Weight Loss Support - Obesity : Disease or Addiction




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mammasita
01-25-2007, 04:08 PM
I'm interested in hearing some of your input. For me being overweight has been an addiciton that I've struggled with my entire life. I've been addicted to food, therefore I could never keep any weight off. Sure I could lose weight, but it was always temporary, because the addiction would come creeping back and BOOM, back to square one.

What do you think?


veggielover
01-25-2007, 04:23 PM
I'll be very honest about the definition of DISEASE. Disease covers any naturally occuring metabolic disorders and it also occasionally covers infections (nowadays the govt defines the two of them to be separate, but they may have the same damaging effects on the body). This is MY opinion and no one elses, keep in mind; I don't believe obesity is a disease itself, to me being obese just places you at high risk for health disadvantages, whether that be cancer, heart disease, whatever. However, I personally wouldnt call obesity a disease. As an addiction, unless you've got some sort of hormonal disfunction, an addiction's purely neurochemical in the sense that it does something to your CNS. Someone else mentioned on this forum that being addicted to food is like no other substance in the world- because we constantly rely on food, there's no sure shot way of completely giving it up like you would on caffeine, drugs or alcohol. Isn't it strange? I was so compulsive with food many years ago that I just couldnt enjoy myself without food. Nowadays, keeping my mind of it works so much better, and eating with intuition works so well for me.

sotypical
01-25-2007, 04:53 PM
Obesity isn't a disease; I believe addiction is. Eating can be an addiction like anything else. And addiction is a disease.
http://www.medical-online.com/addict.htm

Let me dig up that post veggielover is talking about...


Beach Patrol
01-25-2007, 04:59 PM
Dare I say it? It's BOTH. Anything your body does that it is supposed to do is called "normal" - but how can gaining 20 pounds in two months because you started taking a certain medication be called NORMAL? So I do think it's somewhat of a disease. A disease that CAN BE controlled, mind you - even beaten! (Tho, obviously, I haven't found the magic yet!)

I also do think it's very much of an addiction. I've always said that alcohol & drugs & smoking & biting your nails & gambling & shopping & so forth are addictions that CAN be controlled, & even completely conquered - BUT NOT FOOD ADDICTIONS - because we must have food to live. Is it possible to conquer one's chocoholism? Sure. But I admit - I've never known ANYONE to do it! ;) :D

sotypical
01-25-2007, 05:03 PM
here is the thread
http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=94936

simone1ca
01-25-2007, 05:03 PM
I think it's both. I think it's a mental disorder just like any other addiction.

veggielover
01-25-2007, 05:14 PM
well, I think what others might be thinking is that its somewhat psychological in terms of addiction. I believe addiction is a psychological disorder. Although, for me, somehow I managed to snap out of it, face reality and took my mom's advice (she basically threatened to slap my face if I didn't stop being so compulsive, which, might not be effective for everyone but it was for me!) I wasn;t ever obese at any point of my life, so I can't specifically judge that.

Good luck on the goals, hit it with courage, and remember, ONE STEP AT A TIME.

lilybelle
01-25-2007, 05:17 PM
beach patrol, my Dr. had an interesting take on the wt. gain with medicine. When he griped at me about my wt. , I cried and said that I had gained 50 lbs. in 3 yrs. since starting the high dose of steroids (prednisone). He calmly said the pill didn't cause the weight gain, what you chose to put in your mouth did. He said if a pill could cause a huge wt. gain, it would be given to all the starving children in foreign countries to help them gain wt. and keep them from starving. I had to really think about that one. Yes, steroids made me hungry but I chose to eat KFC, McDonald's , Taco bell. All that is what made me fat.

I think obesity is an addiction and I have it and will always have to fight temptation where food is concerned. I also think it is a symptom sometimes of other diseases such as hypothyroidism or metabolic diseases where the body doesn't metabolize food the way it should. For me, it's the same as I quit smoking 11 yrs. ago and still want a cigarette sometimes. I imagine 11 yrs. from now, I'll still want cheesecake too.

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 05:28 PM
I believe it's NEITHER.

I caused my obesity by overeating and being inactive. That's no disease. Although it should probably be a crime. :D .

I've often said food was my drug of choice. Comparing it to drug and alcohol abuse. But I'm just not so sure if it is a real addiction.

I look at it more as a really, really bad habit.

amberyl
01-25-2007, 05:28 PM
I believe that obesity is a disease that fuels addiction that in turn worsens the disease. My entire family history is riddled with heart disease, diabetes, renal diseases, high cholesterol, etc. The preventative treatment for these diseases is almost always a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that, unfortunately, is usually packed with added sugar to enhance flavor. Sugar in any form is hugely addictive for me and I need to avoid it at all costs. So in trying to prevent the onset or progression of certain other diseases, I'm laying myself open to my sugar addiction, which in turn only worsens the obesity. And since the addiction / obesity issues are prevalent throughout my entire extended family, I have to believe that obesity itself is a disease.

Either way, I'm a terribly effective storage facility for unwanted pounds. :)

sotypical
01-25-2007, 06:03 PM
For me, it's the same as I quit smoking 11 yrs. ago and still want a cigarette sometimes. I imagine 11 yrs. from now, I'll still want cheesecake too.

It's actually chemicals in the brain.

Take for example someone addicted to herion. They can use herion for years, and it builds up so they need more and more to get that high that makes them feel good. They are at the point where they are almost dying when they go to rehab (or whatever) and stop using for... say... 10 years. Even after 10 years all it will take is ONE HIT to take them EXACTLY back to the place they were that day they went to rehab.

Your brain never forgets that addiction, and it ever gets less. It stays in the same place and waits for you to do it again and picks up right where it left off.

If that makes sense.

I think for me, thats why I can go without pizza, cookies, chips etc - but as soon as I have ONE BITE or taste of anything of those, I start craving it all.

Your body never forgets that addiction - that is where will power comes into play.

I just want to say, that in no way do I know it all. Feel free to correct me on anything if you feel it is wrong - I am going by what I leanred from one of the best treatment centers (www.edgewood.ca) - doesn't mean they know it all either ;) haha

almostheaven
01-25-2007, 06:16 PM
I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.

veggielover
01-25-2007, 06:18 PM
THE WORD obesity refers to being obese right? Obesity isn't the same as addiction, i think these words confuse each other. Obesity isn't always CAUSED by overeating, some people have metabolic disorders that result in obesity even though they aren't addicted to eating (I know a woman who barely eats over 1300 calories and is obese, so obesity isnt always caused by addiction, and addiction to foods doesn't always result in obesity)

Here is a definition from the NIH, the government's national institute of health, which is practically where research is funded:
"Obesity is a term used to describe body weight that is much greater than what is considered healthy. There are many ways to determine if a person is obese, but experts believe that a person's body mass index (BMI) is the most accurate measurement of body fat for children and adults."

Now let's compare it to a definition given to us by the American Obesity Association:
"Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million)."

What gives the AOA the right to classify it as a disease if the government thinks obesity refers to a physical state??? Here's why they believe it to be so, in fact, they state that:
"Obesity is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths.

* Despite its toll taken in death and disability, obesity does not receive the attention it deserves from government, the health care profession or the insurance industry. "

The thing is though, there's a fine line between diseases like cancer and "diseases" like obesity. Cancer is considered a disease by the government, whereas obesity to the government, refers to the physical state, using a BMI scale. Why is this such a big deal? Because the government and insurance companies believe you can use preventative measures to "cure" obesity, while cancer can't be cured. There are ways to LOWER your risk of cancer, but lowering your "risk" of obesity is more obvious. Insurance won't care if you think you need medical attention because to them its not economically feasible to include all the special treatments you can get just because you're more than overweight. They'd prefer to say "Umm, yeah. No gastric bypass, you should just stop eating so much and get some exercise". Where as cancer, they can't say much to a patient except sympathetic things.

I personally believe obesity refers to the government's only because miriam webster would agree with it. In fact, here's M-W's definition:
Main Entry: obe·si·ty
Pronunciation: O-'bE-s&-tE
Function: noun
: a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body


Why does the AOA believe it to be a disease? I don't know, but all I know is that obesity, being "the second leading cause of death" is a pretty big conclusion. (First of all, when you reach the "obese state", I don't think you'll have a high chance of dying right away. You have to develop some disease as a result of being obese, whether it be heart disease, or something else to die. I mean, no one dies PURELY AS A RESULT of being overweight, do they? When the coroner exams some obese corpse, he'she wouldnt ever write on the claim, "this person died as a result of being too fat".) I know many obese people who've lived many years being in that state. Cancer, however, will eventually get you if it metastasizes...

