Monday, February 24, 2014
Last night, I happened upon the British series "Supersize Vs Superskinny" while looking about on youtube. If you haven't seen this before, the series pits a super-obese client against a super-thin client and for 48-hours they have to eat each others typical menu. Interspersed with this are various reports, depending on the season, about fad diets or about novel fitness programs, etc. The point of this was that the superthin and superfat would learn something about eating, each registering their extreme behaviours when faced with the reaction of the other.
The point is so simplistic it is astounding. What on earth could two dysfunctional eaters learn about diet and wellness from each other? In one episode I saw, the superobese client sat with a mug of sweetened tea while her superthin counterpart ate her usual lunch of a box of chocolates. I found it hard to tear my eyes away from the messed up logic karma.
I was most struck, however, by the way in which these people were each treated. The superthin just needed to eat more... the superobese needed to step up and take control of themselves; rein in the eating. Have more willpower! Just stop eating vs. just eat!
Both of these people were suffering malnutrition, although it was never said. There was no mention of the fact that both of them were starving from a nutritional point of view, no mention of the physical effects that metabolic dysfunction exerts on an obese person, including a drive to eat more and move less.
Food and diet is so complicated. How much comes down to psychology and how much to physiology? If you can't tell someone suffering from depression to snap out of it, why is it ok to tell an over-eater to snap out of it? If an alcoholic isn't an alcoholic BECAUSE they drink too much, why is an over-eater obese because they eat too much? Where is the cause and where is the effect?
Well, I think making certain changes is within everyone's capacity but there are definitely many aspects of weight loss and weight gain that are far more complicated than we give them credit for.