Weight Loss Support - Overweight= emotional issues?




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ebb&flow
07-22-2009, 12:19 PM
I was watching the Today Show last week and they were talking about weight. One of the doctors they had on was saying that when she sees an overweight woman, she sees a woman with emotional issues.

Do you think it's accurate to automatically assume that if a woman is overweight that she has emotional issues or do you think it's yet another societal view/stereotype of people who are overweight?


seagirl
07-22-2009, 12:29 PM
For me, personally, being overweight is related to "emotional issues." Not huge giant things, but a general neglect of my wellbeing and a general lack of mindfulness about what I'm putting in my body and how I'm moving it. It's related to poor stress management for me too. Just like in the past when I was quite thin, that was due to "emotional issues" too - depression, anxiety, disordered eating, etc.

Can't speak for other people, but for me it's true.

mescelestus
07-22-2009, 12:29 PM
I think that it is never safe to assume anything, and you would never apply that thinking to the issue of race, or something like that...so why would someone think it would be fine to say it about weight? That being said, I do not think that people who are overweight generally became that way because of emotional problems; there could be a million reasons why. However, I do think that it is highly likely for someone to develop emotional issues after becoming overweight. I was over weight when I was born, so I can't tell the difference.


Rosinante
07-22-2009, 01:17 PM
Assumptions are never good but emotional issues made me fat, which gave me more emotional issues that made me fatter.... and so it goes on.

MBN
07-22-2009, 01:24 PM
I think ALL women (and men!) have emotional "issues" -- it's called life. I got heavy because I stopped exercising and ate too much crap.

forestroad
07-22-2009, 01:24 PM
Yeah I have emotional issues like everyone else and their mother. It's not what made me fat.

170starting
07-22-2009, 01:54 PM
Such a loaded question. :dizzy: For the woman to say "when I see an overweight person, I see emotional issues blah blah ..." :fr:is completely judgemental IMO. Regardless of how true that is for someone (me included) no one should automatically assume that someone is completely unhappy just ebcause they are overweight... look at Santa Claus.:clause:.. Jolliest man EVER! (Please do not get angry, I am just trying to lighten up the mood :hug:

Beck
07-22-2009, 02:00 PM
Who doesn't have emotional issues? I'm a human being not a rock.

kiramira
07-22-2009, 02:02 PM
I think that people equate being overweight with EXCESS. Unfortunately, an excess of food becomes a weight issue and is highly visible. Those with other excesses, such as drugs and alcohol, can hide their excessive behaviours until life becomes unmanageable for them.

It IS such a loaded question -- is anorexia (or LOW intake of food) a symptom of emotional issues? And if so, why is the converse (a HIGH intake of food) NOT true? Does alcoholism/drug addition have emotional issues involved? If so, does an excess of food intake also indicate this?

We all have emotional issues, and deal with them differently. Perhaps some see obesity as a physical manifestation of these issues, just as they see alcoholism, drug addiction, anorexia, bulemia as physical manifestations of emotional issues as well as having physical components.

Kira

gymlee
07-22-2009, 02:08 PM
Who doesn't have emotional issues? I'm a human being not a rock.

Right on! haha

Like everyone else has said, I think it depends on the person. From what I've seen I would say that having emotional issues is one component in the huge equation of things that makes people overweight. The thing is that it can't be all blamed on one thing or another, just like you can't fix one component in the equation and expect to lose weight magically either. It needs to be a wholistic approach when it comes to a lifestyle change and it also needs to be considered when examining the things that made you fat too. That's just my two cents :)

nitenurse
07-22-2009, 02:11 PM
no i dont assume its emotional issues, in my opinion i think the emotional issues is just an excuse, i gained weight because i didnt watch my diet and cut back exercising

Cali Doll
07-22-2009, 02:17 PM
I think ALL women (and men!) have emotional "issues" -- it's called life. I got heavy because I stopped exercising and ate too much crap.

ITA!

Do fat people have emotional issues? Sure! Do skinny people have emotional issues? Sure!

Some heavy folks overeat because of their emotional issues. Some overeat for other unrelated reasons.

I DO believe, though, that being overweight *can* cause emotional issues. It's just too broad a brush to paint every single overweight person with.

Cali Doll
07-22-2009, 02:18 PM
Who doesn't have emotional issues? I'm a human being not a rock.

Yeah. I can't throw a stone without hitting someone with an emotional issue.