Am I making any sense or does everyone want to think that being obese is a disease? In some ways, I believe what RockinRobin said is why the AOA believes it to be a disease; to simply alleviate the responsibility of preventative health and start pushing our government for more help.

veggielover
01-25-2007, 06:20 PM
I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.


MY OPINION ON WHAT THE AOA does exactly! High five!

JayEll
01-25-2007, 06:27 PM
I like what almostheaven says.

I think it's different things in different cases. There are people who actually have a metabolic tendency, and it could be inherited, that causes them to gain weight when other people would not. There are other people who crave foods and find some foods irresistible, and that acts like an addiction--especially in a land where certain foods are relatively cheap and always available, like sugar. Still others learn to eat to deal with emotions--that's not exactly an addiction, but it is a form of self-medicating. And some people's metabolism changes over time--they start out "normal" and then gain as they get older. This last one is the case for MOST people in the country, I think. Look at pictures of your parents or grandparents when they were young and how they look now. So it's not as simple as saying it's an addiction or it's a disease.

It may be NORMAL for some people to develop obesity if they have high-calorie foods readily available and no limits on how much they can get and eat--coupled with a society where working hard no longer means manual labor but may mean sitting at a desk all day.

That's why for so many of us, we have to re-educate ourselves about eating and physical activity. What is food? Why do we eat? When do we stop? What do we do with our bodies? It's an ongoing thing.

Jay

willmakeit
01-25-2007, 06:34 PM
It varies from individual to individual...

For me, I dont see when and what more did I eat compared to my skinnier friends. They probably eat more than me. I have not had a candy/chocolate/latte for years and years! and most of my friends and collegues keep boxes of Rocher on their desks. I exercise every single day and they may or may not! eat piles of cookies or muffins at lunch lectures whereas I am just compromising on a plain iced tea! they lose 10 lbs in 2months by just cutting down on fatty foods and It takes 6 months for me to burn 6 lbs by exercise and salad diet and I gain it back within 1 week of a vacation!!!

Its harder for me to lose weight even with rigorous exercise and diet.

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 06:40 PM
Whether obesity is an addiction or a disease is a debateable issue I suppose.

But aside from the rare cases of real metabollic problems it is most definitely controllable. In cases of a whole family being obese, that's usually because, ummm hello, they all have the same eating habits. The good news is, that habits can be changed. With determination and commitment. The brain is reprogrammable. Am I going to always want a piece of cheesecake, well yeah, but I do want it less and less, and just becasue I want it doesn't mean that I have to give in and have it. I have new habits now. Eating something just because I want it is no longer an option for me. Because that's how I choose to live.

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:07 PM
I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.

I am sorry, but after growing up with addicts - a addict can not control their addiction.

I do agree with people looking for excuses, but for a person who TRULEY has an addiction it is not that easy to just control it. I am not talking about someone who just likes to eat - haha. I just want to make that clear. I believe most people can control what they eat if they want to, but some truley can not.

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:12 PM
THE WORD obesity refers to being obese right? Obesity isn't the same as addiction, i think these words confuse each other. Obesity isn't always CAUSED by overeating, some people have metabolic disorders that result in obesity even though they aren't addicted to eating (I know a woman who barely eats over 1300 calories and is obese, so obesity isnt always caused by addiction, and addiction to foods doesn't always result in obesity)

Here is a definition from the NIH, the government's national institute of health, which is practically where research is funded:
"Obesity is a term used to describe body weight that is much greater than what is considered healthy. There are many ways to determine if a person is obese, but experts believe that a person's body mass index (BMI) is the most accurate measurement of body fat for children and adults."

Now let's compare it to a definition given to us by the American Obesity Association:
"Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million)."

What gives the AOA the right to classify it as a disease if the government thinks obesity refers to a physical state??? Here's why they believe it to be so, in fact, they state that:
"Obesity is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths.

* Despite its toll taken in death and disability, obesity does not receive the attention it deserves from government, the health care profession or the insurance industry. "

The thing is though, there's a fine line between diseases like cancer and "diseases" like obesity. Cancer is considered a disease by the government, whereas obesity to the government, refers to the physical state, using a BMI scale. Why is this such a big deal? Because the government and insurance companies believe you can use preventative measures to "cure" obesity, while cancer can't be cured. There are ways to LOWER your risk of cancer, but lowering your "risk" of obesity is more obvious. Insurance won't care if you think you need medical attention because to them its not economically feasible to include all the special treatments you can get just because you're more than overweight. They'd prefer to say "Umm, yeah. No gastric bypass, you should just stop eating so much and get some exercise". Where as cancer, they can't say much to a patient except sympathetic things.

I personally believe obesity refers to the government's only because miriam webster would agree with it. In fact, here's M-W's definition:
Main Entry: obe·si·ty
Pronunciation: O-'bE-s&-tE
Function: noun
: a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body


Why does the AOA believe it to be a disease? I don't know, but all I know is that obesity, being "the second leading cause of death" is a pretty big conclusion. (First of all, when you reach the "obese state", I don't think you'll have a high chance of dying right away. You have to develop some disease as a result of being obese, whether it be heart disease, or something else to die. I mean, no one dies PURELY AS A RESULT of being overweight, do they? When the coroner exams some obese corpse, he'she wouldnt ever write on the claim, "this person died as a result of being too fat".) I know many obese people who've lived many years being in that state. Cancer, however, will eventually get you if it metastasizes...

Am I making any sense or does everyone want to think that being obese is a disease? In some ways, I believe what RockinRobin said is why the AOA believes it to be a disease; to simply alleviate the responsibility of preventative health and start pushing our government for more help.

That was awesome thanks. I do NOT think that being obese is a disease - I think the addiction is the disease. If that addiction causes you to be obses so be it, but obesity is not a disease in itself. Sure I was obese but that was my own fault; however, I believe my addictive behaviour is not.

veggielover
01-25-2007, 07:23 PM
That was awesome thanks. I do NOT think that being obese is a disease - I think the addiction is the disease. If that addiction causes you to be obses so be it, but obesity is not a disease in itself. Sure I was obese but that was my own fault; however, I believe my addictive behaviour is not.

Courtnie, true addictions, like you said, I believe are diseases because they are psychological disorders when people cannot control themselves. In fact, its more mental than physical, so I believe addiction is one. (But by now, i'm sure you know how I feel about the world obesity and whether or not its a disease ;) )

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 07:28 PM
- a addict can not control their addiction.




So then why am I controlling it? And so many people around here, for way longer then myself.

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:31 PM
The thing about addiction, when you quit one you more often then not just move onto something else to fill that void. So being obese is nothing but a cause from the addiction. Every addiction has a cause and almost always a bad one - but is being abonaned your family a disease?

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:35 PM
So then why am I controlling it? And so many people around here, for way longer then myself.

I am sorry, that didn't come out like I wanted. An addict can control their addiction but it will always be there. A person with a REAL addictive personality will always have that personality and will more often then not replace that with something else.

While I say I am addicted to food, I do not call myself a true addict. Addiction is a genetic disorder and usually runs in the family - usually skipping a generation. Witch would explain why my sisters addictive personality is stronger then mine.

My mom is an addict. She almost lost everything and still couldn't control her problem. She spent 2 months in treatment to learn to deal with it and control it. She doesn't drink anymore, but she picked up smoking and eating to fill that void. And she still thinks about drinking.

My cousin is addicted to pain killers. The doctor cut off her supply so she started using herion. She had a brand new baby at the beginning of November, two days after going home she just up and left this brand new baby to defend for itself. Do you think she can just control her addiction? I don't see that happening without some serious help. As harsh as this sounds, our family is waiting for the phone call that she is either dead or in jail. She has been to jail already, been to rehabd, been in the hosptal (after trying to kill herself)

So while you may be controling your addiction, I dont believe it will ever fully go away.

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 07:39 PM
I am no expert here, but I believe addictions are controllable. Very difficult, but possible. The desire to always want that item may subside, but never totally cease. That's why they say alcoholics are recovering, not cured. It's an ongoing process. A recovering alcoholic has made the decision to stop drinking. A so called food addict, myself included has made the decision to stop overeating.

We all have our reasons as to why we chose to overeat. And like you said it, most often, but not always stems from something negative. We chose food to deal with our problems or situations or boredom or whatever. But we can also choose to stop dealing with our problems with food.

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:41 PM
I am no expert here, but I believe addictions are controllable. Very difficult, but possible. The desire to always want that item may subside, but never totally cease. That's why they say alcoholics are recovering, not cured. It's an ongoing process. A recovering alcoholic has made the decision to stop drinking. A so called food addict, myself included has made the decision to stop overeating.

