Why is our culture so obsessed with weight loss? Did you know that Americans spend around $60 billion dollars a year on weight loss products? That number baffles me. Are Americans really that vain? Why are so many people concerned about their weight?
I’m not denying that obesity is a growing public health crisis. It definitely is! 60% of adults are considered overweight or obese. However, I’m not convinced that the weight is the full story. I think the weight is a symptom of a deeper problem that we are struggling with as a society.
It’s very possible that my daily experience with psychiatric illness clouds my perspective. However, I truly believe that our obsession with weight actually stems from the emotional poverty that faces our society.
American culture has exceedingly become very lonely and isolated. I remember growing up the biggest frustration I had was that I felt lonely. I think Americans are using food to cover up their emotional problems. I did this just last night. My son got in trouble for lying, and I immediately went to the kitchen and started to stress eat.
Food is a fantastic source of comfort. It helps us feel good and releases dopamine into our brain. Americans have mastered the art of creating delicious food that doesn’t satiate us. However, food is a poor substitute for a hug or an encouraging friend. Food can’t satisfy our soul the way close connections with other humans can.
Why is it so hard to develop healthy, nourishing relationships? Meaningful relationships require work and vulnerability, which is a combination that isn’t nearly as convenient as opening a bag of donuts. I’m going to be talking more about this in an upcoming podcast. Stay tuned!
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