Friday, 13 July 2012

Bodies as cause and effect

A study recently garnered some results which found the prevalence of fatness increased with the degree of physical/sexual abuse experienced in childhood.

The information was from Black women, matching the information from a 2005 study, with measurements taken more recently.

'Obesity' was defined by the usual BMI of 30 plus a measurement of at least 35 inches around the waist-which was deemed "central obesity". Both measurements showed the increase which lessened slightly after modifications were included for variables such as; diet, physical activity, reproductive history etc.,

Its findings are in keeping with other research done in this area.

My view on fatness/weight and trauma in general is unchanged. Eating is designed to nourish and replenish your body, primarily. It also can have a secondary function based on its ability to replenish your physical energy, which lifts mood. It's one of the reasons alcohol can do the same, energy (from calories).

The body can open up channels to spontaneously recruit this effect, helping to support the regulation of your mood when you're under some sustained level of duress. It can be brought into play by the stress and trauma of abuse, emotional torment as that is often a case of luck as to whether any trauma resolves itself of its own accord. Humans mostly depend on that.

Dealing with that that won't heal is not one of our strong points.

So though people often describe themselves as "using food to cope" because they feel it in a conscious way. It seems to be more often to be about ones susceptibility towards this plus trigger. People aren't always very good at locating the cause of some of their actions. Look how many people were able to be convinced that they deliberately decided to become fat because they didn't give damn about how much they ate. Now some of them are saying that wasn't the case. 

We should be wary of the extent of suggestibility when it comes to deliberate intent and eating, because that is the dominant ideological perception of eating. It's also false, eating is not primarily a consciously directed process. 

The body can use to this mood regulation, when it feels the necessity (which can vary hugely) to help stave off neurosis. To stop it culminating to becoming an ingrained condition which itself threatens your existence.

The issue here is this is supposed to be temporary, giving you a bit of time to deal with and resolve the source of stress and/ its aftermath, without sinking into a debilitating state which would mitigate against this.

If that doesn't happen it can keep going and cause side effects of its own. That is part of what has been mangled as "food addiction" or a chronic eating disorder. When actually, we've never come to terms with dealing with old trauma. We just keep going until it fells us. If it doesn't we can pretend we got over it with our own inner resources. Riiiight.

It must be said though that what is usually left out is there seems to be some kind of chemical effect from the physicality of fatness itself, on mood regulation and support. Perhaps the body even works it out on a percentage basis, which may be part of why the overwhelming majority of bodies put on a certain amount. This can be an adaptation to environment, i.e. likely necessity. Just like food insecurity there's mood insecurity? Tending to retain reserves in case of additional trauma. Being fatter in itself may have some kind of palliative effect. Rather like what underlies this aspect of 'obesity' paradox-which is just a way of saying pathologizing fatness is the wrong way to define it.

The body doesn't always have to use the lever of increased intake at all or alone, it can just shift its rate of storage or energy conservation. Depending on the individual capacity and flexibility in this area.

It sometimes seems to go the other way i.e. the same can lead some people to shed weight, which may or may not also have another kind of palliative effect as well as any alteration of physical function triggered by the trauma in itself.

The tradition is here is to fixate on eating rather than the underlying state of the nervous system, so its almost always put down to that.Yet eating is merely a metabolic function, it is intimately affected by the demands made on you.

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