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Friday, 26 December 2014

Why Obesity Is Plain Self Harm

So, GP's are now required to report patients that are gaining excess weight. At least according to the Telegraph. At risk of inviting unpopularity, which incidentally is no risk at all because I have no fear of it, I actually agree with this idea.
Let's be clear; over eating is self harm. Self harm in the same way excessive alcohol is. The ramifications are so self evident; increased risk of diabetes and other health problems, reduced mobility, additional burden on an already overstretched NHS. People, please please learn to regard obesity as self harm. Assuming of course the weight gain isn't due to existing medical conditions. That's simply how it is, and until we face up to this with honesty and candour I don't think much will change.
So, as a former "Self Harmer", what would I suggest? Well sorry to be boring, but actually nothing new. Self accountability, self control, additional exercise, and above all recognition that you have a problem. Your are self harming. You are harming yourself, and quite possibly those who love you by seriously reducing your lifespan. Nobody is saying that food cannot be enjoyed, because I love it too. But as with all issues the solution starts with personal honesty, an acceptance that you have a problem and that you take ownership. Thing is, if you're anything like me taking responsibility is the highest hurdle, but only when we reach this point can we propel ourselves towards a solution. Another thing that occurs to me is the role true friends play in this enterprise. If we value those closest to us then don't we owe them some honesty when we see a person self harming? I suggest yes, and my inspiration for this is a little book written by my intellectual hero, Sam Harris. It's called simply "Lying" and it can be read in under an hour. If you really care about someone then I think we need to be prepared to be unpopular with them from time to time. To be otherwise is to be a coward, isn't it?
There will be Self Harmers reading this. You may be bristling at what I have to say. Well bristle away. I'd much rather you disliked me and were prompted to examine this matter. If I can add a few years to your life by being the pantomime villain today then I'll ride that wave. I'll do it gladly. You see, your wellbeing is more important than what you think of me. I wouldn't stand by and watch you cut yourself, or walk out in front of a car. So don't ask me to be quiet about this.

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