What is Obesity? What Are The Causes Of Obesity?

Obesity is defined as being significantly over the average weight range based on your height. This is typically measured by using standard BMI (body mass index) calculations with 24.9 being the highest healthy BMI and anything under 18.5 considered underweight. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI higher than 30 is commonly referred to as obese.

Currently more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight, and 1 in 3 are considered obese. This number is climbing with each passing year and is more of a problem than ever in developing countries due to the industrialization of their economies, growing middle class, and the ever increasing dependence on fast food restaurants or processed food that is calorically dense but lacking in essential nutrients.

Scale and tape measure
Weight loss therapy sessions will show you just what it takes in order to achieve your body image goals.

While there is much debate over using BMI as a tool for determining obesity, actual calculations are often unnecessary to determine whether a person is overweight or obese. Excessive fat deposits, and poor health are often the only indicators one needs for determining whether they are overweight or obese. BMI as a tool is only a guidelines, as it doesn’t take into consideration the natural difference in body shapes and proportions, or the density of muscle as related to fat. For example, a 5-foot 9-inch male that weighs over 203 pounds is considered to be obese, while many professional athletes or bodybuilders exceed these measurements with less than 10-percent total body fat. The methodology is flawed, but as a guideline BMI is always acceptable in lieu of more dependable methods.

Methods Used in Obesity Therapy

The methods used in treating obesity run the gamut from diet and exercise, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, medication, behavioral modification therapy or even surgery. Each case is different and there’s no single way to treat obesity or to formulate a recovery plan. Different options are effective in different people and while one person just needs a focused nutrition and exercise plan, this may be largely ineffective for another. Additional considerations such as thyroid issues can also complicate matters.

In general, obesity therapy will be a combination of one or more types of psychotherapy in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program. Most therapists are aware that one treatment method isn’t often enough to bring an obese person back to a healthy weight, so combined therapies within this space aren’t at all uncommon. In fact, most therapies are going to be used in conjunction with recommendations for dietary changes and a moderate amount of exercise each day.

Why Hire a Therapist?

Those that struggle with obesity are often better served by having an accountability partner, or a therapist who helps them to remain accountable. In addition, the proper therapist can guide you on the many facets needed to make sustainable life changes in order to bring your weight down to a healthy level. For those with thyroid, mobility or hormonal issues, a therapist may be your only hope for losing the weight. It’s not uncommon for those faced with these kinds of issues to have exhausted all of the natural options to lose weight and require a professional in order to advise them on what the next steps are, from surgery to behavioral therapy or prescription drugs.

Another consideration is the fact that there may be underlying health issues caused by the extra weight such as diabetes, hypertension, or pain in the joints that could require additional treatment before you can start – or resume – a diet or exercise program. Or, if you don’t have any physical problem preventing you from diet or exercise, you may be surprised to learn that stress levels, hormonal imbalances or depression could all be factors in your unsuccessful attempts to lose weight thus far. Only a qualified professional would be able to advise you if any – or all – of these factors are preventing you from losing the weight.

What to Look for When Finding a Therapist

When looking for a therapist, it’s important to understand the types of treatment they specialize in so that you choose a type of treatment that you believe fits your current lifestyle. It’s also important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable talking with and are able to establish some sort of connection to better define what your goals are, and what steps you need to take to accomplish them.