A Cry For Health

There are two schools of thought in terms of body image: 1) Love your body as it currently stands or 2) Aim to achieve a body that you think reflects overall health. We often realize how far people go in their definition of “health”, pushing the boundaries of human anatomy in various ways, whether through muscle building, thinning down, or adding curves where there once was a flat plain. But, recently, in support of the sign of the times, many individuals are glorifying obesity, stating directly that t the fatter one is, the more beautiful one is, and the better one feels. These folks associate a sense of well-being, almost euphoria associated with eating past the point of fullness, and growing larger by the day. There are always several sides to a story, and it is likely that the “Supersizers” are not addressing the many complications associated with excessive weight like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and social stigma, to name a few. In addition, from a clinical standpoint, I believe there are significant physiological and psychological aspects that are driving this desire to be larger than life. It has been shown in animal studies that eating fat releases endorphins, or hormones that create a sense of joy and euphoria. Ironically, however, many compulsive eaters eat to inflict some type of abuse onto themselves in response to trauma, stress, or chronic depression, something we also observe in those with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, where the strive toward thinness stems from a series of traumatic events quite unrelated to body image in many cases. It is tragic to see how the glorification of the super size is masking what may be truly a psychological condition, and at the speed at which fat and sugar are readily available, there may not even be time for these individuals to receive the support they need.


About danirenouf

I have been a registered dietitian since 2003, and very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in industry, clinical nutrition, public health, and private practice. Currently, I am extremely excited about pursuing entrepreneurial ventures which start with my private consulting practice and branch out into the food and culinary industry. I am busy every day developing my own food products and recipes, adapting traditional cooking techniques and incorporating new and innovative ways to prepare nutritious, delicious food. I am passionate about everything food-related, and aspire to engage others in "getting to know their food" - not all of us are cooks, or need to be, but all of us need to eat.
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2 Responses to A Cry For Health

  1. suigeneris23 says:

    Hmmmm, I don’t know if that fat-worship (which I have yet to see), is really loving your body. I think loving your body is being thankful for a body, accepting it how it is, and wanting to treat it with kindness – real love. I think a lot of fatsies hate their body, and that hate and sadness often leads to overeating. Although not everyone is fat due to emotional eating, I think it would be a lot easier to get thin without that component. Most people know you need to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose fat, but many people are fat, not out of ignorance but because there are other components at play. For a great resource on losing weight for emotional eaters – see Martha Beck’s 4 Day Win.

  2. Alison says:

    I think this really speaks to looking at eating disorders/overeating in an addiction model. Like with drugs, people eat and eat and feel great and may be able to ignore or embrace the smaller side effects (looking fat). It’s not until it starts to kill them, or become very severe that the addict realizes the implications of what they’ve been doing. By then they’re so addicted to the endorphins involved it seems impossible to stop, even though they’ve now realized they need to change. Knowing the endorphin part also shows how dieters can go through withdrawal and so easily relapse and go back to the same overeating to gain that happy feeling again. (Makes me think of a diabetic making a meal plan with a dietician and thinking it will be great, but then after 2 days goes back to old habits, even though they logically know how serious the consequences can be.)
    As for inflicting abuse on oneself, I think it’s true for drugs, eating problems, and self injury that a person feels the need to harm oneself, but then also ends up feeling really good at the end of it (endorphins) it makes complete sense for them to do it. Of course, the quick fix has long term consequences that many people don’t realize until it’s too late.

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