The Meaning of Weight

You can’t walk by a magazine stand or watch any television without the subject of weight loss being brought up.  There is a multi-billion dollar industry in over-the-counter or “natural remedies” for weight loss.  Women and girls as young as five years old are worried about being fat.  At the same time, there are an increasing number of individuals who struggle not just with disordered eating but with actual eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or who struggle with obesity. At latest count, one-third of the US population is obese; another 30% are overweight.These numbers have increased dramatically in the last two decades.

Why is there so much anxiety about weight?  Why are people starving to be thin or binging their way through life?  Why is the number on the scale, our weight, such a cause of depression and panic?

The medical profession has sold us all on the proposition that being overweight is bad for our health.  The facts do support this, but what is true is that losing even 10% of your body weight will significantly lower your health risks.  Secondly, being physically active, no matter what your weight is will make you healthier than someone who is thin and is not active.

So why are we so fat phobic and weight obsessed in our country?  What does weight mean to you?  For many of the people I treat, weight is a symbol that represents something else.  “if I’m thin or if I lose weight, I will be _________ (happier, more successful, more well liked, able to find the man/woman of my dreams).   Anyone who has lost weight or even gotten thin, if they are being honest will admit that losing weight didn’t solve any of their problems.

What are you hungry for? Love, acceptance, companionship, power?  Being aware of what food represents to you and looking for other ways to meet that need may be the missing piece of the puzzle of why you are weight-obsessed.