35 Comments to
Wearing Your Weight As Armor

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  1. An excellent article. Thank you so much for making this important point.

  2. Hi,

    This is so true, I have been reading up on Laurel Mellin and Emotional Brain Training for the past few years and this is the first time I have heard someone besides her really talk about the emotional protection of being heavy.

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. The catchwords can be good or no, but have to speak it of a way tolerante and in which can solve the problem, since a lot of people needs solutions in the sector medico and until the moment there are not them, as it says findrxonline fault still main approach in this subject, expected take main letters in the subject.

  4. Finally I have confirmation! After my mothers emotional abuse, & fathers lack of nurturing, came sexual promiscuity, & sexual abuse.
    I drank to mask the pain, & was abused even more.
    Alone & rejected, I got into the wrong relationships looking for the love I couldn’t get from home. Pregnant, beaten to a bloody pulp, held buy knifepoint, abducted, the jury gave him 6 months jail time. I medicated with food, icecream, alchol. I went from 118lbs to 248 now.
    I still can’t shake the verbal abuse from childhood, & I’m 57 yrs old. Thank you for confirming my inner feelings. Now I know I’m not imagineing these feelings.

  5. What is wrong with Florida?

  6. Yeah…what is up with Florida? This is a great article…i have known for a while now that the reason that i emotionally eat is due to the sexual abuse that took place in my early childhood. Thanks for the wonderful article.

  7. I’m in no way disagreeing with Dr. Sharma and others who find up to 40% of patients seeking help for obesity have a history of sexual abuse, but I want to point out that reports of sexual abuse of women in general seem to run about 15% to 30% of women, and that’s just what people are willing to state. A surprising number of my frIends have experienced upsetting sexual abuse as children or teens with an older person, and, in addition to clearly criminal sexual abuse, many of them had their first sexual intercourse while saying NO. They were willingly agreeing to be engaged in intimate conduct with a partner but had drawn a limit, which they clearly expressed, and that line was crossed. The guy said, “but I could tell she wanted it.” She may have “wanted” it, but she had decided NOT to, for her own physical and emotional protection, and felt powerless at her decision being overridden. This experience may be date rape but also, to the guy, seems less serious, and the girl herself does not consider it a crime but an unfortunate hurt. Count these girls and a much larger number of women have been sexually harmed than is ever normally counted.

  8. Best article I’ve read on AOL in 10 years. I was wondering who told on us “fatties”?

  9. this article makes more sense the most of the rubbish you read relating to weight and health, it shows how people have a love/hate relationship with food just like they have a love/hate relationship with the person or thing that made them feel so desperate in the first place.

  10. Makes sense for an emotional eater.

  11. This has been quite eye opening. My daughter was raped at 14 and was sexually abused by her bio dad. She went from being an active teen who weighed around 160 lbs to a withdrawn child who ballooned up to over 300 lbs in the matter of about a year. I couldn’t get any help or information from her at the time. She refused counseling and became more withdrawn the more I pushed, so I stopped pushing and waited. Now, almost 4 years later the truth has come out and we are trying to deal with all the emotions now that she’s almost up to 380 lbs after 4 years of pain…

    Dear friends, have a little compassion, cease the accusations and criticism. That is exactly WHAT THE WALKING WOUNDED DO NOT NEED.
    Florida es hispano-parlante y se esta expresando lo mejor que puede. Debemos tener compasion la una para la otra, el uno para el otro.

  13. I myself, was not a sexual abuse victim, but my daughter was. When I found out and had the abuser arrested, I experienced another form of trauma, survivors guilt. The overwhelming feeling that I should have seen it, should have suspected. I put on over 150lbs. My armor. After years of therapy, a lot work and finding my love of horses could be another form of armor, I am 110lbs lighter and emotionally stronger. I wonder how many women are struggling like I did? What study includes us?

  14. FINALLY!!! THIS is what I have been feeling! It’s definately been an issue for me. Everytime I lose weight and start to look better I get attention (it’s not that I am gorgeous LOL) it’s just attention that makes me VERY uncomfortable and then I gain weight back if not more. I am 43 years old and I didn’t figure this out till I was 35years old. Then this article WOW! Thank you so much! Please get this info out there because it needs to be further explored.

  15. I wonder if the same principles apply to men being overweight and having eating disorders? I have often thought that many obese men may have been abused.