Gela
07-22-2009, 02:30 PM
I'd never assume that was true for everyone. For me it is 100% true. I never had a weight problem in my life until my early 20's when life change after another (good or bad) came along. At the time I never would have known it was emotional, the reason I kept over eating. Until I was reading on the subject did I put 2 and 2 together and realized what I was doing to myself. I was eating for sadness, comfort, loneliness, boredom, happy occasion. It sure has been a wakeup call to me and I am learning to cope with stress in more positive ways and not overeat.

jendiet
07-22-2009, 02:53 PM
I would say yes to the "being overweight means emotional issues" just because MOST people will suffer in some form in this society that idealizes being thin. Now did the chicken come before the egg? I don't know. Meaning did the emotional issues lead to weight gain? Most likely.

sexual abuse--causes a person to not want to look sexy, will gain weight as a defense mechanism (comes from the lie it was their own fault for looking good)
low self esteem--individual will not look after his or her own health, including eating too much for their size.
stress-causes a person to overeat and gain weight from anything they eat

BECAUSE emotions are so pysiologically tied to weight gain--YES I would say this is a fair generalization. But it is not to be used as a cop out.

But If I see a morbidly obese person, as part of general care, I would address the emotions. I would also do this if I see a clearly anorexic looking individual.

KatieBell28
07-22-2009, 02:58 PM
I'm fat because I like to eat me some corn fritters.. and fried okra.. and biscuits with honey on 'em...

The only emotions in that was happiness and fulfillment because it was gooooood.

mandalinn82
07-22-2009, 03:29 PM
Add me to team "Everyone has issues". I look at EVERYONE and know they have emotional issues.

I believe that ALL people have emotional issues. I believe that, for some overweight people as well as some normal-weight people, the coping mechanism those folks use for DEALING with those emotional issues revolves around food (either too much, causing overweight or at extremes, causing bulimia, or too little, causing underweight and anorexia).

Other people (normal, overweight, underweight) have different coping mechanisms, which may be more or less healthy. An overweight person CAN just eat more than they need for non-emotional reasons and gain weight over time, while simultaneously coping with their stress and emotions using non-food related mechanisms. Just being overweight doesn't make someone an emotional eater...emotional overeating is just ONE reason someone might get more calories than they need for their body.

As a long-time emotional eater, I'll tell you what, with my weight loss, my "issues" didn't go away, I just came up with other ways of dealing with them.

I also have to agree that it's hard to be overweight in a society that is negative about it and not have ADDITIONAL emotional issues from that. There are some exceptions to this - people who embrace their bodies for what they are and move on. But most people feel some of the sting of embarrassment for overweight, which can give them different issues to deal with.

sexybak96
07-22-2009, 03:48 PM
I'm overweight because of many reasons. But has anyone thought about the way the world is today? One hundred years ago it wasn't drive thru's, pre-cooked, pre-made, easy, quick and fast. You had to grow it and make it which took time and energy. It was hard work to eat. We also didn't have 500 types of cookies, 200 types of lunchmeat, 40 different types of desert pies ready to eat. Our problem today is too much, too easy. Haven't you ever just been too tired to cook? Easier just to go hit the drive thru?

Society today is a serve me now society. Instant gratification. If we got away from that, I just bet that we wouldn't have half of the U.S. obese.

I think it is unfair for someone to just give a blanket assumption that we are fat JUST because of emotions. Yeah, they play a part of it. I'll give that. But it's not the biggest/only reason.

AlleyTD
07-22-2009, 03:59 PM
I'm overweight because of many reasons. But has anyone thought about the way the world is today? One hundred years ago it wasn't drive thru's, pre-cooked, pre-made, easy, quick and fast. You had to grow it and make it which took time and energy. It was hard work to eat. We also didn't have 500 types of cookies, 200 types of lunchmeat, 40 different types of desert pies ready to eat. Our problem today is too much, too easy. Haven't you ever just been too tired to cook? Easier just to go hit the drive thru?

Society today is a serve me now society. Instant gratification. If we got away from that, I just bet that we wouldn't have half of the U.S. obese.

I think it is unfair for someone to just give a blanket assumption that we are fat JUST because of emotions. Yeah, they play a part of it. I'll give that. But it's not the biggest/only reason.

I have to agree with the above ... but, I also think - at least for me - emotions and boredom play a big part of it.

kaplods
07-22-2009, 04:12 PM
For most of my life, I THOUGHT that emotional/mental health issues were responsible for my weight issues. I thought I was an "emotional-eater." However, I learned that crash dieting was more responsible for emotional eating than the emotions themselves.

