*This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2018 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037
Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and most Westernized countries. If you are overweight, you are hardly alone, as you can see by looking around you. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight and the statistics climb by the year. Even children are now heavier than they have ever been- and this is happening during a time in our history when the thing look continues to be defined as the ideal (although this is gradually changing). Type II diabetes and hypertension (or high blood pressure) are two diseases associated with obesity, and the rates of these diseases have been increasing steadily over the years. Obesity is also lined to heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
The causes of obesity are easy to identify. We eat more calories than we burn off, and the excess calories are stored as body fat. In the 1960’s the average person consumed about 3,100 calories per day. And now that number has increased to 3,700 calories per day. We have easy access to fast food, sugary sodas, and restaurants have found that their sales increase when they offer excessively large servings. We eat more processed foods and fewer natural or whole foods, and this is mostly due to convenience and low prices.
A number of psychological factors can affect our ability to maintain our weight at a healthy level over time. For example:
- When losing weight or maintaining weight loss, it is helpful to learn how to think positively by challenging negative beliefs.
- There are a number of strategies to use for coping with difficult emotions and stress rather than relying on food for emotional soothing.
- Maintaining your motivation over time to stay at a health weight is a key to long-term success.
You can work on these issues with the help of a professional therapist, and this increases your chances of keeping the weight off over time. Weight gain and the difficulty of maintaining weight loss are associated with heredity, experiences in childhood, and family of origin influences. However, there are emotional factors associated with weight problems, and, fortunately, these issues can be addressed in therapy, in a confidential and trusting setting.