Is your weight the result of your choices? Most people think it is. What if this belief was wrong?
In 1993, the new statistics on obesity in America sent one of my medical school professors into a rant that took up two weeks of class time. He felt we needed to hear the full story of why people gained weight. Ironically, once we got through the jargon, the top researchers’ ideas he shared with us were a bit of a yawn. Here is a one line summary:
Obesity is increasing because of poor choices in diet and activity.
Not very surprising, but is it true? Our current public health messages still stem from this belief. Eat this not that. Move more. The way that we stigmatize and judge those who are heavy also come from this belief. Most of us feel that if people really wanted to change, they just need to try a little harder.
This belief is also the reason behind the social isolation and emotional pain known by many who feel too heavy. When you are in this you are left feeling that you must not be good enough to change themselves. I know because I’ve been there.