Thank you for saying what I wanted to in a much better way, haha.

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 07:45 PM
You posted while I was posting. Yes, I agree I don't think it will ever go away. But nevertheless it is my choice as to how I handle it.

I'm very sorry about your cousin. I think (and hope) that eventually she will be able to control it. But obviously right now, she is beyond being able to. With help, maybe one day she will. She has to WANT to though. My heart goes out to you and your family and that little baby. I hope this all ends postivelly for your cousin and everyone involved.

rockinrobin
01-25-2007, 07:47 PM
Again, we posted at the same time.

Your welcome. You're going through a rough time now, don't worry about your words coming out wrong. It's not that important really. Take care of yourself. :hug:

sotypical
01-25-2007, 07:51 PM
She has to WANT to though.

I TOTALLY agree. I tried for years to lose weight and then finally I woke up one morning with a completely different look on everything. The feeling this time was so much different then all the rest... because I really wanted it.

Thank you. As some of you can probably see now why I have such a strong view on this. So I am sorry if I offend anyone. Things will be okay, that new little baby and her two other young kids are in good hands with her husband and grandma. They have child services helping :)

srmb60
01-25-2007, 08:05 PM
I believe (so it's just my opinion) that obesity is a manifestation of other disorders (physical and/or psychological). It is not a disease or an addiction, it is a symptom. And while you may have to get to the root of the problem, if it's physical, before you can start losing weight, I don't think you have to fix all the problems of your mind first.
Addiction? Sure, you can be addicted to anything, food included. Whether it is an addiction or a horribly ingrained habit ... don't matter ... either one is a bugger to fix.

Jasmine31
01-25-2007, 10:20 PM
I agree with robin and Susan, just skimmed over the rest. I heard once that "people think they need to lose weight to be happy, but someone realized that they needed to be HAPPY (first) to LOSE weight. Something like that and I agree completely. Which would also tie in with the physchology. Kind of like, 'What's eating YOU'. I do agree the food problem is just the tip of the ice berg and other problems need to be dealt with. I do understand what sotypical is saying about addictions and sometimes people find other addictions. That is true and unfortunate but not in all cases.

I think they can also get to a better point in their lives, wake up and START caring about themselves, or also actually DEAL with the original problems. With my ex I went from being overweight, ranging from 170-200 to being extremely overweight! I wound up at 280 pounds! I was extremely depressed, didn't care how I looked, he was gone all the time, eventually it got to a point where I knew he didn't care about me or our kids and it was just really bad. I met Joey and I was a wreck! He took a person who felt completely unlobvable, hideous, I could go on all day. Anyhow he accepted m,e and loved me for the wonderful beautiful person that I am, no strings attached, heavy and all. And you know what? That made a HUGE difference!

I slowly started climbing out of whatever pit I fell in and began to want to see in the mirror what he saw. I started to WANT to take care of myself, to look nicer, to be slimmer, all those things. I started caring about myself again and my health and my appearance. Now I am like a food/health nut and I am picky about every little thing it is funny. :lol: I am not depressed any more. I am happy, in charge of my life and I sure as heck am not looking to go drown in a bottle or throw a bunch of pills down my throat. Maybe my new addiction is nitpicking over every little thing involved with food and health. Maybe that is it. :lol:

almostheaven
01-26-2007, 01:21 AM
I heard once that "people think they need to lose weight to be happy, but someone realized that they needed to be HAPPY (first) to LOSE weight.
That was me. My whole mindset changed before I got the true desire to finally lose the weight. I didn't decide to lose it to get happy. I was shy and awkward. I started coming out of that shell, and in doing so, I quit smoking and lost weight. It was more a wake-up call of what the heck am I doing to myself.

Here's what I was getting at about overeating being neither a disease nor addiction in my mind. A disease is something one gets that requires medical treatment, in the elementary version. Overeating isn't something you "get", it's something you do. It's not something that requires medical help, but can be controlled through normal eating and exercise...learned behaviors. OTOH, an addiction is something I see as requiring intervention. It's something that can be controlled, but only with help. It's something someone got hooked into by accident or whatever.

If I start thinking of overeating as a disease, it's like telling myself that I couldn't help the way I got and that there's no cure, that I'm always going to be sick and can't be normal. And I think that's bull. I CAN be normal. I didn't learn to overeat in a day, I won't learn to eat normally in a day. I will have to RE-learn how to eat, and how to do it properly, over time.

If I think of it as an addiction, again, it's like saying it wasn't my fault. Circumstances led me to this. Ok, so maybe my family was always stuffing food in front of me. But "I" was the one choosing to eat it, and continue eating it after seeing myself getting bigger and bigger and bigger. If I say I'm addicted, I'm making an excuse for overeating and for any time I might slip and fail at trying to stop overeating.

I don't want excuses. I want to be normal and healthy. So I'll continue to look at overeating as something I learned wrong and need to re-learn and correct.

JayEll
01-26-2007, 08:08 AM
The word "addiction" gets used far too loosely. People say they are "addicted" to chocolate--well, what they mean is that they really really like it and will want to eat it if they have it. But I don't think anyone abandons their baby because of a Hershey bar. At least I hope not--if so, that would truly be an addiction and a pitiful state!

The only hope for those addicted to drugs, tobacco, or alcohol seems to be not to use those things. Period. It's not like you can have "a little" now and then. Food is different. We can't give it up completely. So I would say thinking of obesity as an addiction is not helpful. Yes, there are some foods that it's best I not have in the house, but I haven't entered prostitution or stealing in order to buy Doritos or ice cream, so I wouldn't say I am addicted to them in that sense.

As far as having to be happy first, I'm not going to wait until that happens. ;)

Jay

aphil
01-26-2007, 08:22 AM
I think if I had to choose, I would say it is an addiction. Obesity is NOT a disease. Someone gaining weight because they are on steroids for a medical condition doesn't count-that doesn't make it a disease, it is a side effect from a med. Not the same thing.

midwife
01-26-2007, 10:39 AM
I believe some people are addicted to food..to the feelings of satiety. Addiction can absolutely have a physical component.

Anesthesiologists are the most common health care people to be addicted to narcotics. Is it because they can access them? Maybe, but lots of health care people can access drugs. New data shows that when an anesthesiologist holds a mask over a person's face, and they do this day in and day out, the anesthesiologist is exposed to constant small doses of drugs. That changes the brain chemistry and can trigger an addiction. But not all anesthesiologists shoot up fentanyl in the bathroom. What is the difference between those who do and those who don't?

Some people become obese because they overeat and they never have a physical addiction. There are other reasons for this self-destructive behavior.

Other people have brain chemistry alterations related to food. Food is legal and accessible.

To say that only one explanation is the right explanation does a huge disservice to a facet of the population. The causes of obesity are multifactorial. Why do some people indulge in self-destructive behaviors and others don't? There are soooo many answers to this, some biological, some emotional, and there are probably as many combinations of reasons as there are people who are obese.

QuilterInVA
01-26-2007, 01:18 PM
You can be addicted to food and not overweight - it all depends on what you eat. You can retrain yourself to eat good foods. Some addicts (heroin or whatever) do recover.

Beach Patrol
01-26-2007, 02:05 PM
beach patrol, my Dr. had an interesting take on the wt. gain with medicine. When he griped at me about my wt. , I cried and said that I had gained 50 lbs. in 3 yrs. since starting the high dose of steroids (prednisone). He calmly said the pill didn't cause the weight gain, what you chose to put in your mouth did. He said if a pill could cause a huge wt. gain, it would be given to all the starving children in foreign countries to help them gain wt. and keep them from starving. I had to really think about that one. Yes, steroids made me hungry but I chose to eat KFC, McDonald's , Taco bell. All that is what made me fat.


So Sorry! - but I take issue with your doctor's comment that if a pill could cause a huge wt. gain, it would be given to all the starving children in foreign countries to help them gain wt. and keep them from starving. Those children aren't starving because they don't eat enough, they're starving because they don't have enough to eat. BIG DIFFERENCE. Those starving kids CAN take medications that will make them want to eat more - but they already WANT to eat... they just don't have food enough TO EAT.

And it's NOT the pill ITSELF - it's what the pill does to you. Most medications have some sort of side effect(s) - some make you sleepy, some make your stomach upset, some cause dry mouth, constipation, blurry vision, etc. So why should it be such a reach to think that a pill can cause your "hunger stimuli" to go a bit whacky?? Sorry - but I do not trust any doctor that doesn't accept that. Plus, studies show that certain medications DO IN FACT effect/affect your hunger. And since all medications don't work the same on all people, I will state for the record that I KNOW certain meds have put some poundage on me. Is it ALL the meds fault? Of course not. I can choose between a meal of baked fish & broccoli, or a meal of cheeseburger & french fries. But my medication does indeed stimulate me to "eat more". And while on the meds, I crave carbs. A LOT.

