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Obesity and Child Abuse

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Dear Dr. Levister: I was abused as a child. With psychotherapy and maturity I am now able to move on with life. The downside is I’ve spent a lot of time drowning in comfort food. At 260 pounds, it’s difficult to look at myself in the mirror. How do I break the eating cycle? W.O.

Dear W.O.: First, let me commend you on your courage to speak out. Many women who are abused as a child, ignore, abandon and take their pain and dysfunction to their grave. The biggest step forward is recognizing that you’ve come through it all, that you’re a survivor.

You say you’ve benefited from therapy and maturity. It’s now time to focus on what matters in the present and the way you choose to use it. Remember, you’ve been able to overcome unimaginable horrors you had no control over. Now you do have control even over those comfort foods.

Create a boot camp with family and friends by getting healthy together. Start walking. Check out the local mall. Most allow fitness activities before stores open. First you may only make it two blocks or one lap around a track. Stick with it. This is a great time to air out the lungs, stretch the muscles and get the heart racing. Keep a journal and reinforce members of your group. Soon you’ll not only look better but you’ll feel more energized. Let me emphasize “This is for you” – don’t allow family members, friends, co-workers and others to steal your momentum.

It’s your life and your body.

You are what you eat. Revamp your diet and reduce your calories.

Add fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish to the mix. Cut back on the carbs and slowly eliminate sugar. You’ll probably feel tired as you detox from sugar. You can still have your cake and eat it to by introducing sugar free or low sugar desserts to your diet. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer to get your workout routine off to a good start.

Contact your doctor or a nutritionist for additional weight loss and weight control advice. You may qualify for one of the many discounted minimally invasive weight loss programs but investigate them fully. Now that you’ve committed to letting go of the pain and reducing your baggage, you’ve got to move forward with the strength you’ve been given to live your best life.

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