In a world where 40 percent of American adults and 19 percent of our youth are obese, according to data released this month by the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, we are clearly in the midst of a national health crisis.
Obesity is not merely a matter of weight, but is usually also a symptom of systemic dysfunction, bodily breakdown, and of a health emergency.
It is also a symptom of a broken food system and of a poorly thought out regulatory framework for school food programs around the country.
Obesity is related to malnourishment and is one symptom that indicates other serious dysfunctions may be present or imminent including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cancer, digestive distress, organ failure and cognitive dysfunction.
Let’s be clear as we frame this sensitive issue: All thin people are not healthy. Being thin is not proof of good health. Thin people can be extremely unhealthy, too.
It is also important to understand that we each have different body types.
There is not one perfect weight or body.
As a society, if we can shake the notion of once size fits all perfection, and celebrate and appreciate the diversity of many beautiful, gorgeous human forms, we will be well on our way to understanding how to identify whether we are at an appropriate weight as a function of whether our body is healthy, not what the scale says.
Obesity is often blamed on overeating and lack of willpower.
Overweight people might think that something is inherently wrong with them because they cannot control their calorie intake.
I want to shatter this myth once and for all. The seeming lack of control is the body’s way of letting us know it needs something that it is not getting.
If we eat low nutrient foods (no matter what the calorie count is), the cravings never end and we keep eating in a desperate but futile attempt to nourish ourselves.
Obesity is one way the body indicates to us that it is not receiving the nutrients it needs to function in the easy and elegant manner that it was designed for.
It’s a symptom yelling at us: “HEY!!! Look at ME!!! I need HELP!! I need NOURISHMENT!!” Maybe also, I need “WATER and REST.”
Cravings can also indicate digestive dysfunction.
For those eating nutritious diets and still can’t find an easy weight balance, it might be that your digestive system is malfunctioning and not digesting the wonderful food you are eating.
This causes stress throughout the body and all functions are compromised.
Too many of us have weight goals but not health goals. People believe that if they can lose that 50 or 150 pounds, all will be well.
The problem with the weight goal is that weight itself is not the underlying problem – obesity is a symptom. Underlying malnourishment and any number of dysfunctions are the true problem.
If this is you, if your body is not regulating its weight properly, consider transitioning away from processed, packaged foods and towards a whole foods diet abundant in all the delicious, colorful nourishment that nature has to offer.
This is a complex issue with many root causes and many possible strategies to regain health. If you are struggling, seek out new ideas and new strategies to overcome your health crisis.
Be open to a paradigm shift in your thinking and find the support you need. It’s totally possible to move past the struggles of weight and all that comes with it with the right strategies for you.
This article was first published by the Chaffee County Times, Friday, October 20, 2017.
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