The war on obesity can create gateways to eating disorders – what to think about as a parent

The “War on Obesity” has been going on for some time, delightfully supported by the multi-billion-dollar diet industry that is right here to help us with books, programs, food and other products that we can buy to help us fight that war.

But has the war done us any good? Has it actually done harm?

We’re not here to fight the debate right now; the important thing is to think about it.

We have been trained by the mass media to view obesity as a terrible curse, a scrounge of the modern society, something to be fought and battled and overcome.

But by making the assumption that all fat is bad, and that people who are obese are bad, we may be unintentionally passing along dangerous messages to our children, especially if they are at risk for an eating disorder.

Unfortunately, fighting the war on obesity – eat less, exercise more – looks an awful like an eating disorder. This may be a healthy approach for some people, but for those of us who are predisposed to eating disorders, it can quickly become an unhealthy obsession that interferes with our health and wellbeing much more than being overweight ever will.

Consider your assumptions about obesity and what it means to be overweight or obese. What do you think about or say about people who are overweight or obese? Is it possible that your feelings and words about obesity have unintentionally supported your child’s development of an eating disorder.

Remember – you are never to blame for the eating disorder. Eating disorders arise from a complex “soup” of ingredients including genetics, society, personality, and many other factors. But as a parent, you can support your child’s recovery from an eating disorder by making some adjustments to how you view the war on obesity, and talk to your child about how to manage hearing and seeing diet messages on a daily basis.

Check out this video for an excellent recap by Craig Johnson:

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