When I gave up starvation diets, my binge-eating stopped. I didn't experience any mental health "breakthroughs," profound insight, or life-changing revelations. I didn't even notice for months that I hadn't had a single out-of-control binge. They just disappeared from my life. Did I suddenly and coincidentally become more mentally healthy? I don't think so.

Not long a go I read a study of calorie-restricted laboratory animals. Lab animals that have been food deprived, are more prone to eat in reaction to stress than lab animals who have unlimited feeding opportunities. Boredom generically increases the eating behavior of lab animals, but food-deprived animals are more prone to overeating regardless of the source of the stress, and eat more when they do eat than animals that have never been food-deprived.

So for those of us who are or were emotional eaters, has it been because we have more extreme emotions than "normal people," or did chronic dieting increase the likelihood that our response to stress is to eat?

I believe there are thousands of factors that can contribute to obesity, and each of us has a unique mix of those contributing factors. I believe it's why it can be so difficult for some people to find a plan that works in the long-term. I'm not saying you have to identify all of the factors before you can succeed. Trial and error is unfortunately the best method we've got.

Because I ate in response to emotion, I thought I had to address the emotional issues in order to lose weight, but I was wrong. I only accidentally found that crash diets were really the largest underlying trigger to emotional-eating.

I think that all of the "obesity is caused by ____" statements are at best a small part of the equation. Trying to reduce a complicated problem to a simple equation is largely a wasted effort.

TJFitnessDiva
07-22-2009, 04:50 PM
Who doesn't have emotional issues? I'm a human being not a rock.

Exactly!

I didn't gain weight until I pregnant with my first child and I pretty much used being pregnant as an excuse to eat everything in sight ;) I didn't have big time emotional issues until after I gained the weight!

KatieBell28
07-22-2009, 05:00 PM
I'm fat because I like to eat me some corn fritters.. and fried okra.. and biscuits with honey on 'em...

The only emotions in that was happiness and fulfillment because it was gooooood.

I used my best southern belle drawl voice in my head as I typed this! C'mon! It deserves a little giggle.

A little one?

Onederchic
07-22-2009, 05:03 PM
Boredom plus emotional issues = morbidly obese me

Onederchic
07-22-2009, 05:05 PM
Oh I guess I should add to the equation fried, greasy, fattening foods too.

Onederchic
07-22-2009, 05:06 PM
Oh oh and no exercise unless it was walking to and from the fridge.

abbynormal91
07-22-2009, 05:15 PM
I think it is stereotypical. Kind of like the whole image of a fat person getting upset and automatically hitting the Haagen Dazs. That isn't the truth for all people but there are some that do go to food for comfort.

sexybak96
07-22-2009, 05:16 PM
corn fritters? ick. Oh wait. HAHAHAHAHA gasp gasp HAHAHAHAAHAHAHA.

taDA! there's your giggles:-) Where's the english accent now? Tea and crumpets and all that... hehe

KatieBell28
07-22-2009, 05:21 PM
Someone in Central Texas doesn't like corn fritters? *tsk* Kids these days.

:D

WhitePicketFences
07-22-2009, 05:57 PM
'Overweight' = pretty broad term. No, I do agree. In our modern times (as Sexybak already described above) medically overweight is a new 'normal.' Also certain percentage of people will always be to the outside of any range, and I wouldn't want to surmise from that.

Now Class II Obesity or higher-- Sure, I think it is fair to say that a statistically significant amount of really obese people probably have emotional issues that correlate. Me, certainly. Nothing can be said of an entire group, but being so obese is very out of balance. Of course, duh, also pointed out all over this thread is that yes, people manifest these in different ways. It's just that you can see fat. You can't see a sex addiction in the guy at the grocery checkout. (I hope, anyway!) :-) :-)

Stella
07-22-2009, 06:02 PM
For me, this is sadly true, but such a comment does not sit right with me. She is saying that everybody who is overweight has problems. Probably lots of people do - either because of their weight or they re that weight because of their problems, but I do not for a minute believe that this is true for everyone.

Cali Doll
07-22-2009, 06:13 PM
You can't see a sex addiction in the guy at the grocery checkout. (I hope, anyway!) :-) :-)

OK, I've officially died laughing!

ennay
07-22-2009, 07:19 PM
When Suze Orman sees a cluttered house she sees financial issues.

