popular friends and boyfriends. I was a cheerleader, prom queen and later a successful model. Yet I had this dark place in me that always said I didn’t fit in and I wasn’t good enough. I was very hard on myself for perceived failures and took it very personal if someone didn’t like me.

I know I used food in order to feel safe. I knew that if I was fat, I would no longer stand out in a crowd and men would not approach me. I figured people would listen to what I had to say instead of staring at my breasts or wanting to just sleep with me or even pre-judging me because I was pretty.  I figured I could finally be human in people’s eyes and I would have a voice. I was wrong.

Food matters and what we put into our bodies matter. Food is just result. We make food choices because of our mental, emotional and spiritual state. Being overweight or beautiful is more a function of our mental, emotional and spiritual states then eating. People that choose to eat healthy foods care about themselves and this self love shows. I think it is why obese people are such a turn off to society; obese people harbor a great deal of self-rejection, and it is very apparent. There is nothing worse than a lack of respect. If someone cannot respect themselves, then why should other people?

This is the silent message that is broadcast to every person in the quantum consciousness. No one wants to hear that because truth is very hard sometimes. It’s hard to care about yourself. It’s hard to see value in yourself when you have spent so much time thinking that you are not worth it. It’s hard to value yourself if people around you have not valued you. I’ve lived both lives and there is a difference in how you feel about you and how others treat you. There isn’t a single overweight person that wants to hear that people do not like them because how they feel about themselves is apparent.

I would really get offended when I would hear a thin person, especially a male, judge someone overweight. I would often hear crude, demeaning remarks along with the term lazy. I wasn’t lazy, or was I? Was I in denial? You bet. I didn’t want to go to a gym to work out everyday, eat small portions of healthy food, read labels to understand what I was putting in my body, or drink a gallon of water because I needed my friend, my food, as protection against the cruel world.

There is a great responsibility in admitting that you are overweight because of you; because of your past that you are holding onto. I hear (and had them myself) a million excuses as to why someone is overweight. All of my reasons were valid; my metabolism was slow, my thyroid was not working, my hormones were out of whack, and I had sick kids that left me stressed and tired. I didn’t have time to worry about me. But I was still shirking responsibility. One day, I looked at myself in truth and I had to face the fact, I was lazy and I didn’t respect myself and it showed. I put my self-denial and lack of respect on display for the world to see. I might as well have been carrying around a marquis sign that said LOW SELF-ESTEEM.

My knowledge on the subject of being overweight may be unpopular to some, but it is true. It is often why people who lose weight quickly through bariatric surgery, look worse and feel worse. They now have loose, hanging skin in which to focus their hatred of themselves on. Gravity is not kind and neither is self abuse.

I now help people to overcome their dietary sabotage, just like I overcame mine.

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    1. When I was thin, I’m not sure I understood either. It wasn’t until I gained weight during my pregnancies (and kept it after) that I got to walk in other’s shoes, so to speak. I started to see where I slowly felt not worth it. Society treats you different. Maybe not badly, but different. Walking both sides of that, I was able to understand and piece it all together with my self esteem and the message I was sending. In a way, I am glad you don’t understand and I hope you never have to. A healthy reflection of yourself is so important. Keep that, no matter what.

    1. It is my hope that people here will be helped by my words and the life I have lived. People need not despair. There are people out there that care, without even personally knowing someone. I care. This is why I write this blog.

  1. Yep, that’s exactly right. Obesity is an advertisement to the world that a person has issues that get in the way of taking care of himself or herself.

    I opined on the same theme myself, just last week!



    when you get into “morbid obesity” and “super morbid obesity” (which is where I was a year ago), it’s like wearing a big sign that says “I’m a mess. I may be high-functioning and in denial about it, but scratch below that veneer, and you’ll find a messy unresolved issue.”

    No wonder people often give other Very Large People a wide berth. It isn’t necessarily right or fair or kind, but it does make sense.

    1. I agree. It’s not right or fair, but it is what IS. Until we can all treat ourselves with respect (and think we are deserving) no matter what our size, other people will treat us that same way. I always say that people will live up to or down to your expectations. That includes the expectations you have for yourself. If you think you are not good enough, pretty enough, handsome enough, or worth it to be loved, people will live (down) to your expectation of yourself. You will attract people that have that in them to treat you that way. You are worth more. We are all worth more.

  2. I want to tell you my story. I work in a field that has been out in the public. I have been overweight for much of my life. I have been on diets, seen doctors and wellness practitioners. No one has been able to help me. I read this and it all came together for me. I want to get healthy. I want to know what supplements to take. I know I have emotions and this has been my problem my whole life. I will be calling you for an appointment. Thank you so much for writing this. You are exactly right and I have searched for years for this answer.

    1. Leslie,
      My heart goes out to you. Keep working at it because you are worth it.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

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