Kinda funny in a way... I've actually had several doctors say different things throughout the years - for instance: The psychiatrist that put me on an antidepressant with my first bout of depression nearly 20 years ago told me "You may gain weight with this medication; most people do, but some do not." I DID NOT. But the SECOND time I battled depression, about 8 years ago, that same medication did not help with my depression, so I was given a different medication - I gained 30 pounds with the meds, and my doctor told me "I've never prescribed Paxil to any woman who hasn't gained at least 30 pounds on this medication." And on my unfortuante 3rd bout of depression, I have gained 20 pounds this time! - (3 different meds each time) So what's a person to believe? :shrug:

My OB/GYN (current) warned me of weight gain during the perimenopausal & menopausal years due to hormones. The OB/GYN I had before her (male!) told me that PMS sufferings such as weight gain & diarrhea are all in a woman's head (I will NEVER have a male doctor AGAIN!):dizzy:

My current GP believes (as do I) "a pill" can cause weight gain. And that while it isn't the pill itself, but several anti-depressants & other medications do stimulate the part of the brain that makes you say "I'm hungry." In fact, it's been studied for a long time now, & researchers are learning more & more about the effects of medications as related to weight gain &/or loss.

Antidepressants can affect weight in several ways:
* They may increase or decrease basal metabolic rate without changing caloric intake.
* They may affect hormonal changes and increase appetite.

(You can read more about meds & weight gain here: http://www.netnutritionist.com/fa12.htm

Of course I DO agree that WHAT & HOW MUCH you put into your mouth is a great deal of weight gain - all I'm saying is that certain meds & so forth can & do make a difference.

And lilybelle... please know that I AM NOT taking issue with you! - just your doctor (well, really, his comment!) :goodvibes:

kaplods
01-26-2007, 02:50 PM
Even at 360 lbs, I've always eaten far less than my slim, fit brother and father, though I can't deny that yo-yo dieting, inactivity, compulsive eating, and less than optimal food choices have contributed. My mother (5' tall, and 200 lbs, down from 260) eats very little, but being disabled, and unable to do much activity, along with a thyroid problem, she has great difficulty losing and/or keeping weight off.

We need to remember that there are many factors, not just one, that contribute to weight gain and obesity, some but not all of which, are under a person's control. "Pinning" it all on addiction or disease does a great injustice to the overweight or obese person, because it either says "it's all your fault, you big fat loser" or "there's nothing you can do about it, so don't bother trying." Neither of which is true.

We have no direct control over what weigh, which is why using the scale as our only measure of success will ultimately backfire. We have control over our healthy (and unhealthy) behaviors, but that's where are personal control ends.

rockinrobin
01-26-2007, 03:34 PM
We have no direct control over what weigh, which is why using the scale as our only measure of success will ultimately backfire. We have control over our healthy (and unhealthy) behaviors, but that's where are personal control ends.

We have no direct control over what we weigh? Huh? We have no control in how tall we are, our eye color or the weather. But our weight? I'm sorry I beg to differ with you. That is the ONE thing in life we DO have control over. I indeed was not CONTROLLing my weight, and that was my doing. If you change your behaviors and habits that is more then enough to control your weight. It's not certainly not easy, but it is certainly do-able. Some might have to do different things to control it according to different circumstances, but for the most part we can control whether we remain overweight or not. Whether we choose to or not, that's another issue.

Beach Patrol
01-26-2007, 03:37 PM
I think what she means is that our "weight" is not just our body fat - it also includes muscle, how tall we are, genetics, etc. We have no control over that.

At least, that's what I thought she meant!

rockinrobin
01-26-2007, 04:00 PM
If I'm wrong, and it's certainly a possibility, it wouldn't be the first time or the 100th either, then I apologize. Although the words I posted I firmly believe, the apology is for misinterpeting what kaploids said. Again, kaploids I apologize if that's not what you meant.

Although if you factor in genetics, some people certainly DO have it more difficult then others, I still believe we ultimately have control over not necessarily what we weigh down to the very last pound, but whether we are obese or not. Nothing would have made me happier then to be 8" or 6" taller. That was not my lot in life. I've always believed had a been taller I would have been able to eat more and not be as obese, but I've since come to the realization that that is pure and utter nonsense. You get what you get when you're born, you grow up and then you deal with it - or not.

simone1ca
01-26-2007, 04:11 PM
I am no expert here, but I believe addictions are controllable. Very difficult, but possible. The desire to always want that item may subside, but never totally cease. That's why they say alcoholics are recovering, not cured. It's an ongoing process. A recovering alcoholic has made the decision to stop drinking. A so called food addict, myself included has made the decision to stop overeating.

We all have our reasons as to why we chose to overeat. And like you said it, most often, but not always stems from something negative. We chose food to deal with our problems or situations or boredom or whatever. But we can also choose to stop dealing with our problems with food.

I agree with you 100% and I truly believe that this is one of the main reasons why over 90% of people who lose weight gain it back. They think they've beaten it, they think they're cured, but they've only recovered. Recovery is a lifelong process -- speaking as a former bulimic and anorexic, I know that I will never be rid of these mental disorders. Even at 300+lbs, the urge to go back to these behaviours is something I fight ever single day.

And I like someone else said, I filled the void of that addiction with another..eating. I went from Ana/Mia to COE during recovery and now I battle with that. I know it'll never end for me. I know I will never, ever be rid of this, but I wage the war nonetheless because I know I at least deserve better for myself.

And I know I put EDs in the category of addicition..for those of you who don't think it is, you probably haven't been through it. The high you get from not eating, or purging is like the same high a drug addict gets after a hit.

Goodbye Chubby
01-26-2007, 05:02 PM
I definitely agree with SusanB that obesity is a symptom. As far as addiction, there are different kinds. From the research I've done on the topic in college (granted, nothing too expansive), there are certain drugs that are chemically addictive, like cocaine, and there are drugs that are habitually addictive, like marijuana. With either, you feel a high, but the brain is impacted differently, which is why one may be easier to control than the other. Certain foods, like cheese have been compared to some opiates in how they affect the brain, so maybe there's a little of both at play in regard to eating.

There is so much confusion even defining what is going on (habit, disease, addiction, etc.); how can we even begin to adequately treat the problem? Maybe part of the problem is that many of those in the field have had no direct experience with this affliction. As simone1ca also pointed out, it's nearly impossible for an outsider to understand. I tried talking to a (skinny) friend about my binging. She just quipped that I should eat little meals throughout the day (something I've tried for months at a time BTW; still binged at night). She couldn't comprehend the fact that hunger was not the reason why I binge. If there were one reason to pinpoint as the source of all the trouble, would that solve the problem? Do I binge when I'm sad? Yes. Do I binge when I'm happy? Yes. Is food my greatest source of physical pleasure? Yes. Ok. I know the answers to those questions. As GI Joe would say, "knowing is half the battle." Actually, I think it constitutels a lot less than half.

Anyway, before I ramble further, others here have expressed that everyone is different. I can't seem to find who posted about addicts never being cured, but recovering, but I believe it's a great point. All I know is that food will always have a certain control over me, but all I can do is fight to obtain an even greater control over it.

freiamaya
01-27-2007, 02:35 AM
I agree with so many of you! And often on different sides of the coin, too!
First, I believe that addiction is psychological. There IS such a thing a physical dependancy, which is different from addiction. For example, a person in the hospital may be on an IV narcotic. There IS a physiological change and chemical dependancy that does develop. This is why the medication is withdrawn gradually, to prevent the person from having a reaction to a "cold turkey" cessation. BUT, not every person who has had an IV narcotic goes on to buy narcotics on the street corner. Not every one who has had Percocet winds up prostituting for cash to get the drug. Addiction is a complex issue, and the FIRST (and often easiest) step in recovery is physically getting off the drug. The MOST DIFFICULT and often impossible task is STAYING off the drug. If addiction was a purely physical issue, once the drug had cleared your system, you would no longer be addicted. This clearly is not the case.
Second, I think that genetically people vary greatly. Some are genetically tall, some are short, some have blue eyes, etc. Some people can run really, really fast, and others can lift cars over their heads but couldn't run to save their lives. Accordingly, I think that some people are genetically programmed to gain/retain weight easier than other.
BUT I don't think that this means that you are doomed to be large! If you look at the statistics, obesity has increased enormously (pun intended) over the past 50 years. It takes way more time for genes to express themselves in a population to this extent. The increase in weight can be attributed to a combo of diet and exercise. If you eat too much and move too little, you will get fat. Some get fatter and at a faster rate than others. And it doesn't take a whole lot of calories to maintain a higher weight, either.
As to the "disease" definition - in recent years, the definition of disease has been generally expanded from a simple term that signifies a disorder that affects organ/systemic functioning, to meaning anything that a patient has that results in identifiable symptoms. I think that obesity is not a disease in itself, but a result of a disease process (be it a metabolic disorder, for example, or a psychological disorder). You can't "catch" obesity, and it doesn't happen on its own. For example, if a person is obese as a result of compulsive overeating, is the compulsive overeating the cause of the obesity or did the obesity "just happen"? And YES, you will find on death certificates that a person died from the "consequences of obesity" not from obesity itself.
Anyways, does this really matter to the person who is obese? Probably not, but I think that excess weight is a symptom of a further disorder, and once the underlying cause is dealt with, the symptom of excess weight often resolves itself.

