November 27, 2013

What is the Hidden Problem Behind Obesity?

As a final thought in this series on how abuse impacts our body image, weight, and health, I want to share with you this Ted talk by surgeon, Peter Attia who was moved to question his own judgments and assumptions about obesity and came  to a whole new understanding of how the precursors to a disease, in this case diabetes, cause obesity, and not the other way around.






Have you ever judge someone for having a disease or being overweight and later discovered there was much more to the story? That is wasn't just a "lazy" thing?

November 12, 2013

Does Child Abuse Make You Sick?

I want to share with you today this interview with Dr. Vincent Felitti by Safe Space Radio host Dr. Anne. She speaks with Dr. Felitti

"...about his groundbreaking research to show that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s, like abuse, neglect and severe family dysfunction) are correlated not only with mental illness and addiction, but also with physical illnesses like heart disease, lung disease and even auto-immune diseases.  He reports that just asking patients about the presence of such painful experiences results in fewer medical emergencies and need for extra doctors visits.   Over 17,000 patients were part of a study, showing that the prevalence of ACE’s is terribly high (28% of children experience harsh physical abuse like beatings, and 22% suffer sexual abuse, 16% of boys, and 28% of girls).  He reports that despite these findings about the frequency of child abuse, and the relationship to adult health, many doctors are still very reluctant to ask about it, or to include it in how they think about their patients.  This is especially sad given that the simple act of asking one follow up question about how the abuse is affecting them now, reduces the need for medical care (not to mention the cost!) even further…"

You may have heard much talk recently about how childhood abuse "changes your DNA" -- well, that's not exactly right.

In fact, Dr. Felitti is one of the key researchers and contributors to the the studies that are being referenced when people make these statements, and I had the great pleasure of speaking with Dr. Felitti as well recently.

He explained that the situation is more nuanced than one might think. Child abuse, like any other trauma, can cause an already encoded DNA strand to "present or turn on." The actual structure and material of your DNA doesn't change. It's more like whether the switch is turned on or not.

I think this distinction is important in understanding the overall impact of abuse and certainly for thinking about what our options for recovery are.

Listen now to this interview to learn more!

November 5, 2013

Does Child Abuse Make You Fat?

More and more my clients are bringing to their sessions frustrations and concerns about their weight and body image. More and more, we are understanding the key links between child abuse and obesity.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Cuthbert, a professional counselor and expert in the field of food and weight obsession. You can check out that interview here.

I also want to share with you this interview with Dr. Vincent Felitti by Safe Space Radio host Dr. Anne:

"An interview with Dr. Vincent Felitti about his groundbreaking work discovering the high prevalence of child sexual abuse among those who are obese.  In his clinic 55% of patients coming in for treatment of obesity had histories of child abuse.  When the patients were asked, it turned out that obesity was a form of solution to the problem of unwanted sexual advances.  The eating was a form of comforting for painful feelings, but being large made people (men and women) feel safer in the world.  He reports that obesity treatment programs that do not address the underlying problems of early childhood painful experiences will not be able to address the heart of the problem."

Listen now!

If you are struggling with your weight as a result of childhood abuse, please know that this can be overcome. Many of my clients have been able to successfully release the past and pain of abuse and this has created the space for them to move forward in their lives in both health and happiness.

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