Friday, March 31, 2023

Anoexia, Obesity and weight loss: controlling others vs self-control

Greetings friend of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass (note: if you're wondering why I start every post this way, it's because "how I lost 100 pounds" is one of my keywords so I have to get "how I lost 100 pounds" in three time or so to improve SEO. And explaining that just accomplished that so no more trying to fit it in without sounding awkward LOL! 

One of the goals of my blog is to explore the psychology behind obesity, eating disorders (of which overeating is one) and weight loss. In my last post, we explored the paradox of powerless vs. self-control required for calorie restricting. Today we look at the negative impacts of trying to control others vs. self-control. 

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia and certainly overeating that leads to obesity have an element of controlling others involved. I know I might get flak from people struggling with anorexia or bulimia or obesity, on that. But consider this: self-harm or the threat of it, is a cry for help. However, the help expected is sometimes narrowly defined by the one seeking help. Said more clearly, self-harm can be a way to get others to do what I want not necessarily what I need. And sometimes, the help I think I need harm those I expect to give it. 

I was parented by a person who constantly threatened suicide. As a young child, I recall him telling me that he was going to "end it all." He continually referenced his low self esteem brought on by his "overly critical parents." He was also one of the most arbitrarily critical persons I know. Was this threat of self-harm a cry for help or a way to bully? I was horrified and wanted to help which of course I couldn't And he said there was nothing I could do anyway, yet kept reiterating the suicide threats. So I'm going with cruel bullying. Low self-esteem can be very self-centered and also weaponized to guilt, manipulate and control others. 

Regarding obesity and anorexia, other forms of self-harm, the controlling comes in when overeating, extreme calorie restricting or bingeing is used to manipulate people or causes others harm. "My 600-lb Life" shows very overweight people being waited on and served by others. "My 600-lb Life" Dr. Now always asks "who is feeding you?" Because someone has be the slave of a person who is crippled by obesity. 

Anorexia or bulimia at the other end of the spectrum can be (note I said can be) just as controlling. A person trying to get his way may threaten to purge. She may refuse to eat, to worry parents and get them to lighten up on expectations. Manipulation is obviously not the only issue in an eating disorder. But for anyone dealing with an eating disorder, it's essential to explore what's behind it. 

Getting healthier is about learning that, as Alanon says, we are powerless over people. The only way we find power is to practice self-control vs. manipulative behavior designed to control others. 

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