charlenej
01-27-2007, 04:34 AM
I've never studied whether food is truly a physiological addiction or not but this is my personal experience with food and why I would consider myself as having an addiction to food. Even if it's semantics and even if the food is a symptom of a psychological addiction, it's been my way to cope my entire life for whatever reason I started as a very young child. Addiction of a variety of substances or behaviors is rampant in my family. Yes I chose to eat the food but I can say that stopping the compulsive overeating/obsession with food has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life and one of my biggest accomplishments.

All through my childhood I turned to food for probably many of the same reasons someone would turn to drugs. When I wasn't overeating my obsession with food still continued as I exercised too much on the verge of anorexia. When I could no longer abstain from food which had taken over my every waking thought, I became bulimic. I sought help once (free through my HMO) but not very good help as they just tried to get me on a healthy eating program and very little help with the emotional whys of my eating. I knew how to eat healthy. I could probably be a nutritionist with my knowledge of food! At one point I stopped focusing as much on food but I began to drink way too much. When I stopped drinking I turned back to food. This was my dark little secret although my closest friends definitely could see that I had food issues. But I confided in noone and because of my yoyo cycle of eating/starving I was never more than 40 pounds overweight.

I've done every diet imaginable and I've had bouts of success but food was always on my mind and each time I fell off the healthy band wagon I seemed to fall deeper into the food. I literally hit rock bottom when I became so addicted to sugar I could barely function from physical exhaustion and depression. My hair was falling out and my periods were irregular. When I went off the junk food I thought I would die as I went through the withdrawals including migraine headaches and vomiting just like someone would coming off of drugs.

I'm sure there are many ways to "beat" the food as many on these boards are amazing examples and can attest to. For me, it was the support of OA and focusing my energy on healing and doing the 12 steps that finally helped me to stop the eating and start living without using food to cope.

I feel like I've come out of a fog, a food fog. I feel amazing and grateful for my journey and truly believe I'm in recovery from food. I still think about food when I'm having a rough time but I have a new "addiction" which is a commitment to my own and my family's health and happiness :)

This has been hard to write and I almost don't want to hit the "submit reply" button but I've really got nothing to hide anymore and I feel strongly about this topic.

kaplods
01-27-2007, 08:52 AM
To clarify, I meant what I said literally, we have no "direct" control over what we weigh (at least not without a chainsaw). We only have control over what we do (eat, drink, exercise, sleep, react to stress... - all of which play a role in our weight and overall health).

If you want to improve your health and/or fitness level, you can modify it by improving your health habits, but if the number on the scale is your only goal and measure of success, you have failed before you've begun. The proof of that is the many ways in which people have endangered their health (with no care as to doing it) in order to reach some "magic number."

I see it often here and among most people I've encountered who are losing weight. They have a particular number in mind that they are trying to reach - and that is the only goal they have set. If they "fail" to reach the goal in what they have predetermined as a "reasonable time," they feel discouraged and believe they have failed. Worse, as they begin to feel they've failed, they begin to engage in unhealthy behaviors - going back to old habits, or trying dangerous new ones like - skipping meals, fad diets, supplements and drugs, whatever.

I think the best way to be successful is to remove weight loss as the primary goal (and instead view it as a reward or one of indicators that your new goals are being successful).

A life time of bad habits, and misinformation has brought me to this weight, getting healthy is going to be a long, and difficult journey, and the scale isn't always going to do what I want (who hasn't had a week or two in which you've done everything "right" and still have gained or not lost weight - if weight loss is your only goal, and especially if it is your only reward as well, you've just been "punished" for doing nothing wrong).

I have such a long way to go that if I only measure success by the weight I've lost, and how fast I've lost it, I would have to say I've been a complete failure, and would want to give up. But I don't feel that way because -

I can get a good night's sleep, as I no longer have sleep apnea, can now lay on my back, and can sleep without waking every hour due to excruciating pain.

Wheezing, sinus infections, bronchitis and other asthma symptoms have disappeared.

I can shop without an electric cart - which means I can now go into any store I want, not just Walmart. I can even walk the mall.

I can ride a bike (not very long, but I can do it, even made it to a park several blocks from our apartment).

I can do household chores I haven't been able to do in years.

There's more, but you get the point. The exact number on the scale is the least of my victories. The fact is, that my life is so changed for the better, that had the number not changed at all in winning these health improvements, I still would have counted myself successful (or at least should have).

Don't get me wrong, I still have that fantasy "magic number," in my head too, but I'm trying to remember to separate the fantasy reward from the very real rewards of improved physical abilities and overall health.

buckettgirl
01-27-2007, 09:49 AM
I have to say that obesity is neither a disease or an addiction... However, obesity is a manifestation of an addiction to food, and can sometimes (but rarely) be a manifestation of a disease.
I am actually surprised that no one has mentioned the scientific evidence available that supports food addiction.
Food acts the same as any alcohol and drugs on the brain... it activates the same pathways in the brain and releases large amounts of dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter) which further reinforces the compulsion to eat. Pathways can be changed, but it is hard. Rarely can anything else be as instantly gratifying, calming, and pleasurable as food or drugs. This is where the obvious struggle comes in.
I know that I am addicted to food. I get high when I eat... its the same feeling that I got when I smoked weed years ago.
Food is a physiological addiction. Science is well on its way to proving that; the next step to take is in how we, as a society, treat people who are obese. It IS NOT A *WILLPOWER* PROBLEM. It is not laziness. It is a real problem that needs intensive treatment.

kaplods
01-27-2007, 03:42 PM
The problem here is that we're lumping all obesity together. Of course food addiction exists, but not all food addicts are overweight, and not all overweight or even obese people are food addicts. Food addiction can (but doesn't necessarily) cause obesity. Bulimics and anorexics may also be food addicts, and some obese individuals do not have a food addiction.
Trying to lump everyone together becomes misleading. Many of us have been duped by "one size fits all," claims made by weight loss "experts," and product manufacturers.

How an overweight compulsive eater or "food addict," goes about becoming healthier/losing weight is going to be very different from the person who has
put on weight because their activity level or metabolism has slowed down. Throw in the variables of medications, thyroid and other contributing illnesses or conditions, genetic factors, stress, ignorance of basic nutrition, poverty, social/ethnic norms, contributing illnesses, including mental illnesses, lifestyle pressures..... and it's easy to see why no single weight loss/lifestyle program works for everyone.

Because the causes of obesity are complex and many, the treatment has to be as just as multi-faceted. And because there are so many complex factors, we have to be patient with ourselves and others when the struggle is a lot harder than we imagined.

shrinkingchica
01-27-2007, 05:13 PM
:yes: I agree with kaplods. It is such a complex issue......and with each individual it isn't even always straightfoward.

kaplods
01-27-2007, 05:35 PM
That's what's so frustrationg about encountering someone who has succeeded at losing weight (whether that success is ultimately permanent or not) and become zealots for the method(s) they've used, condemning all who have not "seen the light," as they have. And God forbid, if you've tried their method and it didn't work for you, well then you just didn't give it a chance, or somehow failed personally.

Don't get me wrong, I love to hear how other people have succeeded at losing weight or changing their eating and exercise habits, but when it turns judgemental, I just want to snap their heads off their newly tiny bodies.

cantforgetthis
01-28-2007, 03:41 AM
...but I believe addictions are controllable. Very difficult, but possible....That's why they say alcoholics are recovering, not cured...A recovering alcoholic has made the decision to stop drinking...A so called food addict, myself included has made the decision to stop overeating.



