Change of thought important in overcoming obesity

uploaded from google images

uploaded from google images

Everywhere we look Americans are becoming alarmed about what some call “an epidemic of obesity.” Amid the research, stories, television shows and wide variety of preventive steps and treatments, there resides a growing understanding of how a person’s view of him or herself can lead toward or away from obesity.

My own online perusal of this topic led me to discover what’s really weighing on the obese?  And I decided to focus on the “Let’s Move” campaign Michelle Obama has launched nationwide to raise awareness of the harmful sedentary tendencies children, adolescents and young adults have and the reality television show, The Biggest Loser.  Obama targets the importance of eating healthy and getting exercise on a regular basis.  Two years ago she invited the contestants from the reality television show to the White House to stress the importance of these activities for all Americans – young and old.

Biggest Loser, if you’ve never watched it, usually concentrates on obese adults, but in the 2012 season the show included 3 young people from middle school and high school.  Their intent in incorporating teenagers has been to get families to learn together how to eat properly and to exercise.   On the show adults are put through rigorous activities in the gym and around the Biggest Loser Campus and various locations around the world.  The young people were shown proper eating habits and how exercise can be incorporated into their daily school and after school activities.

To me, the most important point made by the trainers was this:  In order to maintain a body transformation, individuals must also transform their thought about themselves: How are you thinking about yourself?  What happened that has led to thinking negatively about myself?  What can I do to improve my seemingly already ingrained habits?

Some people struggling with obesity are simply mimicking their parents’ overeating habits.  Some have been abused and made to feel worthless. Some have been injured and never recovered mentally.  Some have had disappointing relationships.  The list goes on and on.

One young woman on the show broke down in tears when she finally revealed she had been made to feel responsible for the drowning of her younger brother because she was the only one around at the time.  Her father had even mentioned he wished it had been her instead of her brother. She felt she didn’t deserve to live, so she was filling the void of not feeling wanted or loved by eating. She was only 3 or 4 when the incident occurred. What a weight to carry around!  This woman went on to discover she was an amazing athlete, and lost a lot of weight.  She learned to let go of the guilt and find a path to healthier living and eating.

Contestants who had “aha” moments similar to hers have proven to be more successful at keeping and staying fit. Overeating, it seems, can be a symptom of a much deeper problem.  In many cases, it is important to get to the root of the problem and heal the thought, then the symptom (overeating) disappears.  “You’ve got to make a break. You’ve got to divorce yourself from the past and find a different way of living.  And you can never go back.”   Bob Harper, a trainer on The Biggest Loser, says.

At one time when I was suffering with self-esteem issues, and being overweight was one of them, I found a passage by Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual revolutionary from the 19th century, especially helpful.   She says: “The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving-kindness.”  I found the more I maintained a sense of peace, patience and kindness toward myself,  my thought gradually changed and I felt I had all the nutriment I needed and the problems tied to my self-esteem dropped away – one-by-one.

On Biggest Loser, the trainers show a wonderful sense of meeting the heartfelt needs of the show’s participants and they find ways to feed them with patience and loving-kindness. This seems to be an effective way to get at the root cause of obesity and help people find a path to a new view of themselves.

Kate is interested in blogging about health, spirituality, Christian Science, science, the importance of prayer and religion.  She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland.