Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hoarding & Obesity - the parallels are shocking!

I guess I have been watching a lot of TV the past couple of days because today's blog is inspired by things I have seen on television that have given me insight into human nature. 

You can learn a lot about a society based on what you can see on television. 

There is a show on the TLC network called "Hoarders - Buried Alive" 

If you have never seen this show, I recommend that you watch at least one episode. It will open your eyes to an entire labyrinth of the psychological human being. It is shocking how much I have learned about myself by watching someone else's struggles. 

I will admit that the first time I saw the show, I had a reaction that is probably similar to the one you will have or have had if you have seen it. I thought, "How on God's earth does someone think that living this way is ok?" 

You see, I am a clean person. I feel peace when things are organized and I am able to rest when my house is clean and things are in their place. So, it is easy for me to judge someone who uses piles and piles of "stuff" as a coping mechanism and security "fortress" - which is what most of these people do. Stuff becomes the only thing in their lives that they can control. So, the process of cleaning out the stuff becomes more than just a simple spring cleaning yard sale. It becomes an emotional assault on their lives. 

I realized something today. 

If you are a significantly overweight person then re-read the paragraphs above and replace the word "stuff" with the word "food". Aren't the parallels shocking?? 

I know that there are people out there who feel "peace" or they are able to rest when their bodies are well taken care of and they are healthy. They would look at a person like me or at someone who is morbidly obese (which I used to be) and think to themselves, "How on God's earth does someone think that living this way is ok?" 

It is hard to understand that, just like hoarding, morbidly obese people do not decide one day "I think I will ruin my life and eat so much that I put myself in danger." Food, to them, really does equate to security, safety, and control. Even though a healthy person may look on at an obese person who is trying to get healthy and say, "Wow, they are starting to take control of their lives." It feels just the opposite to that obese person. At times, it feels like you are so out of control that it is emotionally impossible to handle. 

I think that it is safe to say that everyone has their own ways of dealing with life. Some people start smoking, some people exercise, some people move in and out of relationships, some people hoard, and some people turn to food. Of course some of these coping mechanisms are healthy and some are not. 

Why would I write all of this? I just had a revelation that human beings are all the same. You may think it is disgusting that I would say at my weight that you are just the same as me. You may think you are better than me for whatever reason. But, guess what? We are the same. 

We all deal with life. 

So, the next time you see a person who is extremely overweight. Try to see them as a human being just like you, with people they love and issues they deal with. See past their fat. I realize that most people who would read my blogs are not the type of people who would make fat jokes or look upon someone else in disgust, but we all have prejudices that we don't even realize are there. I know I did. 

It was so easy to judge these people on tv ... until I realized that we really are the coping mechanisms are just different than theirs. 

You know, I have had times when saying no to pizza sends me into literal tears. 

(That was hard to admit to the whole world) 

That may be shocking to you. But that is reality to someone who struggles with weight issues. Just like throwing out cardboard boxes can send a hoarder into panic mode. 

The great thing is that once you recognize the problem, you can start working on how to fix it. Your weight issue may not be something that you can fix by "just going to the gym" or "just eat less". It may be something you have to dig deep and figure out about yourself. Maybe you need to find another way to cope with life issues? 

Anyway, Im glad I got this out. If you are reading this and you need to talk to someone, Im a great listener. Or you just have questions for me, Im an open book. 

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