Cause she hasnt seen my house. Or my finances.

"Experts" cant fix you if you aint broke.

Do I have emotional issues - **** yes. Are they related to my weight? sometimes.
Did they cause my weight issues? Probably not, I was fat before I knew I was fat. I grew up in a family that didnt do much media and was pretty non-mainstream and by the time I even was aware of "weight" I was overweight.

Now, it is more linked because it is one more way to self abuse, but if it isnt weight I can use something else. Like letting my house get cluttery. But never my finances.

ennay
07-22-2009, 07:22 PM
Someone in Central Texas doesn't like corn fritters? *tsk* Kids these days.

:D

Corn fritters...gawd my mom made the BEST corn fritters. Sigh..one of those foods I havent had in decades. And apple fritters.

OH yeah, i was fat by the time I was 10 because the only foods my mom knew how to cook really well were baked goods and desserty type stuff. So all the organic produce in the world didnt help when we had nice organic fresh picked cherry pie or apple fritters all the dang time. We ate like we lived on a farm in 1840 with manual labor and all.

Thighs Be Gone
07-22-2009, 07:32 PM
MmmmmMMMMmmmm...corn fritters, apple fritters...ANY fritters..fry 'em up and pass the plate!

The world has issues. I have yet to find one person here that doesn't have emotional issues. Those that try to come across as if they have none are more displaced than the ones that admit it.

Do these issues have to do with my weight. Yes, absolutely. For me, it does. Sure, I like the fritters--possibly love them. But what is it that allowed me to think fried, cheap crap in front of me was worth more than my own health or life?

CLCSC145
07-22-2009, 07:48 PM
I do feel like being fat is like wearing my emotional shortcomings on the outside. So if she looked at me, would she see emotional issues? Yes. But as others have said, "overweight" is a relative term. Does 20 pounds mean you have emotional problems tied to your weight? Maybe, maybe not. 170 pounds overweight? I think it's a pretty good chance the answer is yes.

kaplods
07-22-2009, 08:12 PM
I'm not sure that even severely morbidly obese people have emotional issues that are responsible for their weight - or that it can be sorted out from the emotional issues caused by the weight.

It's a stereotype that is assumed, but I'm not sure that there's research support for it (or as I said that it can be seperated from the emotional trauma caused by being so socially unacceptably fat).

I succeeded very well in my professional life (before I became physically disabled) and in my social life, and my weight was the only part of my life, I had difficulty controlling. I think I was much more socially adjusted than I gave myself credit for, because I believed the propaganda that I "must" be mentally ill because of my weight.

I think I went into psychology (bachelor's and master's degree) to try and figure myself out. I even had a peer tell me that my weight proved that I had been sexually abused or traumatized as a child (nope). And my lack of memory for any such events only proved that I had repressed it (ohhhhkay).

The weird thing is, that I almost bought into the hype, and began thinking that there had to have been some unusual trauma in my life to account for my weight. There had to be something seriously "wrong" with me.

The thing is, if you think that emotional issues are behind weight issues - you will find evidence for it (but maybe only because it's impossible to find a living person who has no emotional issues).

I believe (it's been a while since I've read the most recent research) that the only mental illness that is more common among obese people is depression - but again did the depression cause the obesity, or did the obesity cause the depression (or rather caused the social isolation that caused the depression)?

If you have serious emotional issues, certainly address them if you can, but I think we can drive ourselves crazy looking for craziness. It becomes a self-fufilling prophecy, especially if you believe such crackpot "professionals" must be right. The issue of "repressed memories," is especially concerning, because it's been proven that many "repressed memories," especially those "recovered" with hypnosis are actually false memories implanted by the imagination of the patient and/or the therapist (who may unconsciously lead the patient to such "memories.")

kiramira
07-22-2009, 08:22 PM
Does it even matter if you identify the "emotional issue" though? Or will you resolve alot of the issues by virtue of buckling down and just getting serious about losing the weight?

IMHO, severe morbid obesity like my DB and DS and DF have is a physical symptom that there are physical AND emotional issues at hand. I would say the same if they were alcoholics, or anorexics, or substance-abusers. I don't think it is the WHOLE story, but it is, to me, a physical symptom that something needs to be addressed.

