Essay by Devon HillUniversity, Bachelor's November 1996

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America has become a society obsessed with appearance, especially weight. We are conditioned

at a young age to believe the only way to be normal is to be thin. This norm is projected to millions of

Americans each day through television, magazines, billboards and every other form of media and

advertising. How are people to know acceptance and happiness with themselves and others when

our culture propagates what the perfect body should be.

It is the search for the elusive, perfect body that has created a thirty-three billion dollars a year

weight loss industry. Yet few reduce their body fat and even fewer maintain their weight loss beyond

two to three years. This leads to yo-yo dieting and increased low self-esteem of people constantly

struggling to become what they see as a normal member of society.

A problem that lies within this problem, is the chronically obese person. Obesity is when one's body

wieght is 25-30% above normal.

While overweight is 20-30 pounds over normal. Most people,

including health care providers see the problem with obesity as eating too much and exercising too

little. But in truth, for many obese people the problem lies with genetic predisposition, metabolic

problems, binge eating or sometimes all. These factors make dieting virtually impossible because

these problems are not ones that can be solved by simply cutting calories. Especially the problem of

binge eating.

Compulsive 'binge' eating in the obese is not caused by just wanting to eat. The want to eat is

caused by looking for a sense of security. A sense of security wanted because there are poor or no

coping skills for stress or depression and low self-esteem. Therefore, when a compulsive overeater

or binge eater diet, the diet is doomed to fail because the weight returns when the person resumes...