Coming from a family history of alcoholism as well as an ex boyfriend that was 12 years in recovery, and my own OA journey, this is my experience exactly.

I've mentioned this in a past thread, but something that was said to me at a meeting in response to the "alcoholics don't have to drink the way we have to continue to eat" problem was that "Yes, we DO drink, we just don't drink everything!" It clicked for me then. I don't have to eat everything. As to food in general being an addiction, i'm not so sure about that.

For myself, i've found that I do have a physiological response to sugar. It's a fact, not a figment of my imagination. It's the same reason my diabetic boyfriend couldn't eat sugar. It makes my blood sugar levels spike making me crave that "rush", making me always want more. (Yes, I know it can be modified and adjusted with protein, fat and fiber) Once I removed sugar, flour and salt from my body (I believe there is a synergistic response) I no longer had those cravings. After 7 months of no struggle, I decided I wanted a "special" New Year's treat. I had some real natural ice cream and champagne. Let me tell you...it was all there all over again. It took me days of struggling to get past it. I don't think i'll be trying that again any time soon. It wasn't worth it! As they say, just sharing my experience, strength and hope! ;)

I agree obesity is a state of being and individuals get there for different reasons. I also believe in the addictive personality. It can so easily be transferred. In my case, I have to watch my spending. It's a pattern in many people. We just have different ways of dealing with it. :hug:

rockinrobin
01-28-2007, 07:52 AM
I also believe in the addictive personality. It can so easily be transferred. In my case, I have to watch my spending. It's a pattern in many people. We just have different ways of dealing with it. :hug:

I can honestly say that at this point of my journey I believe I am now more addicted to the weightLOSS then I ever was the food. I went from not caring even a little bit as to what I was putting in my mouth, the quantity or the quality to obsessing over every bite that now goes into my mouth - only high quality and small quantity (reasonable portions). I went from being almost completely sedentary to now exercising a lot, even to the point where I "sneak" it in at every hidden opportunity. I believe I just switched around my so called food "addiction" from the unhealthy to the healthy. Not that there's anything wrong with that. ;)

Beach Patrol
01-28-2007, 02:26 PM
That's what's so frustrationg about encountering someone who has succeeded at losing weight (whether that success is ultimately permanent or not) and become zealots for the method(s) they've used, condemning all who have not "seen the light," as they have. And God forbid, if you've tried their method and it didn't work for you, well then you just didn't give it a chance, or somehow failed personally.

Don't get me wrong, I love to hear how other people have succeeded at losing weight or changing their eating and exercise habits, but when it turns judgemental, I just want to snap their heads off their newly tiny bodies.


HA! - thanks kap! - that's the best laugh I've had all day! :D

This is why I always say that "different things work for different people." I have tried several well-known diets that have been given the thumbs up from dieticians, celebrities, etc. & I really committed myself, yet SOMEHOW it didn't work for me.

I am currently on South Beach Diet. This Tuesday I will have completed Phase 1 but I have yet to lose the "8-13 pounds!" they claim you can lose during Phase 1, which is the first two weeks of the diet. Why not? Why haven't I lost even 2 measly pounds???? I'm really not sure! - but I AM TOTALLY doing Phase 1 exactly as it's laid out in the book! Therefore apparently something is koo-koo with my body. I believe it to be the anti-depressant I'm currently taking, which I completely believe is the reason I gained 20 of the 40 pounds I am trying to lose. HOWEVER - I am not willing to give up yet. So I will do two more weeks at Phase 1 - If it DOES work, well then naturally I'd proceed to Phase 2. And if that doesn't start peeling off the pounds, I will give it up & try something different.

The last two times I have lost weight has been through diet & exercise. The diet has been "self tailored" - something I put together myself & followed quite nicely. I still believe the best diet for anyone is a self-made diet. Take a tip from here, throw in some advice from there, remember what worked & what didn't work the last time... KaBoom! - you've got yourself a Self-Made Diet. The reason I believe these to be the best diets is because only YOU truly know your body. YOU know what you are willing to give up, what you are willing to cut down on, & what you are never willing to let go. My last weight loss (from 160 down to 138 in about 3.5 months) was me getting crazy with the raw cut veggies & lots of fruit. I still ate lean meat, poultry, seafood, etc. I still had the occasional dessert (usually a Jell-O SF Pudding with Lite Cool Whip) and still drank frozen margaritas at the beach. I gave up white flour products (bread, pasta, etc.) and I was OK with that.

I exercised 1.5 -2hrs 4x/week. 45 min treadmill climbs, & 30-45 minutes weight lifting sessions. I was in good shape & was 3 pounds from my goal weight (135) when I re-injured my rotator cuff that I had surgery on 3 years prior. I couldn't lift weights, I couldn't even treadmill (natural arm swinging motion really hurt!!!) - so I quit exercising while I went through PT with my shoulder. Then I started pulling muscles left & right & my neck & back hurt a lot. That's when my doc took more x-rays & saw that I have osteoarthritis starting up in my neck & my lower back & hip joints.

I eventually quit exercising all together. THAT led to overeating & soon I was depressed & I've hit perimenopause. Hot flashes, raging hormones, fatigue, etc. I had gained 20 pounds back of what I had lost by not exercising & eating kinda crazy (popcorn for dinner, anyone?). But I was spiraling further & further into depression, & the meds my doc prescribed wasn't helping AT ALL! - so we switched meds. I was soon feeling like my old self again - happy-go-lucky, with that "I-can-do-anything-I-set-my-mind-to" attitude. I started eating healthier again, and walking a little (still watching that back pain) & yet I gained 20 pounds. Hello? I'm sane now, but fatter. :dizzy:

I think addiction IS a disease. I didn't use to think that way. When my dad was an alcoholic, it took me a long time to realize that he couldn't "just stop" drinking. The DISEASE is a mental type of disease. The ADDICTION is what the disease uses to keep itself alive. There are soooooo many studies out there that support this, including a new one I just read the other day that explained a man who was a heavy smoker was accidentally electrocuted (he almost died!) and when he came out of his near-death experience, he no longer had ANY DESIRE TO SMOKE. Scientists figured "hey, better study this!" and they found out that there is a part of the brain that is "more lit up" on that color-scan-brain-screen thingy of those who want to smoke (or drink or eat too much or gamble or shop or exercise too much, etc.) than the color screens of those who had no desire to "fulfill their addiction."

Interesting, no? I think so. ;)

Goodbye Chubby
02-01-2007, 02:45 PM
I just came across this article that reminded me of this previous discussion (which is now gettting bumped up). It's not terribly informative, but the last line expresses a key question of our discussion.

"Study: Binging a common eating disorder

By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 1, 2:43 AM ET

BOSTON - Frequent binge eating is the country's most common eating disorder, far outpacing the better-known diet problems of anorexia and bulimia, according to a national survey.

Psychiatric researchers at Harvard University Medical School and its affiliate, McLean Psychiatric Hospital, have billed the study as the first national census of eating disorders. The results were published Thursday in the medical journal Biological Psychiatry.

The survey found that 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men suffer from binge eating, defined as bouts of uncontrolled eating, well past the point of being full, that occur at least twice a week.

The doctors diagnosed fewer than 1 percent of women and 0.3 percent of men with anorexia, a disorder where an exaggerated fear of weight gain causes undereating and malnourishment. The study determined that 1.5 percent of women and 0.5 percent of men had bulimia, characterized by the "binge-purge" syndrome of overeating followed by vomiting.

McLean Hospital's Dr. Harrison Pope, an author of the study, said binge eaters face severe risk of obesity and related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

A binge eater, for instance, might eat a full dinner, then a quart of ice cream for dessert, followed by a bag of chips, without being able to stop, Pope said.

"It's a little bit analogous to something you hear from an alcoholic, when they might say, 'Well, I wanted to have one drink,' and they've had 12 drinks and they're passed out on the floor," he said in a conference call with reporters. "Even though they feel full, even though they feel disgusting and guilty, they can't stop."

Dr. James I. Hudson, the study's lead author and a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor, said binge eating deserves more recognition from health professionals.

"These results argue that binge eating is common. It's more common than both the other eating disorders combined and it's strongly associated with obesity," he said. "Taken together, these findings suggest that this is an eating disorder and should be treated as such."

Funding for the study came from several sources, including the National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly & Co. and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Hudson said the research team interviewed more than 9,000 people nationwide from 2001 to 2003 about their eating habits and psychological backgrounds. The study probably underestimates the actual number of those with eating disorders, he said, because people are often ashamed to acknowledge their abnormal eating habits.

The survey also found that people struggle longer with binge eating — symptoms persist for an average of about eight years compared to less than two years for anorexic patients, who are often young and may recover as they mature. Bulimics suffer without cure for an average of roughly eight years, according to the study.

