Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Seeing this article on some studies about the role childhood trauma can play in health outcomes and specifically becoming fat, [thanks to Bri for the link] fills me with mixed feelings. A conclusion from one 286 person study reported that 50% of fat male adolescents had been sexually abused, makes one wonder about how fat men would feel about being identified thus.

In this atmosphere of everyone being an expert in fatness and its supposed inherent pathology, violation of fat people's sense of privacy is par for the course, this is a bit much though. One can imagine having to either deny or even to avoid comment when confronted with the usual inquisition regarding why one is fat.

Not pleasant to have to deal with the shamateur psychologists, who feel it's imperative to confront fat people with their latest notion and watch them squirm with from a vantage point of smug superiority and denial. Any reaction is felt to show the innate wrongness of fat people and confirms the rightness of the action. The report does the usual thing of fusing fatness with mythical decisions to "overeat", rather than considering the possibility that the overall stressors on the nervous system change the way the body functions in a wide ranging way, including affecting appetite and hunger signals, it then says this;
High ACE scorers who do not overeat, smoke or take drugs still have high rates of obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes.
(ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences)

That refers to metabolic change. It feels to me to undermine the idea that that 'overeating' directs weight, more than being a feature of metabolic activity (change). It also suggests that the presence of fatness in the body, changes mood, supports, keeps it elevated against the downward pressure of traumatic events. Or even feelings of shame. 

Which would explain why people felt disturbed by the loss of that anti-depressant effect. It gets on my nerves when this is creepily explained as the person being scared of weight loss. How would it be, when it wouldn't occur to many people that their weight itself is the defence not any eating that may be occuring.

Of course that generates feelings of panic, fear and a sense of loss, that weight is playing a role. The fixation on food has always obscured that the emotive 'causes' of fat or anything would be more logically dealt with via dealing with the trauma rather than attacking what's likely to be a defence mechanism in action.

It doesn't surprise me that our nervous system especially can be permanently changed by titanic emotions, positive and negative. You have one body, everything that goes on in your head, all your feelings and experiences are processed in that body. How can that not affect its function?

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