Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Emotional Weight Loss from Sadness

I was recently interview on a network news show about a reality star's weight issue. She had recently lost a tremendous amount of weight over a short period and I was asked to comment on the mental health surrounding such weight loss and it’s influence on the public, especially young girls.

She appears to have lost between 20 and 30 pounds, by my estimation, over a three month period. According to the reporter, she stated that she lost the weight from sadness. I stated that it’s not healthy to lose that much weight that fast especially if she is not doing it through a well managed diet. When you are purposefully trying to lose weight, losing one to two pounds a week is safe.

Losing weight in a healthy manner includes exercise and eating healthy foods and supplementing with vitamins to replace the vitamins you are not getting from a restricted diet. If she lost all that weight from not eating because she was unhappy, then she was not taking care of her body. She was probably not eating the healthiest foods nor taking vitamins nor exercising if she was not taking care of her body. That alone is unhealthy way to lose weight.

Aerobic exercise is very important to maintaining good health and it also helps to lift us out of depression. Her unhappiness combined with weight loss sounded more like a possible depression. When we are depressed, we can stop eating because nothing feels pleasurable to us anymore.

Instead of seeking pleasure, depressed people sometimes turn inward and isolate away from pleasurable opportunities. People suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can also lose weight as a symptom of the disorder. Often, we can’t lift ourselves out of a major depression or PTSD by ourselves. At those times, we may want to seek out a therapist to help us through those times.

I have a sense that she is not really setting a bad example for girls in this particular case. If she were touting her sudden weight loss as a sexy desirable thing to do, then yes she would be doing young girls a disservice. I’m not so sure that this is what she is doing. This seems to be something episodic for her and that she’ll probably go back to her more natural weight when she has resolved the issues in her life that are triggering this weight loss.

At least she was aware of the connection between the sadness and the weight loss. Undesired weight loss is a sign that something is wrong emotionally and that something needs to be addressed. She has an opportunity serve as a wonderful example to young girls as someone who listens to her body and her feelings and takes action to take care of and respect it when it speaks. We all go through phases of sadness, fear, loneliness and depression. That’s normal.

By honoring those emotions with patience, respect and self-love, we are able hear the quiet whispers of what those feelings are trying to tell us about ourselves. Her body may be trying to get her emotional attention. She may want to listen to what it is trying to tell her. My guess is that her body is asking for more love and acceptance of herself. In order to do this, that love must be found from within and not from the outside.

Always consult your physician should you experience sudden or unexpected weight loss. It could indicate a serious medical condition that needs attention.

For more information on Dr. James E. Walton you may log onto his website at LAtherapist.com There you will find free affirmation downloads, videos, self-help CDs and helpful topical pages for you to explore.

1 comment:

SWP said...