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ECOCHRISTIAN's Recent Blog Entries

Obesity and sexual abuse

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I'm in the process of updating and revising a book I wrote on recovery from sexual abuse. I also work with women who are recovering from addiction and today did a group with them on sexual abuse and the symptoms of those who have been abused. It turned out that all of the women in my group today had been sexually abused. One of the common symptoms is that women may become and stay obese as "protection". If you don't look "sexy", then you are less likely to be a target.

In addition to that, the act of eating itself can be a way of numbing our feelings. Carbohydrates are especially good for this which is why we crave them when we are eating for emotional reasons. I know that I've used food this way, just like some people use drugs or alcohol.

I can't help but wonder how many folks on Spark People might be overeating as an unconscious response to childhood sexual abuse, whether that abuse is recognized or not. It is estimated that 1 out of 4 women are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18 so this is a common problem.

I was normal weight until I was in my late 30's. I was in the idea range as far as health but not quite thin enough to meet the cultural ideal. I gained 20 pounds after a miscarriage and a car accident and went on a liquid protein diet to take the weight off again. I went down to the cultural ideal (underweight according to my doctor who then said I had to stop). I got attention from men that I didn't want and promptly started gaining. This is when the memories of the sexual abuse came up. I developed PTSD and gained 100 pounds but I also learned a lot. I recovered. Of course, the weight didn't magically disappear and subsequent diets just made matters worse. But I don't need to be overweight anymore.

If you are one of the 25%, you may benefit from working with a therapist (not all of them are good at this, so shop around). You may not be able to lose weight and keep it off unless the reasons why you are overeating are resolved.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DUSTYPRAIRIE 1/5/2012 5:19AM

    This blog hits home.


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GRAMMACATHY 6/28/2011 11:19PM

    I have often thought the fat was a safety barrier to keep us out of trouble. My childhood was fine, it was my mid 20's that were rough. Since food always surrounded the good times from my childhood, it was a natural to turn to in the bad times. Probably should have taken up kung fu instead.

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KESTRIE 1/8/2011 12:37PM

    My reasons for overeating definitely come from my childhood, but I am working through them. All the Spark Love I've received this week really does help. Thank you :)

Comment edited on: 1/8/2011 12:38:57 PM

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Same old me, just thinner

Monday, January 03, 2011

We often think of weight loss as the cure for all of our ills. "If I just lose weight, I will be able to...." If we are blaming the fat for everything, then when we lose weight, we can be disappointed.

When I get back to a normal weight, I should be able to reverse my diabetes, move more easily and find it easier to shop for clothing. It won't make my fibromyalgia go away. I'll still live with chronic pain and brain fog. I'll still have asthma. I'll still get depressed. It won't change my personality. It won't make people like me. It won't make it so I can go back to work.

What weight loss does is make us healthier. It also lets us see that we can be successful in making changes. If we can change our eating and exercise behaviors, we can change other behaviors too. I've already been able to set goals, achieve them and accomplish a lot with my life. I don't have to wait until I'm thinner to do that. So, I've set some new goals for the new year that have nothing to do with weight loss. I'm going to be writing more and being on the internet less. I'm going to be spending time doing things I love like music and art. I'm going to be feeding my soul while taking better care of my body. How about you? What are you going to do this year?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KESTRIE 1/4/2011 8:43PM

    Spending quality time with my son. Writing, music, and art :) LOL

I swear those were on my "list" before I read your blog! emoticon emoticon

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CAROL3SAN 1/3/2011 7:11PM

    emoticon Great blog! Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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Why do I eat? What lies beyond physical hunger.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I'm currently reading a book called "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth. I've read some of her books in the past, trying to find a way to have peace with food and eating. And of course, in finding peace, also giving up overeating.

I already know that I have a problem with not feeling loved that originated in my relationship with my parents. I know that getting really fat for the first time happened after a diet that left me under my normal (and healthy) weight but at a weight that fit the cultural norm of desirable. This triggered a season of dealing with childhood sexual abuse issues that I had buried and threw me into PTSD. Add to that a screwed up metabolism from losing muscle and I gained 100 pounds. I've been yo-yo-ing ever since. The PTSD is gone so why isn't the weight gone?

Geneen Roth, like Spark People, does not believe in diets. She would have us look at what food is preventing us from seeing about our lives. Eating can be a way of avoiding life. So I'm going to try to look beyond the feelings that I'm not okay the way I am, beyond the feelings that I have to use the way I eat to fix myself and see what shows up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KESTRIE 1/4/2011 8:41PM

    I also have issues with not feeling loved by my parents. Or anyone, really... My husband and my son, yes. And several friends on Spark.

