Do diets and weight loss products really work, or are we just wasting our time and money?
There are currently 100 million dieters in America who are spending $20 billion a year on weight loss products, and yet 70% of our population is still overweight, with one in three considered obese. That’s not even counting the billions spent on surgeries, supplements, and weight loss drugs.
If they actually worked, we wouldn’t have to go on so many of them, would we?
We spend our time fiddling about with the latest and greatest weight loss fads, while dancing around the real issues. The majority of our population is overweight for a reason. The convenience of fast food, prepackaged meals, and too much sugar aren't the primary problem.
No one is forcing this stuff down our gullets. We are willing participants when we indulge in eating unhealthy foods. It’s also not a lack of nutritional education. Most people know that their diets are what is causing their weight gain, and while they might not be food experts, they understand that fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are the best things to eat to stay slim.
Yet they don’t. Why is that?
There is only one reason for the obesity epidemic in this country, and that reason is fear.
People can spend years fighting fat and still have a hard time losing weight. They can blame what kind of food they eat or don’t eat, how much they exercise, or stress at work, but they are still dancing around the deeper issue. People keep weight on because they are frightened a have a deep seated need to protect themselves.
Americans are steeped and saturated in fear. We report around the same personal stress levels as other countries do, yet we have much higher levels of irrational fear. We don’t even realize that most of our fears ARE irrational.
According to a national survey, 3 out of 4 parents rate their level of anxiety about their child being kidnapped by a stranger as high, even to the point of having it affect how much time they let their kids play outside. According to NCMEC, of the 75 million children in the US, there are 280,000 kidnappings a year. 200,000 of those are parental abductions, 58,000 are acquaintances, and only 115 are by strangers.
A parent's odds of winning the lottery are better than the odds that their child will get kidnapped, and yet this is a fear that affects how parents raise their kids. Irrational fear.
People are terrified that crime rates are skyrocketing, and yet the FBI reports that since 1991, violent crime rates have dropped by 51%. That means that you are half as likely to be raped, murdered, or beaten up as you would have been 30 years ago. Irrational fear.
A large part of the reason for all of this fear is the internet and television. The entertainment industry and the media throw scary stories out at us and we eat it up. We focus a big part of our attention on it, and eventually all we see is the big bad terrifying world that’s been created for us.
This stuff affects us. When we are inundated with negativity and darkness on a daily basis, it influences our behavior. Fear stresses us out, and for many of us, stress makes us want to eat. Eating is comforting. Gaining weight makes us bigger, and being bigger makes us feel safe.
I’m not suggesting that everybody's weight problems are due to irrational fear only. We might feel insecure, stressed, or frightened in our personal lives and use food to make us feel better. Some people have to contend with genetic and health issues as well. What I am suggesting is that it could account for why we have such a large problem with weight in America. We are a frightened country with an obesity problem. I believe there is a correlation between these two things.
If you’re trying to lose weight and have difficulty doing so, maybe it’s time to go on a media diet. Limit the amount of scary shows, negative news stories, and social media posts you’re ingesting every day. Once you’ve done that, then you can start addressing the negative beliefs that you’ve bought into, and begin to do your inner work without being affected by external things that are actually pretty unimportant.
When we feel less fear, we feel less need for protection. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. For more information about her, please visit her website at www.barbarabuck.org. Check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.