Feb 052010
 

Yesterday I talked a little about the impact of childhood adversity on adulthood.  Let me tell you a story about that…

So in the late 1980’s, there was a guy who was an internal medicine physician (adult doc) in California.  He ran an employee health clinic, and spent his time trying to get obese people to lose weight and become healthier.  The clinic helped folks learn about nutrition, gave them an exercise regimen, and monitored their progress.  And, they lost weight.  However, what he noticed was that there were some people who were initially successful, but then reverted back to their old habits and regained the weight.

Can you relate to that? 

Well, this doc didn’t like that one bit (you can imagine what Jillian Michaels would have to say about it…), so he sat down with some of these folks over a cup of coffee and let them tell him about their problems.  At first they talked about the role of food in their lives, but eventually the conversation drifted to the things that we humans use to comfort ourselves – food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex, sleep, withdrawal from relationships. 

If we’re honest, we all use those things or others to comfort ourselves.  For me, it’s chocolate.  And caffeine.  And maybe occasionally a margarita.  With lots of tequila. 

The problem is that you can’t really heal an internal problem with an external solution.  And when the internal problems are a gaping, bottomless pit, all the chocolate or caffeine or alcohol in the world won’t help.  And in the meantime, you get fat.  Or sick.  Or addicted.  Or dead.  In fact, in the population that this doc studied, not only were folks obese, they had high rates of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure (from overeating),  liver disease (from alcohol), lung disease (from smoking), drug abuse, sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy/abortion, depression and suicide. 

Not just a little more.  A LOT more.  In fact, they were dead men walking…

Depressed yet? Hang in there – we will get to some hope soon.  Tune in again tomorrow…