Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What is the real issue?

It is funny how often me and my husband debate on what to watch on television. And after so many arguments, we have still not come to a conclusion. The thing is while we are arguing, the person with the remote control is changing channels, and somewhere along the line, we find something that interests the both of us. During one such, channel hunting spree, I came across the program 'Biggest Loser' and much against my husband's wishes, I hung around for a bit. Which, with past experience, my husband knew, we would end up watching, if I lingered there for some more time. With his protests in the background, I was trying to understand what was happening. It was elimination time and the person with the least weight loss would have to go home. It was at this time, when  one of the contestants spoke about how they would feel if they were going home today, and broke down in tears.

This silenced my husband for a while, and he looked at me, then at the television with utter shock. His next question was "Why are people crying so much, and that too, the ones that are not being eliminated?". I did not try explaining anything or answering his question, but thought over it later. Why really were those people so upset, when they thought of a life away from the exercise terrain??? And more so, why were the ones not being eliminated, so emotional about the ones going home???

Luckily, I have not had major weight issues, but I have known people, struggling with their weight. I know that sometimes being overweight is not just an eating disorder; deep down, it relates to something else. I have looked at so many obese people, and thought that most of them, would need to enter a competition like the Biggest Loser. But, what I have failed to understand is, how someone could not see their increasing weight, how they could not foresee the health hazards they were inviting? It is not as if being so big, would go unnoticed. Then what was it that triggered the over-eating???

It took me an Oprah show feature to realize what it really was and as she says, I had my "Aha" moment. It opened my eyes to the world of obesity. My earlier doubt, that it all related to something else, turned into a stronger thought, when I saw people talking about why they neglected their health. It really had got nothing to do with high or low metabolisms, or eating right or even feeling hungry. Eating became more of a compulsive habit for most, due to some turn of events in their life. Some ate because, they were engaged with eating and wouldn't have to think about the bad things in life; some did because they wanted to be oblivious and just be the fat kid, nobody talks to; some did because they thought they were not appreciated and just wanted to walk on a path of self-destruction. Some did it in rebellion, some did it for attention, but everyone was attached by one common thread and that was their pain over something that had hurt them.

Of course, there are some people who have a tendency to put-on and are not careful enough. But the seriously obese generally had an underlying reason to their senseless damage to self. During the course of the interviews with Oprah, I understood that there were deeper issues and eating was just a cover-up to hide the pain. And these people were not only hiding it from the world, but from themselves too. A lot of them said that they found comfort in eating and felt secure. Now for a common man, that is something imperceivable; how can somebody feel secure with food?? It is just a piece of food item, it is not as if it can talk or say comforting things.

But, what we also cannot imagine is the place they are coming from. In a household where everybody has critical comments, a scared child would want nothing more to be in a place where nobody would say a word. How many of us have had great food and forgotten about the pressures of daily life, during that time??? Nobody can deny the satisfaction derived from a wholesome meal, topped with a luscious dessert. What we feel during one of those special treats, is something that is more of an escape from their troubled lives for most of the obese people.

And what they do not notice is, that this disorder takes them farther away from happiness. They miss onto the simple pleasures of life, because their bodies cannot permit it and this leads them to a darker, deeper place of loneliness. They cannot participate with their families in a lot of events and are forced to lead an aloof life. So the answer to my husband's question would be : these people had emotional outbursts because weight loss was not just the aim, there were more complex issues to be dealt with. And the ones crying for their friends, had tears in their eyes, since they could relate to the pain and the hidden motives behind the weight gain. Inside everybody, lived a hurt person who was using food as a defense and wanted to get rid of the addiction. The triumph of even one person with their inner battles meant that the others could do it too. And the failure of one person, would bring the spirits down for everyone. In the end, they were all in it together and inspired each other to face the demons, hold them by the scruff and hurl them out as hard as they could. If not such strong emotion, what else could evoke tears???

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