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 29 were most likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, while people older than 60 had the lowest rates of eating problems. The doctors said all three illnesses usually coincided with mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

A combination of the "cultural barrage" of images of rail-thin movie stars, ubiquitous fast-food advertising and genetic predisposition is usually the root of eating disorders, the study said.

Dr. B. Timothy Walsh, director of the eating disorders research unit at the New York State Psychiatric Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center, said the study confirms a widespread belief that the population of binge eaters is growing. He said if binge eating is a cause of obesity, psychiatrists could give more effective treatment to many overweight people.

"Everyone has a sense, whether from a casual inspection of people on Broadway or an empirical study, that there are a lot of problems with binge eating and overeating," he said. "The question is, is it a cause or a symptom?" "

freelancemomma
01-25-2014, 03:28 PM
I believe it's NEITHER.

I caused my obesity by overeating and being inactive. That's no disease. Although it should probably be a crime. :D .

I've often said food was my drug of choice. Comparing it to drug and alcohol abuse. But I'm just not so sure if it is a real addiction.

I look at it more as a really, really bad habit.

I agree with this. I realize I'm in a small minority, but I don't believe in addiction as a discrete entity. I believe in degrees of habituation. Granted, some habits can be VERY entrenched, but none of them are beyond our control. If any of us were told, "Either you stop overeating or you'll be shot at the end of the month," we would all manage to do it.

I also agree with the doctor who said that pills don't cause weight gain. They may cause hunger, which can lead to overeating, or they may cause fatigue, which can lead to inactivity -- but here again there's some volition involved.

Some people may find these views to be harsh, but I find them liberating because they foster a sense of agency and control.

F.

SouthernMaven
01-25-2014, 03:49 PM
I realize I'm in a small minority, but I don't believe in addiction as a discrete entity. I believe in degrees of habituation. Granted, some habits can be VERY entrenched, but none of them are beyond our control.

I agree with this, so I suppose I'm in the minority as well.

If any of us were told, "Either you stop overeating or you'll be shot at the end of the month," we would all manage to do it.


EXCELLENT point.

novangel
01-25-2014, 04:42 PM
I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.

I agree for the most part.

With exception of those that have psych disorders and need medical intervention to overcome self-harm (severe binge/anorexia/bulimia) it is within majority of us to quit smoking, drinking, over eating, or anything else we no longer want in our lives if we really want it bad enough.

Otherwise yes, labels only warrant excuses. For majority of people that are overweight it is nothing more than a bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyle.

novangel
01-25-2014, 04:48 PM
And God forbid, if you've tried their method and it didn't work for you, well then you just didn't give it a chance, or somehow failed personally.

Well not to be a smart @ss but if people eat at a deficit they will lose. It's that simple. Willpower is another story but you get my point.

Wannabeskinny
02-10-2014, 09:11 AM
I am also foody and can never control when I see the delicious food. what can I do? and it is also mandatory to keep the health free from obesity. for that reason i always take some planned diet which have no fat and only have nutrients.

Fat is a nutrient, a very important nutrient. Fat plays a very important roll in our health. Without fat your body cannot absorb many nutrients from food. It also helps to keep you full. It provides lots of nutrients on its own and is responsible for making your skin, hair, and nails strong and healthy. There are many different types of fat, it's best to stay away from fried foods and too many animal fats. But the type of fat that is found in fish, olive oil, nuts, avocados is extremely healthy and important in your diet.

GlamourGirl827
02-10-2014, 09:22 AM
Obesity isn't a disease; I believe addiction is. Eating can be an addiction like anything else. And addiction is a disease.
http://www.medical-online.com/addict.htm

Let me dig up that post veggielover is talking about...

This is what I believe. That the root of obesity (not a few extra pounds, but truy obesity) is addiction. And as stated, other addictions like alcohol is viewed as a disease, so ...

Larry H
02-10-2014, 09:42 AM
I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist but I find this to be very thought provoking, check it out.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health-advisor/why-we-should-consider-obesity-a-disease/article16370893/

lotsakids
02-10-2014, 01:18 PM
I think it is a genetic predisposition. My husband was tall and skinny, I am short and fat.

my kids
20 year old male is very tall and heavy,
21 year old male is medium height and stocky but has a normal BMI
23 year old male who is shorter and very heavy
13 year old male short and about 20 pounds overweight
17 year old male short stocky has lost about 20 pounds but still stocky
15 year old girl - medium height normal weight
22 year old girl - medium height ( a little taller than her sister) normal weight
16 year old very tall and very thin
18 year old short, very thin

They all eat the same diet. Some of them are more efficient (like their dad) at burning calories. Some are less efficient (like me) at burning calories. The thinner boys eat huge amounts of food, it doesn't stick but the heavier kids eat less and burn a lot less.

Something other than just "eating too much" is at play here. So while personal choice does enter in, so does disease. Some people have a predisposition to alchoholism, they have a gene that makes it easier for them to become addicted to alchohol. They have the choice not to drink but not drinking doesn't change the predisposition.

Nobody chooses their body type, or their genes for that matter - we work with what we have. I do think that the medical community in not taking weight as anything but a reason to blame and shame has done a huge dis-service to those who struggle. I think everyone who is successful at losing weight is backed up by 10 who are not. I've lost weight a hundred times, I am terrified every day of losing focus because I know without a doubt that everything I've done can be undone in lightning speed. I don't process food correctly, that is a problem, call it an addiction or a disease but it is real.

lotsakids
02-10-2014, 01:24 PM
Larry H ! thank you for posting that!!

IonMoon
02-10-2014, 02:10 PM
I haven't read a lot of the responses yet, but want to chime in with my answer first.

Neither.

I think it is a symptom with multiple causes. There are genetic variables for sure! There are medical conditions that can make weight gain easier/loss harder. There are people who become addicted to food or use food for comfort/stress relief.

But I think a lot of it is just societal/lifestyle.

Our bodies were designed to protect us from famine- but we live in a society of excess. Our bodies enjoy and crave high fatty and sugary foods because they are dense in calories- which we need to survive.

But we live in a society where food is abundant and convenient. We can eat anything we want at any moment.

For me, it has never been so much that I ate ridiculous amounts of food, but my body seems very efficient at saving calories for later. Which would be awesome if there was a famine.

If I do not exercise daily AND measure my food, I gain weight, even though I am basically eating the SAME things. When I am gaining, I am not eating amounts that people would be shocked at. In fact I eat much less than my dh and even though he doesn't exercise, he never gains.

It is just that the difference between say 1/2 cup of rice and 1 cup of rice is a lot of calories. Multiply that by 3 meals a day, and you go from a calorie deficit to a calorie surplus.

When I measure my foods and control my calories, I am not hungry- so it isn't a matter of addiction to food. While I love sweets, I have never had trouble resisting them and limit myself to a serving with no problem.

And I wouldn't call it a "disease" as it is completely under my control. It isn't my body doing something "abnormal" it is actually adaptive processes that happen to be maladaptive to the American society.

For me, it is just that for whatever reason, I have to be vigilant in monitoring my calorie intake.

So I guess for me, the question is kind of like- what is the cause of vomiting, poison or virus? Well, yes- but there are so many other causes so you can have either both or neither.

kaplods
02-10-2014, 02:16 PM
the question is kind of like- what is the cause of vomiting, poison or virus? Well, yes- but there are so many other causes so you can have either both or neither.

Awesome analogy!

I do however support the AMA's classification of obesity as a disease for one very practical reason: The medical coverage system only pays for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, not necessarily symptoms. If obesity is a symptom of a disease state, but isn't a disease in it's own right, then there's no basis for paying for the treatment of obesity until and unless the actual disease shows up, because the current system focuses on treatment, not prevention (even though prevention would probably save the insurance companies money over the long haul, preventive care could bankrupt them if a sudden shift to preventive care).

Even government coverage is treatment focused. I'm on Medicare, which does not cover a tetanus shot, but will pay for treatment should I get lockjaw... how reassuring.

Even addiction or disease is a nonsense question, under this system, because addiction is classified as a disease. So it's like saying is this rash caused by a measles or a disease.

Addiction, to be covered under the current medical insurance system, had to be classified as a disease in order to justify coverage. Mental illness, likewise. And now, obesity is in the same boat. It's either a disease or a symptom of an underlying disease process, or there's no need to treat it.

Because there are fat people, even some obese and morbidly obese people who do not show any other signs of illness (all their other healtth markers are normal and sometimes even excellent) the insurance system sometimes like to say that fat in itself isn't a health problem at all, so they shouldn't have to pay to fix what may not be broken.

