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By Lianda Ludwig

In the news recently Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch told the world that he doesn’t consider overweight women to be ?cool enough? for their brand, and doesn’t want them shopping in his stores.

Governor Chris Christie took his share of jokes and bashing after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Jokes from talk show hosts emphasized that he couldn’t even control his own eating behavior, would you trust him to make decisions about important world matters?

Unfortunately, we’ve been so brainwashed by the Diet/Medical Industry, that overweight people are often the brunt of jokes and sarcastic remarks from those who think that fat people deserve the scorn they receive. ?Politically Correct? doesn’t come into the equation when it comes to the overweight.

We have a myth-informed public that insists you got overweight from being undisciplined, lazy and that you lack the moral fiber to maintain any weight loss you achieve. Sadly, overweight people are also quick to accept this castigation, and are frequently first in line to blame themselves for getting overweight in the first place.

The fact is, there is something that the vast majority of overweight people have in common. STRESS is the common denominator. Unless you are a very unusual person, a stressful change or event in your life precipitated weight gain. It could be the break-up of a relationship, financial pressures, being afraid of losing your job, illness or death of a close fried or family member, abuse or even humiliation. And there are others effects from stress that may be chronic, like a continuous white noise that you don’t notice, until it’s turned off.

Stress changes how your body metabolizes food. Oftentimes people won’t even change their ?normal? eating patterns and start gaining weight from its effect. Dieting and over-exercising to overcome overweight also throws the body into stress. And the stress of self-condemnation, depression, and difficult emotions puts your body in a state where it doesn’t feel safe. All of these factors work against any permanent weight loss. This will not change until the stress is managed; or better yet, eliminated.

If losing weight were so easy as claimed by talk show hosts and people who have never dieted, wouldn’t there be just one diet that people would go on, and then they would be ?cured? of their overweight for good?

Have you ever tried to eat more when you were already full? It doesn’t feel good. No matter how great that chocolate brownie sundae looks, or how great that garlic bread smells, when you are full, your body should be screaming at you: ?You’ve had enough! Don’t open your mouth again. When people continue to eat when they’re full, it’s a symptom of a broken mechanism. It can be because you don’t feel full because you are multi-tasking and not paying attention to your body; or you are using food as the drug of choice to deal with an emotional need.

The great news is that feeding yourself the food you love can be used as effective stress relief. ?When you eat mindfully, you spend time nurturing yourself eating and enjoying and experiencing tasting your food. Exclude all distracting events, such as reading, watching TV, driving a car and any other way behavior other than eating! Mealtime then becomes an enjoyable revitalizing event where you start to re-establish your connection to your body’s natural hunger/satiation signals. Often, this change alone will lower your stress levels, and allow your body to feel safe enough to give up that extra weight. Give yourself this gift of self-nurturing. You deserve it.