Most of us who are struggling with obesity know that the social stigma against overweight people can be painful and can lead to a cycle where obesity, stress and depression feed each other.
Over the weekend, an article titled Obesity's Hidden Peril: Stigma May Further Health Decline on the Fox News website, detailed a study about that very topic.
The article reports that:
While fewer than 5 percent of non-obese participants reported experiencing discrimination, about 11 percent of those who were moderately obese and 33 percent of those who were severely obese reported the same. These were the same individuals who also had the sharpest decline over time in their functional abilities, such as the capacity to climb stairs, or carry everyday items.
So the heavier you are, the more discrimination you face, and the more that your functional abiliites degrade over time.
What's more telling, though, is the stress created by this situation. According to the study authors, the stress of dealing with the discrimination and reduced abilities can create stress that is harmful in ways we do not see immediately:
The added stress could be keeping individuals in a constant state of arousal that they are likely not aware of but that leads to a cascade of harmful cellular effects.
The study, which was part of the as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States also identified that people who believed they had experienced weight discrimination reported that they believed they were heavier than people who had not noticed such discrimination.
So what can be done with this information?
If you're looking to encourage someone to lose weight, you need to be careful to do it in an empowering way. Oversimplifying the situation ("You just need to eat less and excercise more."), villifying the person or humiliating them can contribute to this negative cycle. Instead, keep the advice informed, helpful and presented in a positive light.
From a bigger picture perspective, the study author said the country ought to consider how we can reduce weight-based discrimination.
If you are struggling with obesity and know that diet and exercise don't work for you, try our online weight loss surgery seminar to learn more about your options to help you lose weight and keep it off.
If you have a LAP-BAND or REALIZE Band, and you aren't losing weight, there are a lot of things you should check before saying it didn't work for you. This is the fourth in a series of five "adjustment" topics.
Do you need an attitude adjustment?
It may sound a little harsh, but this is a legitimate question to ask yourself if you're struggling to lose weight with the band. Let's check your attitude with these questions:
Are you committed to your weight loss journey?
Are you totally honest with yourself about how much you are eating and exercising? If not, try to log your food intake and activity for 3 days.
Are you using food inappropriately to deal with the emotional issues? If not, identify the emotions that drive you to eat and think of more appropriate ways to deal with those emotions. If you cannot solve those problems yourself, are you willing to seek help from a qualified counselor? Depression and other emotional disorders can hit any of us - especially when our lives are changing rapidly. There's no shame in seeking help.
Are you attending and participating in support group meetings?Have you drummed up some support from your family and friends and dealt with saboteurs realistically? A good support network is vital to succeeding in your weight loss journey, and you will likely be a good influence on them, too.
Do you have realistic expectations about the weight loss journey? Try to read over the materials your healthcare provider gave you when you were first learning about the band to remind yourself of what your expectations should be and what behavior is required to meet them.
Are you still obsessing about food, weight, dieting, eating? If you have excessive compulsive thoughts, try to obsess about something else. Identify and prevent perfectionism - all or none; black-and-white thinking. Practice patience with yourself and the pace of your healthy weight loss.
Are you acknowledging your successes with non-food rewards? Instead of celebrating a milestone with an ice-cream treat, celebrate with a visit with a friend or loved one.
Have you learned how to take a compliment? A lot of people get extra attention when they lose weight, and it can be unsettling, sometimes causing people to retreat into more comfortable habits. Remember that the person on the giving end of the compliment is trying to reach out and encourage you. Learn to graciously accept the compliment and use the opening to build or improve a relationship with that person.
Are you getting a diet mentality? Remember that a Lap Band life is one without the diet mentality. Stop weighing yourself several times a day or every day. Once per week is sufficient. Stop dieting. Stop depriving yourself. Stop defining food as “good” and “bad.” Stop rewarding and punishing yourself with food. There is a reason diets so frequently fail, so don't fall into the diet mentality.
How do you feel about all the changes taking place? So many of we who struggle with weight are emotional eaters, and big changes can cause significant emotion. Find ways to recognize and acknowledge new feelings without turning to comfort food. If you can't break the emotional eating habit, consider speaking to a psychologist to discuss your emotions and find better ways to deal with them.
If you are interested in weight loss surgery and would like more information, please download our free kit of weight loss surgery materials today.
When considering a LAP-BAND weight loss surgery, the first question many people ask is: how much does a lap band cost?
Even if your insurance plan does not cover bariatric surgery, and you have to pay cash for or finance your band, you may find that weight loss surgery can help you save money in the long run.
Here are five of the hidden costs of obesity:
- Grocery and dining costs - Consider that someone with a lap band can get full on only 1/2 to 1 cup of food and think about what impact that could have on the grocery or restaurant bill.
- Missed days of work - A 2007 study showed that overweight women were 61 percent more likely to miss work time than women with healthy weight. For morbidly obese women, the figure was 118 percent.
- Other weight loss programs - Can you calculate how much you've personally spent on diets? As a country we spend $42 billion each year. How many of those worked?
- Gasoline - Did you know an extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce its fuel efficiency by 2 percent? That can really add up over the years, especially as fuel prices increase.
- Other medical expenses - If you're struggling with diabetes, hypertension, depression, joint pains, gastric reflux or any other obesity related ailment, you will likely be able to substantially cut your medical and prescription expenses by losing weight.
If you're struggling with obesity, go ahead and put together your own budget to figure out how much your finances are being weighed down.
And while that cost might not be equal to the surgery cost in the first year, consider that the surgery cost is a one-time expense, but the obesity costs above are cumulitive over time and can often get worse.
If you're interested in learning more about weight loss surgery and how it works to improve your health - and potentially your finances - download our free weight loss surgery information kit today!
Here is a look at what has come up over the past few weeks on our sister blog Weight Loss News.