Psychology of obesity.
We all love food and we thrive on it. Indians have become foodies as they develop a liking for all types of food ranging from North India to South India and from East to West India. Not only that, but our tastes are now crossing the national boundaries, to appreciate inter-continental food like Chinese, European, Thai and what not! In Nagpur we find all the hotels full as people enjoy eating out with friends and family. Eating and dining out is a favorite pastime of many. This pleasure drive focused on eating is leading to health imbalances and risks such as malnourished on one side and obesity on the other hand. We see a large number of people becoming overweight and gradually obese.
Among children the mother plays an important role. The mother’s attitude towards food, diet and health plays a vital role in inculcating eating habits and eating behaviour. A mother encourages the habit of fast food in the child’s tiffinbox at school since it is easier and faster to cook. A health conscious mother discourages weight gain and packs the child off to swimming or any other sport as soon as she sees excess weight thus keeping the child fit and trim. Another mother likes her children a little round and plump and does not like lean and thin kids for she feels that they do not look well fed! So she encourages overeating and a few kilos of weight gain is considered normal and ideal. An obese mother makes the child an excuse to eat along with the child whatever she loves! My child loves chocolates she says as she indulges in them!
Besides the above reasons eating behavior is linked to specific personality traits such as neuroticism, impulsivity and low discipline. People with an emotional vulnerability, tendency towards depression, feelings of loneliness, sadness coupled with the trait of impassivity can indulge in wrong eating behaviors Emotional eating and external eating are the two types of wrong eating habits as compared to restrained eating which is proper and healthy. But restrained eating requires self discipline, optimism, strong personality traits and a focused goal in life. External eating follows after experiencing external cues such a strong smell of food, the sight of food or the sound of it and the inability to control the impulse of eating.
It is all in the mind after all. Hence a healthy mind leads to good eating behavior and a healthy body.