I would like to see a more prevention-based system, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Even trying to change my own focus to prevention has been challenging and I have tons of resources at my disposal. I have a strong support system, excellent physicians, reliable transportation, a master's degree education, excellent communication skills, and a safe and socially active community, easy access to a good public library, a comfortable home, a gym membership and immediate and reliable internet access.

I know the challenge for people becomes exponential with each resource that is lacking or inaccessible.

I would hope that obesity didn't have to be seen as a disease to warrant intervention, but sadly that's our current system.

diamondgeog
02-10-2014, 02:18 PM
Many causes but the big one is grains and especially putting them on the bottom of the food pyramid.

Human beings simply are not designed to eat grains. Period. We've tolerated (at best) them the last few millennium but not thrived on them. Rodents can eat grains, birds can, humans cannot and interestingly cows cannot either.

But we have grain fed beef you say. But what is going on? Cows can survive (barely) on grains but not thrive. That is why there is such high antibiotic use. But grains are 1) cheap and 2) get the livestock really fat, really quick.

Guess what happens when humans have too many grains. They get really overweight quite often and sick quite often.

Now I am not Atkins but my diet is vegetables, fruit, meat, nuts, dairy. And I am not at all scared of fat. Since doing that my belly has gone down A LOT. 12 inches in the last 9 months. Down approaching 75 lbs. Blood work never better, energy never better, mood never better.

Many doctors even are calling the high carb low fat advice of the last 40 years the worst medical advice in the history of mankind. I agree.

freelancemomma
02-10-2014, 05:29 PM
I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist but I find this to be very thought provoking, check it out.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health-advisor/why-we-should-consider-obesity-a-disease/article16370893/

Dr. Sharma is Canada's leading obesity expert, and I've interviewed him several times over the past 20 years. I've always found his take on obesity very pessimistic: he calls obesity not only a chronic disease, but an incurable one. I guess it's no surprise that he holds this view, after years of seeing his patients lose weight only to gain back even more -- again and again and again.

I don't know. I sometimes think the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of biological determinism. For my part, I've never experienced any of my regains as "my body trying to defend its higher weight." Every single time I regained weight, it's because I started overindulging regularly. I don't consider this pattern a biological imperative as much as a psychological one. Food is satisfying and comforting -- for some of us, satisfying and comforting enough that we crave more of it than our bodies need.

JMHO Freelance

vvesmart
02-11-2014, 02:01 AM
obesity, it mean person it eat too much and less doing exercise to burn down calories , in long term will become fat or obesity

vvesmart
02-11-2014, 02:10 AM
if person is obesity , need to loss weight, then there are many way to loss weight

1) u must have balance eat, should less eat on meat and more on vegetable and fruit

2) u must have balance life should doing exercise more to loss weight or keep fit , there are many way to do exercise , for example it can running, badminton, going gym and other

and other way also can be loss weight

shcirerf
02-11-2014, 11:05 PM
This is very interesting.

Kaplods comments on how insurance and government programs approach things, got me to thinking.

In a college class, we got to talking about the term "insanity." I was surprised, at the time to learn that insanity is not considered a medical thing. At that time it was strictly a legal definition. That's been awhile ago, and I've not kept up on changes, so that could be different now.

I'm just rambling here, but it just seems goofy. You can be legally insane, but not medically diagnosed with any particular recognized, mental illness. :?:

You can be obese, but, the criteria for whether it's a disease or an addiction, or lack of self control or simple knowledge, depends on who you ask.

You could ask 100 people and get 100 different answers.

One thing I am totally on board with is more "preventative" care. In the long run, it would benefit everyone. The individual and the insurance companies, and the government programs.

It's silly, that Kaplods can't get a tetnus vaccination, but they will treat her for lock jaw. Along with that, where I live the tetnus also includes the pertussis, (aka whooping cough) vaccine.


This is such a complex issue!

I'm definitely interested to see other people chime in! :D

kaplods
02-12-2014, 02:28 AM
I'm just rambling here, but it just seems goofy. You can be legally insane, but not medically diagnosed with any particular recognized, mental illness. :?:



Mostly, if not always, it's the other way around. When a defendent is claiming insanity, generally meets the criteria for at least one mental illness diagnosis, but very rarely do they meet the legal definition.

I've got a master's degree in psychology, and have worked as a probation officer for several years and with juvenile offenders for five years prior, so I've seen and studied the insanity defense, and I never saw a single case of a defendent pleading insanity who didn't meet the criteria for at least one clinical diagnosis of mental illness.

Legal insanity requires the person to have been unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime. Attempting to clean up a crime scene or otherwise attempting to avoid getting caught, or even being remorseful or horrified for commiting the crime are generally seen as evidence that the person DID know that their actions were wrong, but they chose to do it anyway (Satan, or the the voices in my head told me to do it, isn't justifiable - God made me do it, could be. In either case, some sort of dissociative mental illness diagnosis would usually apply).

You could have dozens of mental illness diagnoses, but you still would not be legally insane if you knew the crime was wrong (even just a little wrong) - or even if you thought it was the right thing to do, but knew it was illegal.

In most cases, even a successful insanity and unfit to stand trial defense often results in a more lengthy incarceration than pleading guilty in many jurisdictions, because the person is held in a psychiatric facility until they are fit (which could be never). Although generally they can't be held for longer than the maximum sentence for the original crime, unless the person is a danger to themselves or others.

thirti4thirty
02-12-2014, 02:56 AM
I'm interested in hearing some of your input. For me being overweight has been an addiciton that I've struggled with my entire life. I've been addicted to food, therefore I could never keep any weight off. Sure I could lose weight, but it was always temporary, because the addiction would come creeping back and BOOM, back to square one.

What do you think?

Being addicted to food is not equal to being addicted to obesity. Loads of people who are food addicts are not necessarily obese.
Addiction to food+ lack of exercise= obesity
I'm also addicted to food. ***I KNOW I WILL ALWAYS BE*** For that matter I'm not trying to suppress any eating habit of mine. I'm just training myself to be a REGULAR EXERCISER.
As the saying goes, ***EAT, RUN, REPEAT***

Wannabeskinny
02-12-2014, 08:12 AM
Being addicted to food is not equal to being addicted to obesity. Loads of people who are food addicts are not necessarily obese.
Addiction to food+ lack of exercise= obesity
I'm also addicted to food. ***I KNOW I WILL ALWAYS BE*** For that matter I'm not trying to suppress any eating habit of mine. I'm just training myself to be a REGULAR EXERCISER.
As the saying goes, ***EAT, RUN, REPEAT***

I couldn't disagree more. I've never not exercised. I have always exercised for many many years. Regularly! And I am obese. You cannot fix a bad diet with exercise. If someone is eating 1000calories over their daily allotment (and many of us have and do) then what is one session at a gym going to do to offset that? Hardly anything at all. Been there.

I also don't agree that food is addictive. I think those of us who are driven to eat do so for comfort and if we can find ways to cope with our stress and anxiety better then we wouldn't turn to food.

Radiojane
02-12-2014, 12:30 PM
I have no wisdom to add to this at all, but my thought process on this question has been an interesting journey. I've never not worried about my weight (and I had a parent that could have qualified for a "my 600 pound life" style reality show).

I started out with SHAME. "This isn't a medical thing. We have no control. We're gross and disgusting and FAT because we can't get our s**t together".

Then in the depths of my depression when I literally hid out in my apartment for 4 years: "It's genetic. I'm doomed to be this way. Clearly I don't eat that much and I'm still fat (I can't even begin to describe the level of denial in that statement).

The first time I made an actual honest not half a***d effort was August 2012. I'm still going. This is where my thoughts have gone since then.

I recognize that personally, I failed myself. I ate poorly and self medicated and did not move BUT I had a genetic predisposition to the depression and the carbohydrate addiction that contributed to that. Not to mention that by birthright I will never be a "small" woman. We just don't come in that size on my dad's side, and I take after him. I know that I will have to work the rest of my life to keep myself healthy because it just doesn't come easy to me.

I disagree that food isn't addictive. There is more than enough medical proof of the effect that simple sugars have on the brain. As to obesity as a disease? Obesity itself is something "wrong" with the body. (This is where it gets sticky - fat acceptance and such, not to mention the myriad of people who are "technically" obese but in great shape and live to 100 etc), but for the most part, we aren't supposed to be heavy are we? Of course there is no question that obesity can CAUSE other diseases.

I agree that classifying it as a disease is about the only way to get the medical establishment to proactively treat people, but that's going to be a long road.

Short answer: Who knows?