Why are you overweight?

A while ago I put a question up on Facebook, it was: ‘I've got a question: For those of your who feel you are over weight, what do you honestly think the reason is for you being overweight? No judgement here, I'm just interested in the answers.’

That day I had been thinking about what overweight people think is the cause for their current place, which lead to me putting this question up. I received over 150 answers to this question and in these answers there was a level of honesty that I hadn’t predicted I would get. Facebook is such an open forum so I didn’t know if people would want to reveal their struggles, I was wrong. These people shared some amazingly honest insights into why they battle with their weight. 

One of the interesting things about the different answers was that there wasn’t one main theme that came through, there was more like eight or nine. Here are some of the key themes with some of the answers I received:

1. Lack of control: ‘Made excuses for and to myself. Lacked/(maybe still) lacking willpower when it comes to food and wine, and a definite lack of balance in life when it came to prioritising exercise.’  

2. I don’t prioritise my own health: ‘Change in lifestyle & becoming a mum. My wee man takes priority now and I've taken a step back so not as much time to train, and grab food on the run rather than prep for myself’. 

3. Poor planning: ‘Laziness with cooking (not my fave activity) especially at the weekend. I'm good during the week, all meals planned out and measured, but lose the plot Friday night, and then it's wine time!!’ 

4. Health reasons (both mental and physical): ‘Depression - alcohol - weight gain - boredom - alcohol - weight gain’. Another example ‘An under active thyroid’.

5. History of bad habits: ‘Eating behaviours which in turn became eating habits as a child which are very hard to break as an adult.’

6. It’s so hard to change: ‘My reason, I make bad food choices and I am lazy! Want to exercise but procrastinate all the time. Want to start running again just need to get motivated.’

7. Lack of activity in your life: ‘Lack of motivation to exercise (more so in the winter)’

8. A weakness for certain foods: ‘Hungry jacks is evil I tell yah. EVIL!’

9. I’ve tried and it’s just so hard: You try, you get so far then some shitty thing happens and it all goes back on. You feel defeated, you think stuff it, why bother, you get so low, that the idea of starting again is embarrassing and people will laugh at your failures (current status as we speak).

Many of the answers on their were a combination of more than one of these examples. Also many people expressed the dissatisfaction that they felt due to them being overweight, here’s an example of this ‘I really need some inspiration to get back to my old self as I am struggling’. 

As I was reading these answers I wished I could have gone back to each individual with a solution that guarantee that they could achieve change. A solution that they could instantly embrace and implement in their lives with ease.As this question revealed, there is no one reason for why people are overweight. There is also no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The reason this question is an important one for those who are over weight to honestly explore is that if we truly understand what our cause is maybe we can start to address this area. 

I was speaking to a girl a couple months ago who was on a weight loss journey. From what I remember she had been as big as 150kg. When I was speaking to her she was down to around 120kg. She had achieved so much but at the same time there was still a long way to go on her journey, a journey she had been on for nearly six months. One thing that she expressed to me was that her weight loss journey was hard. It was about day in, day out assessment, refining, learning from mistakes, trusting that she will get there, and getting back on the horse when she had set backs. It took effort, an effort that I think I would struggle to maintain for a long period of time, but she was getting there. She was changing her life which was changing her weight. 

If we want to create change an important place to start is at the route cause. If there was any value in my question it was that it may have helped people honestly see what they needed to work on. If from their they are willing to commit to working on that area maybe they will move towards the change they desire. 

This piece orginally appeared in The Press


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Bevan Eyles