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And something jumps out at me here, too... Cal

Posted by Racer on October 9, 2008, at 14:26:39

In reply to Re: Scared of my body., posted by Cal on October 9, 2008, at 9:11:42

>I was alwasy told of what a wonderful figure and dress sense she had before she adopted me. ... Im only just begining to understand how much of my adoptivem others emotions were picked up by me.

It sounds as though the whole adoption issue is still a big conflict for you, too. Is that something you've worked on at all?

I'm curious about this, by the way, for my own reasons, so you can ignore the following questions if you're not comfortable discussing them. (I'm unable to have children, and always wanted them. Adoption is still an option, although not likely for a variety of reasons...)

How old were you when you were adopted? Did your mother remind you that you were adopted often, or is that your own sensitivity that's reflected in your words? (If she did remind you often that you were "not really hers," then I have some very bad words in mind about her. Not that I have any opinion on the subject ;-} I hope that she wasn't that cruel and insensitive.)

> its all in the feelings isn't it? The food is just a sympton.

And yeah -- the food/weight/body thing is usually a symptom of an altogether different problem. Here's what I know about weight and eating disorders, in the shortest, most concise form I'm capable of. (In other words, too long...)

First off, weight in general is largely genetic. Eating habits are learned, although they can be unlearned as well -- and sometimes there are weird family dynamics that lead some people to adopt very different dietary habits than their parents very early on. While some of what my mother prepared still strikes me as reasonable, for the most part my cooking is very, very different from what she made, and has been since I took over cooking at home around age 12 to 14. (Self-defense: Mom didn't like to cook, and often had dinner time disasters because she would become distracted and kinda wander off...) Because you're adopted, you may not know what your biological parents body types are, and as a result might not know quite what to expect from your own as you age. (Or, of course, you might know.)

Is it possible you're unconsciously recreating your mother's experience, to show that you "really are" her daughter, to show that you really do belong somewhere? That need for belonging is a very, very powerful force, and I wonder if the whole adoption issue might be a part of this for you. (Again -- speculation, and just something that came into my mind...)

Eating disorders -- whether Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or any of the other options that fall under Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified -- also have a large genetic component. Twin studies have shown that at least 50% of the etiology of EDs is genetic in origin. Largely this is a matter of in-born temperamental vulnerabilities. If parents are not able to model and teach healthy expression of emotions, especially those pesky "negative" emotions, a lot of children experience all sorts of psychological disorders. For some, thanks to the genetic vulnerabilities, that can lead to the development of eating disorders. If you think your weight might be in part a result of emotional eating, it can be considered an eating disorder.

That said -- there are a lot of reasons beyond the simplistic "calories in/calories out" ideas that actually determine weight. Just to give you an idea of some of those factors:

1. Air conditioning/heating -- our bodies have evolved to regulate our body temperature over a large range of climates, and it takes energy (ie: calories) to do so. Modern conveniences like air conditioning reduce our need to put energy into thermoregulation, and so we burn fewer calories.

2. Genetics -- first of all, like tends to marry like, so if one parent tends to be heavy, it's likely the other has the same tendency as well. It's also easier for a woman who is slightly heavier to become pregnant than a leaner woman. (Again -- evolution, which says pregnancy requires some energy reserves.) So, combine the mating of like to like with the higher fertility rates, and you tend to get a population with a higher average BMI.

2.a. Certain ethnic groups also tend to be heavier. The classic example in the US involves certain Native American tribes who are what could be called "easy keepers" -- their bodies have evolved famine resistance, which is great if you experience regular famines. Not so great if you experience the modern over-abundance of food.

3. Sleep deprivation -- I think I'm safe saying that MOST of us these days experience trouble getting enough sleep. There's no one formula for how much sleep any given person requires, but it generally averages about 7 to 9 hours per day, with often much more necessary during adolescence. Inadequate sleep on a regular basis will slow your metabolic rate, and lead to weight gain.

4. Medications -- an awful lot of medications cause weight gain, even in the absence of increased caloric intake. Add in the increase of appetite which some of those same medications can cause -- and you can finish this paragraph for yourself...

5. The disconnection of caloric intake from hunger -- think about it. Many of us eat by a clock, and not from bodily sensations. What's more, non-caloric items like diet sodas also disconnect intake from hunger! The net result is that we're trained to ignore our body's signals, and rely on our eyes and our clocks to decide when and how much to eat.

Those are only a few factors that affect weight. You get the picture, though, right?

And if meds are part of the issue for you, there are also meds which help mitigate weight gain. Talk to your doctor about options.

I hope that helps. Also, are you seeing a therapist?




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