Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Huffington Post
On a recent episode of my show, I met a woman named Sandi. Her eyes streamed with tears as she told me about how she binged on food every night after her children were asleep. She was at her wit's end. She was suffering with complications from obesity -- borderline diabetes, hypertension, fatigue and most importantly, depression and anxiety. To modern medicine, she was a simple math equation -- her BMI needed to be under 30, her blood sugar around 100 and blood pressure around 120/70. There are any number of useful drugs that could help. But they would by no means deal with the cause of her problems or bring her to wellness.
Sandi isn't just a math equation that I can fix with drugs or surgery. She is a person, plain and simple. To treat her properly I need to understand every aspect of her life -- her food cravings that she likens to getting a crack hit, her feelings of defeat as she gives in night after night, her feelings of powerlessness and isolation. I need to look at her family; her life circumstances; her mental and spiritual health; her relationships; her daily routine; where she lives and how she gets to work each day. I need to provide to her with a comprehensive list of additional resources -- therapists, counselors, nutritionists, exercise trainers, spiritual counselors, her personal "go to" team to buttress every corner of her personhood.
Sandi will go to a long-term rehabilitative facility that treats patients with chronic eating disorders by addressing the physical and emotional components that make up the distress I witnessed at her intervention. The list of factors is lengthy, but each of them is deeply embedded in every tear that rolls down her cheek as she shares her story. And Sandi's tears are a call to action....(Remainder.)