Is Obesity An Illness?

I read an article in the Daily Mail (‘Labelling obesity a disease is an excuse not to diet’) and it highlighted a very worrying trend. As a Weight Management Consultant I have helped countless people lose and maintain weight loss and the main emphasis of my program is health and responsibility. I help my clients to change habits, behaviours and even what foods they find appealing, yet they are clear on one point – they have been responsible for their weight gain and accordingly, they will also be responsible for their weight loss too.

There are, more often than no,t emotional triggers to overeating and this is one of the first things I tackle with my clients, however, regardless of whether their triggers are conscious or unconscious – they still have a choice. Each and every time you put something in your mouth you have a choice. Each and every time you drive to the shops or school – that is your choice. When you say yes to that third piece of cake – that is your choice – no one else’s.

I have no doubt that if I told my clients that obesity is an illness the results I would obtain would be far from the excellent ones I get now! Labelling obesity as an illness does change the mind-set of most people (not all I hasten to add). It gives obese people a ‘legitimate’ reason as to why they are overweight and gives them a ‘valid’ excuse to do absolutely nothing about tackling their obesity (which this article highlighted).

Basically labelling obesity as an illness is a cop out clause – ‘I’m overweight because I have an illness’, ‘I can’t control what I eat – it’s an illness and there’s nothing I can do about it’, ‘I’d love to be slim but I’m ill’ and so the excuses go on and on.

By labelling obesity as an illness you are taking away the crucial component of any successful weight loss – responsibility. In order to lose weight you have to accept that you and only you are responsible for your excess weight – not McDonalds, not KFC or even your partner for cooking unhealthy meals – you are 100% responsible for your weight – no-one else.

That’s a scary prospect to many obese people as it means that they actually have to do something about their life style in order to lose weight – they have to make some serious choices in order to shift their excess weight and that means two things – they have to reduce calorific intake and increase activity level – there is no other way to lose weight. And whilst change can be scary – it can also be uplifting – imagine being slim and healthy and feeling more and more confident and positive each and every day? That is a choice too!

And if you are prone to sitting all day eating and blaming everyone and the world for your obesity – well that’s an easy alternative to face than some major life style choices, however, is an early death an easy choice to make? Is the prospect of diabetes, liver disease or cancer an easy option to face? What about choosing to be slim, healthy and focusing on enjoying life – that’s a choice too?

Obesity is a life style choice and it has been proved time after time that there really is no biological reason for obesity (the elusive fat gene). The cause of obesity is pure and simple – it’s a compulsion to overeat.

Whilst there may be many reasons why people feel compelled to overeat (and I have felt compelled on many an occasion!) you still need to accept that it is you that is overeating or responding to those cravings! Once you deal with your compulsion, you will find that your eating habits become more healthier naturally and with little effort.

Anyone can overcome emotional eating and I would rather have the hope that I could overcome something than be told that it’s an ‘illness’ and there is nothing I can do about it (to be honest even then I would still do something!) It is your choice whether your remain overweight and face a future of complications due to your obesity (proper illnesses such as diabetes and coronary heart disease) or do something about it now.

Chose a healthier lifestyle – it is your choice – or chose to blame your ‘illness’ – your choice. I know which one I would choose – no matter how daunting that may be.

If you would like more information on how to overcome your emotional eating then visit http://www.mcrhypnotherapy.com or try my new Be Slim Weight Loss Hypnosis CD available on Amazon uk ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mairead%20russell&sprefix=maire%2Caps)

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