Components of the Obesity and Nutrition Problem in our Shared Country


Quick summary: I am providing a list of themes with very brief explanations on how they are related to obesity and other nutritional concerns in our country. Some of the themes are more related to the individuals while others are more related to society as a whole.


Social Support – People have a need for encouragement.


Social learning theory – modeling behavior – studies show that obesity is ‘contagious’ – we do what others around us do. If a community pushes for health it will have a ripple effect.


Humility – it would be best if we did not allow representatives without nutritional intelligence to be making big decisions regarding the nation’s nutritional policies. We must allow those who can help us to help us… often we have good intentions that lack insight. When it is not in the best interest for us to lead we should let another lead.


Honesty – we could use the people in regulatory positions to have the most honest of intentions. It would be advantageous to ensure that people did not have conflicting interests. Individuals could be honest to themselves about the consequence of an action.


Self-awareness – ability of an individual to not react automatically… awareness of triggers which encourage automatic and predictable responses.


Reflective ability – ability for a person to have a space in which to make a choice in-between stimulus and response.


Mindfulness – being present while eating… ability to acknowledge and celebrate all the senses while eating.


Mindful body awareness – understanding your bodies signals around eating… knowing when you are full etc. Listening to what your body wants to function optimally.


Need or desire to change – internal motivation. Reason to engage in change.


A willingness to experience anxiety/discomfort inherent in the change process – all change pushes you out of your normal comfort zone… change is often difficult…acceptance around this truth is helpful.


Strategy – creating a realistic and rational plan.


Over population – our food has become less healthy as the demand for increased production continually rises. My definition of overpopulation – when a species causes the extinction of another species and/or the destruction of an ecosystem do to its’ propagation.


Unequal distribution of resources – the resources that are currently available to our species (though at the cost to other species and eco-systems) would be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of all humans if not for oppression dynamics.


Dramatically Overworked Culture – the time required to “make a living” leaves many people without the “time” to make healthy choices for themselves and for their children. This is related to the wage distribution.


Passive nature of medical model – western medicine allows for the doctor to work while the patient gets ‘fixed’… in weight loss, collaboration is necessary and the client must accept that the support staff is simply a catalyst… the client must do the work.


Walking the talk – change must be implemented. Behaviors must change.


Hope – a person will not try or will give up if they do not believe the solution is possible.


Attachment theory – emotional component of eating… eating to self-sooth. Some foods are eaten for reasons related to early childhood development. In the start of human life, babies are soothed when the mother feeds them.


Trauma (sexual abuse) – overeating for protection.


Trauma (neglect) – overeating for survival.


Trauma (physical abuse) – overeating to sooth.


Restraint theory – restraint increases desire and increases the likelihood of bingeing… will power breaks in most people.


Cognitive – beliefs that inhibit change. Ex. believing in quick fixes or believing that if you can lose twenty pounds and not thirty pounds in one year than you should not bother trying.


Snake oil – recognizing all the false hope treatments out there.


Media, trends, and pop culture – the subconscious manipulation of your desires and norms.


Education – knowledge on how to eat healthy and the resources available to you.


Environmental – availability of healthy options.


Oppression – when improper nutrition is institutionally perpetuated directly and indirectly.


Genetics – understanding how to accommodate weight loss with each differing physiology. Generating a culture with more realistic, inclusive and accepting body types.


Dichotomous thinking – all or nothing ‘diets’ lead to failure of the entire plan with a small misstep. Accepting the dialectic of triumph and failure coexisting in every action helps progress.


Existential – why is this process important to you… what is the purpose of healthy eating?


Enabling – using ‘knowledge’ to dissuade action. Encouraging another to avoid change so that you can more comfortably avoid change.


Ethics, Law, and Morals – as a culture we allow people to knowingly poison others for profit.


Exploitation – we sell unhealthy behavior for profit… many groups are systematically targeting their marketing efforts towards our children.


Politics and Regulation – Politicians allow the above to happen do to a lack in campaign reform which leads to representing the needs of campaign financers above the needs of the democracy. (This is not democracy)


Reactive intervention – insurance only pays for assistance once a problem is severe. We need to proactively help our communities to live with health. Many states spend more on jails than on schools… our society pays a heavy price for unhealthy behaviors while cutting funding to school athletic programs. We pay for heart surgery and not for recreation time. It is economically intelligent to proactively keep a problem from manifesting. We should stand for encouraging health with greater effort than we put forth to fix the consequences of lacking health. 


Priorities – as a country, why are we doing what we are doing? Our depression, anxiety, divorce, and obesity rates are extremely high and growing at an alarming rate… what do we stand for? What would we like to stand for? How can we start working for… instead of endlessly working against?


Trickery – Cutthroat, Emotionally Manipulative Politics – the current political scene is plagued by politicians who intentionally bread anger in their constituents by suggesting the opposition intends to harm their dogma, morals, or sense of security. As such, all efforts are focused on topics that will not have a clear benefit to the country. We allow our leaders to engage in endless tirades concerning unsubstantiated problems while we do not demand them to produce reasonable, rational, informed, collaborative, and dialectic solutions. Obesity kills a huge portion of the population every year… why is this not a visible political topic and why is the government not working together to find solutions?


Put your Money where your mouth is – If you say that you stand for fighting fires, the truth of your intention is related to the amount of water you allocate to the firefighter. What do we spend our money on?


Integrity – we need to humbly acknowledge where we lost course and use our patriotism to heal and help our wounded country in a way which is free from endless propaganda and fallacies and full of collaboration and dialectic solutions. As far as nutrition is concerned we all have made mistakes.


Compassion and empathy – we must show love and understanding for the reasons we lost our way so that we can once again move with open minds towards our potential.


Democracy – democracy has the potential of being the collective voice of the people. I would propose that our modern world has methods of increasing true democracy by reducing the need for unrepresentative representatives. I have had all types of people from all different political beliefs in my therapy office… our differences are largely an illusion…. we all want love… we all want security… we all want meaning… we all want understanding… we all want to be happy and healthy. Partisanship seems to be somewhat of the bi-product of narcissist politicians that would sacrifice our collaborative potential for their vocational advancement. … In terms of what is really important, do we really disagree? Who in this country does not stand for health?

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.
William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

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