Obesity - an illness?


#1

I used to be very active in writing articles while in the weight loss stage, since being in maintenance I have taken more of a watching brief. But something has been on my mind for some time so I thought I’d get it down and see if I’m alone.

In the last couple of years there has been a real focus by the government, charities and celebrities to increase awareness of mental illness. Personally I think it’s been refreshing and it is a watershed moment for me in moving forward the health of the country.

Now for decades it’s been accepted that things like bulimia and anorexia are illnesses, the added focus on mental health has meant that people should rightly get treatment for these illnesses quicker and without repercussion or judgement.

Now that brings me on to obesity, in itself I wouldn’t put this down as an illness but what I would definitely describe it as is a symptom.

Now I suspect their are people whose obesity is down to a physical condition, or for some just a lack of education. My theory is a majority of people have mental issues when it comes to food which is causing them to be overweight.

How does the health and weight loss industry treat obesity; diet, exercise, maybe surgery. All these do is treat the symptom without ever tackling the cause. That’s like somebody having a hole in their roof and putting a bucket under the leak.

After 2 years of maintenance you might challenge this theory but it’s precisely why I feel I need to write this. My bucket is full, and while I can continue to empty my bucket I’m not sure how I can fix my leaking roof when there isn’t the wide acceptance that I have a health problem. I accept I have a mental health issue, I binge eat. I get into a space where I can’t stop myself, if there’s food available I can’t stop thinking about it. If there’s one piece of cake left I’m thinking how do I make sure I’m the one who eats it. If my kids are eating something tasty I hope they leave a little for me to finish. I’m not well.

I get free private health care through work, including an anonymous help line. I can’t bring myself to phone it as I don’t have a symptom any more (I’m not obese) and dont know how to describe what I have.

So here’s the challenge, how do we as a community make a difference? How do we move this forward as they have with other mental illnesses such as depression, or addiction like gambling or alcohol. How do we make it widely accepted?

Now I almost deleted this post as it was hard to write, but it’s an important subject. I would love for it to trend or get out there because people need to talk about it!


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#2

100% agree that for many (not all) its a mental issue first from what ive seen over the years


#3

It is a tough one to talk about, and one that people are happy not to even try to address it.
I know for myself, as someone that has been obese for over 20 years, I have seen my weight increase at times of mental health issues and I maintain or lose when my head is in a good place.
People are often able to sympathise with people that have issues with gambling, alcohol, drug addiction (to a certain amount), bulimia and anorexia, and see them as illness’ - but when it comes to over eating and obesity it appears people are less understanding and it’s easy to see it as just being greedy and lazy.
There are so many things to unravel when it comes to obesity that it’s hard to know where to start.

Thank you for starting to talk about this.