Newsletter | October 2019

Responsibility & Shame

Fat Shaming

Changing automatic habitual reactive patterns and food addiction cannot be done with shame.

Recently on the Late Late Show James Corden took his fellow presenter Bill Maher to task for suggesting that 'fat shaming' should make a come back.

Corden is spot on about the issue of over eating being complex. Persistently eating more calories than the body needs could be: an evolutionarily maladaptive act, a self medicating process for depression, an act of self harm or a myriad of other things and combinations of things.

Refined sugar, fat, gluten and dairy are delicious and bring almost no benefit to your body other than a sizeable and temporary dopamine hit. So while the body might struggle to find sustenance or nourishment, your mood will be positively altered; and that is a good thing.

Much like a line of cocaine, the dopamine hit from these foods is massive compared with other foods. And once you've become habituated to this rapid easy high, it's difficult even to be aware when you're going for it. A good sign you're eating automatically is when you can't remember what you've eaten or when you're not focussing on your food while you eat. Watching TV with a pint of ice cream is a classic example.

Much has been written recently about addiction being a disease. If this is true, imagine trying to shame someone into curing their disease. Shaming someone doesn't make them active; quite the opposite.

Despite what we might think when we look in the mirror in the morning our bodies are beautiful. We're unique. Our species is probably one of the most highly developed cognitive species the planet has ever known. Perhaps this is why breaking our automatic or habitual patterns is so difficult.

But if you can stop, just for one second; go to the kitchen and hold a ripe mango in your hand, smell it, peel it and eat it; perhaps you can stop again when you've finished, close your eyes and feel in your body the difference between eating this and a pint of ice cream.