Are we taking the wrong approach to obesity?

Are we taking the wrong approach to obesity?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity is now classed as a ‘disease’.


With as many as a third or more of all adults being so overweight that their health is affected, it is estimated that by 2020 there will be more overweight people than ‘normal’ weight people, sadly including children.

There is no doubt that being significantly overweight is bad for just about every aspect of your health, but with the increase of cosmetic weight-loss procedures (gastric bands, gastric balloons, endobarriers & gastric sleeves to name a few), and a row upon row of expensive diet pills on the shelves that promise to help you drop a stone in a week, are we being lazy and taking the easy option by treating the symptoms of obesity rather than addressing the cause? The cause generally being a result of eating too much, eating the wrong foods, and being too sedentary.

Fitness writer Patrick Dale of Ultrafit points out that Western medicine is by and large ‘allopathic’. This simply means that when you go to see your doctor, they ask you what’s wrong, and give you medication to control these symptoms.

Beta blockers and ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, benzodiazepines for insomnia (I myself have been a culprit of giving into such medication to knock me out at night) Feeling stressed? No problem, there’s a medication for that too!

 Granted not every doctor takes this approach, but it’s certainly notable when comparing our approach to Eastern medicine, which is more homeopathic in nature. Where Western medicine treat symptoms, Eastern medicine treats causes.

A homeopathic approach to lowering blood pressure would probably combine diet modifications, exercise and stress management techniques to address the cause.

 That’s not to say that Western medicine doesn’t have its place, and without a doubt if I were to be diagnosed with a serious disease or injury, I’d be at the front of the queue to be treated, however, are we going about treating obesity in the right manner by using medicinal ‘quick fixes’.

For me, my insomnia (which I’d been addressing with sleeping pills), bad skin (for which I’d been prescribed various ineffective creams & gels by numerous dermatologists) and low energy levels have been hugely impacted by dramatically altering my nutrition. It turns out I was nutrient deficient, despite me thinking my eating habits were relatively healthy.

And more recently, meditation has helped reduce my stress levels, which undoubtedly were contributing towards my insomnia and poor skin, which, in turn has reduced my comfort eating!

 If you’re one of many who are carrying extra weight as a result of overeating and simply not exercising enough, (as I myself have been the past) transforming your body is about taking personal responsibility for making the changes you want; a journey that will take commitment and discipline, along with support and education from appropriate resources. Start thinking out of the box and investigate WHY you may be overeating…..

 Are you an emotional eater, or find yourself running to the fridge at times of high stress? If so, think about trying out meditation or yoga to help improve your mood, bring your blood pressure back down, and in turn may help to reduce the risk of mindless munching.

 Do you rely heavily on ready meals and take-always because you’re short of either time or culinary skills (or both!) If so, then why not look into investing in a short course of ‘quick, healthy cooking lessons’ that will benefit the entire family. A skill that will last you a life time, and one you can pass on to your children to ensure they develop healthy habits too.

 A lack of sleep can also have an effect on your body’s ability to store fat……why are you lacking sleep? Can you adapt your evening schedule by switching off the TV or PC on an evening & making it a habit to  go to bed earlier, or are you lying awake at night because you’re stressed, in which case, how can you alleviate your stress…..?

 Delve a bit deeper, look at your lifestyle, and develop skills and practices to help you on the way to an holistically healthier lifestyle.


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