Thanks again for your kind e-mail. emoticon

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MAYKATCOOPER 12/6/2010 12:03AM

    I'm so sorry that you were forced to pass through your childhood with abuse. It is unforgivable and yet we have a God that grants us precious peace when we do forgive. I am so proud of you and what you are seeking... health and recovery. I will be praying for you and knowing that God is working something wonderful in you right now. Thank you for being willing to be transparent ...and thank you for the kind Birthday Wish. Smile. Kathy

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Holiday stategy for success

Friday, November 26, 2010

I lost 2 pounds this week and I was determined not to do the usual Thanksgiving pig-out and gain a pound of it back in one day. Actually, I usually don't do too badly with holiday dinners; its the little treats and snacks that get me. I've read the articles talking about the calories in Thanksgiving meals and how they can easily be over 4,000 calories and that is more than a pound of weight gain. It's not gonna happen to me!

My stategy for holiday dinners is as follows:

I eat a good breakfast with protein so I don't go to Thanksgiving dinner so hungry that I will be tempted to overeat.

I look at everything available and decide which foods really appeal to me and which ones I could skip. For example, gravy isn't worth the calories and most rolls aren't that special that I really want one. Foods that I do want include turkey and vegetables and pie.

Next is to take the smallest serving possible of things that are high in calories and more of those that are high in nutrients. So, I want 3 oz of white turkey meat. I have a tiny dab of mashed potatoes and stuffing, some green bean casserole, a deviled egg and some cranberry sauce. I have pie for dessert. I don't snack.

I put everything in the nutrition tracker to see what is left for the day. I have used up 1,000 calories for the Thanksgiving meal but don't really need much supper because I am full from the big dinner earlier. It is easy to pick out something to eat that keeps me in my calorie range for the day and gives me a little more protein. I am over on sodium but everything else is in the correct range.

Just because it is a holiday doesn't mean no exercise so the dogs and I take a nice brisk walk. I have already done strength exercises in the morning.

There is no point in weighing today because with all that sodium, I'm carrying around a bunch of excess fluid but I should be fine when I weigh next week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAHTAIT 11/27/2010 9:48AM

    It sounds like you have it all worked out and that is great. it is hard to get through a big meal like this and still keep our calories stable. but you are doing a great job of watching your intake and I am so proud of you! Way to Go!!!

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I'm a closet diabetic

Monday, November 22, 2010

Several years ago, I had pancreatitis and developed mild diabetes (HgbA1c of 6.1) so I took all the appropriate meds and kept it in good control. I had known I had a tendency to diabetes because I had hypoglycemic episodes for many years because of excess insulin. While this may appear to be the opposite of diabetes, it is a precursor to it. Eventually the body becomes insulin resistent and the blood sugar goes up.

Anyway, I went on a diet in 2009, lost about 40 pounds and the diabetes went away. My HgbA1c was 4.7 last time it was checked and I went off the medication. Then I lost my job. There went the diet and of course I no longer had health insurance either. I gained all the weight back.

I've been in denial about the possibility that the diabetes might have come back but finally got brave and checked a fasting blood sugar. It was around 150, definately diabetes. I then admitted that I needed to do something, found some of my old metformin tablets and started taking them plus I got back on Spark People and started making changes. I started with tracking my food. Amazing what that can do to make changes in what I eat. When I have to look at how many calories are in something, I think twice about whether I really want to eat it. Next I added exercise. I've lost 14 pounds in about that many weeks and my blood sugar is perfect. I still hate to say I'm diabetic and I'm really hoping when I get to a normal weight, it will go away and stay gone. I know that there are health care professionals who say it never goes away but there are those of us who believe it can be reversed if it is addressed early enough. I'm determined to reverse it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RENIESSPARKIN 1/2/2011 10:29PM

    Good grief! We could be twins, Eco. I'm fighting the same situations. I dealt with childhood sexual abuse and was very skinny. Then as a young woman, I was raped by a coworker. This time I dealt with it by gaining a lot of weight. Now it seems like every time I lose enough weight that others notice, away I go.

Well, enough, I say! I'm stronger than that, and I don't need to hide behind a ton of lard. I'm doing this one for ME! And with prime examples around like you, we can all meet out goals and truly like ourselves again.

Let's do it! emoticon emoticon

Thank you,

P.S. I wrote an article called, Introduction to Acquaintance Rape, by Irene B. Gardner. If you get a minute, Google it.

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WANDAC2013 11/22/2010 8:17PM

    emoticonI'm a type 2 also and was diagnosed almost 4 years ago. I got my bs under better control and, like you, found myself without work and totally backslid. Now, I'm trying to straighten things out with my health and, yes, I believe it can be reversed. We just need to remember that for the rest of our lives, we need to keep an eye on it! Good luck to you!

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JEN-TINK2 11/22/2010 8:15PM

    I see

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