For me, as an individual, when my BMI was 38.2, it suddenly clicked that I HAD to acknowledge that my obesity was an outward expression of alot of unresolved emotional issues. And that it didn't MATTER what they were, cause I'd spent alot of years chasing that particular tail to no avail. I just acknowledged that I had issues and got busy with the weight loss.

I think the MD in question is only saying that, as a physician, if someone presents with a weight issue, it may be valuable to look to unresolved emotional issues (such as depression, or anger) in order to be of assistance. I don't get the sense that this is a judgemental thing at all. It simply is a factor to be considered from a clinical point of view.

We love to blame MDs when we are misdiagnosed (I'm overweight, NOT fat, and healthy and fit), not diagnosed (the doctor should have told me my son was obese and done something when he hit 500 lbs), OR diagnosed (How DARE you say I need to lose weight -- I think I'll sue) when it comes to weight issues! And when you think of it from a clinical point of view, MDs are trying to figure out how to help you get healthy. To not consider all the possibilities would be, from their POV, irresponsible.

Kira

mandalinn82
07-22-2009, 09:12 PM
I view this in a different light. I almost feel like saying to someone "You are overweight, so therefore you must have emotional issues" is just a hop, skip, and a jump of thinking away from "To lose weight, you have to deal with your issues". Which can be an overwhelming task, either if you don't know what your issues ARE or if you're not in a place to deal with them right now. Which then becomes another reason NOT to get started on the weight itself (which I think Kaplods was alluding to...the idea that one must first resolve emotional problems to be successful at resolving a weight problem). From my perspective, you can, without dealing with ANYTHING, change your behaviors in such a way to produce success. Sort of a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to weight loss....learn to cope NOW, and maybe the feelings you need to cope with will become less in time.

Also, even for emotional overeaters, the "issues" aren't the problem...it's that for those who emotionally overeat, they have poor coping mechanisms for dealing with emotions or boredom. And even then, I think that's a subset (though a relatively large one) of the overweight/obese community, not EVERY member. And advising or classifying every member of that community as an emotional overeater, I think, doesn't hold water, particularly as someone on TV with no knowledge or insight into the lives of most of the people being classified. I'd rather see personal docs probe a bit deeper (with a question as simple as "What time of day do you find you eat most/what is happening at that time"), use that answer to see if overeating is being used as a coping mechanism, then guide toward other more appropriate coping mechanisms, and I'd rather public figures (including experts on TV, etc) not make blanket statements about the mental states of entire groups of people...especially when the statements aren't really about the root cause of excess weight, which is excess eating.

kaplods
07-22-2009, 10:25 PM
When I was growing up, the statistics on overweight americans (adults and children) were much lower. It's now the majority of American adults and 20 to 30% of children who are overweight (and I don't think we're less mentally healthy today than we were 40 years ago), and the fastest growing number of overweight people are in the severely, super obese catagory. I don't think the changes have been in the way we deal with stress and emotions, I think the changes have been in our food intake and exercise output.

Many children don't go out and play anymore (sometimes because their neighborhoods aren't safe).

There are thousands of reasons that can affect weight. Knowing the factors can be helpful, but change does not require that we understand all of the factors before making changes.

Windchime
07-22-2009, 10:45 PM
Yeah. I can't throw a stone without hitting someone with an emotional issue.

People who throw stones often have emotional issues.

Ha. I crack myself up sometimes!

jendiet
07-22-2009, 10:52 PM
I agree that faulty coping mechanisms contribute to weight gain.

I am one of those VERY SENSITIVE people. I can look at a person and see their sadness (if present) at such a deep level. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a morbidly obese person with such sadness in their eyes. Like they are screaming (i'm self destructing and I don't know what to do!).

For me seeing a morbidly obese person (not so called 20 lbs overweight I am talking about a person who has to take deeper breaths because the fat surrounding their heart and lungs is causing their lungs to be compressed. This causes me to feel the same sympathy I feel for a person that has a drug problem, or an alcohol problem, or a mental illness.

There are happy "fat" people. They say "I'm happy with my body" they embrace their weight and feel sexy. But then, since there are so many problems that come with being significantly overweight--joints, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure--they definitely COULD be happier.

And then of course there is the issue--how did they get so big? What is it that causes them to continue eating beyond the signal of satiety? what else are they getting from food besides satisfaction of hunger?

It is a physiological fact that fattening foods release endorphins. That chocolate bar really does make you feel good. That cookie really is making that report seem a lot less daunting. So yes definitely coping mechanisms are at play.