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Counselor Morgan Randall's blog, bookstore and more. A place to explore the paradigm shift to systems thinking that views body and mind as one

Overweight and out of sorts

Obesity is a tricky wicket to squeeze through for everyone involved—the overweight person, her family, her employers and her doctors. It’s obvious that there is a physical component and a mental health component to the issue. After years of being overweight, self esteem, at the very least, could be damaged.  And, yes, let’s not mince words, it’s a problem. Obesity limits life choices at one end of the continuum and kills at the other and that is simply sad. For the adipose to achieve an optimum weight and keep it, psychotherapeutic support is essential. 

It seems that some people cannot lose much weight no matter what they do. His or her body simply keeps stashing fat in fat cells, even going so far as to steal resources from muscles and organs to create the fat tissue her genetic blueprint demands. On the other hand, anyone can be healthier and happier by caring for themselves by regulating anxiety effectively—the central factor in losing weight and keeping it off.

Losing weight is not a moral issue. It is not about gluttony or sloth. It is not about controlling how much we eat and exercising more. We can eat almost as much as we wish once we get stress under control and stop eating things that drive sensations of hunger. So the hard part is changing what we eat, understanding psycho-emotional and  hormonal drives that push us to eat unhealthy foods, and attaining the emotional regulatory skills necessary to be able to lower anxiety-activating stress that forces our brains to chose unhealthy foods to mask and mitigate anxiety. Nothing like a gooey candy bar to numb out an over-anxious amygdala, eh?

So here’s the million dollar question: do you feel you deserve to receive the emotional support you need to choose good health? If you feel you do, please give me a call. I’m happy to give you more information about how we can help you help yourself. 

And check out the segment below from one of my favorite books on the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimers swallowing this country alive. Please note: Taubes does not mention why we are driven by an anxiety-ridden society toward the carbs that make us fat. He only explains why we get fat physiologically. As usual, any problem worth calling a problem is complex and has more than one causal factor, but he does a good job explaining the carbohydrate-insulin connection.—MR

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It

by Gary Taubes, 2010.

…As it turns out, two factors will essentially determine how much fat we accumulate, both having to do with the hormone insulin. First, when insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue; when these levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel. This has been known since the early 1960s and has never been controversial.

Second, our insulin levels are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat—not entirely, but for all intents and purposes. The more carbohydrates we eat, and the easier they are to digest and the sweeter they are, the more insulin we will ultimately secrete, meaning that the level of it in our bloodstream is greater and so is the fat we retain in our fat cells. “Carbohydrate is driving insulin is driving fat,” is how George Cahill, a former professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recently described this to me.

Cahill had done some of the early research on the regulation of fat accumulation in the 1950s, and then he coedited an eight-hundred-page American Physiological Society compendium of this research that was published in 1965. In other words, the science itself makes clear that hormones, enzymes, and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat.

The science tells us that obesity is ultimately the result of a hormonal imbalance, not a caloricone—specifically, the stimulation of insulin secretion caused by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: refined carbohydrates, including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. These carbohydrates literally make us fat, and by driving us to accumulate fat, they make us hungrier and they make us sedentary…

 

August 12th, 2012 | Permalink

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