  16. The article is well written and thought out. As an obese person I do see my habitus as armor or protection against percived and real uncomfortable emotions. But it gets to the point that the fat becomes more of a burden than a sheild but you feel locked into the behaviors and unsure of how to change. Bariatric is not a solution for everyone but it has been for me. I still struggle with finding healthier solutions for my emotions but at least now moving and excercise is more of an option.

  17. Thank you thank you thank you for this article. Deep down I have always known this. I am 39 and only dealt with the childhood sexual abuse I endured as a child within the last 2 yrs. A good therapist helped me along with family support. Articles like this give me part of myself back that I lost and reaffirm what I always have known but couldn’t express. Dealing with and knowing this has helped me to lose currently 45 lbs. and finally start living my life.

  18. What an Awesome article.
    It has so much truth to it, I don’t really eat all that much but I have binges sometimes were I eat all day and not even hungry, I take it a step further though, I am so jealous of women that it makes it difficult for my boyfriend and I to do anything fun, example he is at the state fair and I stayed home so he could enjoy himself without me getting in one of my moods. I am tired of staying in my house to be safe, I am not huge but very dissatisfied with my body and always have been. I always think if I lose weight I will feel better but I quit before I get there. It is a never ending cycle and all I want to do is LIVE!!

  19. Ihis article is great im an emotional eater and i know i have been through alot in my life and to see all these people have the same issue its heart warming to know theres more than me out there i know i need to lose the weight im a 28 yr old single mom of 4 ive been rapped divorced twice ive had abusive relationships all my life my oldest will be ten this month and i know i need to change so for everyone out there that is an emotional eater we can do this we conquer what ever comes our way dont let no man or person bring us down

  20. Oh yes. True, true. Several years ago I was a real fatty. I received medical and emotional support and I began to lose the fat. As it came off I began to remember the abuse I had received. The memories came as pictures. Dropping each 8 to 10 pounds brought new memories. Tears flowed. With counseling I was able to forgive. Please get help and heal. YOU are worth it!

  21. This article was really helpful. I’ve always had an emotional eating problem, since I was a teenager. When I was young both my parents failed to teach my brother and I the importance and basics of healthy eating, but they lacked the knowledge as well from their upbringings. Now that I am an adult I’ve really taken it upon myself to try really hard to gain more knowledge about nutrition and fitness and the effects it has on your body. I try to remember the bad things that happen to your body when you consume really bad food. However, the emotional eating still wins out, and I still battle it. What has helped me during an emotional eating frenzy has been to replace the bad food I normally gravitate towards with healthy, yummy tasting alternatives. I still fall off the wagon. Its hard to give up Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream from Ben and Jerrys. You just have to do the best you can.

  22. this article is very accurate. I was sexually molested by one of my aunts husband since I was 8 and suddenly I started gaining weight. When I went to highschool, I started being in shape but any time that I have a romantic set back, I always gain around 30 pounds. Now I understand that I have been protecting myself all these years. I was also abused when I was 27 by a coworker, and I also gained weight back then. Now I am going to a nutritionist to make life changes and learn how to take good care of myself. I do want to get rid of this emotional burden that I carry with me.

  23. i think i was abused when i was younger, but cannot remember – and when i married, my husband said i wasn’t any good at sex,
    i have been over weight (obese now) all my life = for as long as i can remember it has been an issue and negative remarks and innuendo to outright insults have been thrown at me. the neighbours never look at me when we talk but at my fat thighs, butt and hips. their eyes always stray – i want to hide and never see anyone

  24. I think this article is spot on. I was sexually abused at 5 years old, and never told my mother lest I should be punished. I was always a bit chunky as a child, and found it so difficult to make friends. Thus I was a loner. I turned to books (good) and food (not so good) for comfort. My first sexual encounter… I thought I wanted to, but was scared, and told him “No!” It ended up that he date raped me. I was 15…

    Married at 21, he was as abusive as hell, divorced about five years later. Three weeks after that divorce was final, I met and later married the 2nd ex, who was completely emotionally unavailable for me. I had lost weight from 210 to 155, but during this relationship regained all the lost weight and then some.

    Over the course of time, I ballooned up to 300#. I finally had gastric bypass, and as the weight and fat started coming off, I finally had nowhere to hide… Either I could stay on the antidepressants I was on at the time, or I could start facing life.

    Thank G-d I started facing life.

    I am once again single, working and going to school, preparing to enter university. I am so thrilled with life, although it is very hard at times. However, I am learning ~~

  25. I’ve known I had this problem, but I’ve never seen it written down. I was abused by my step-father for 2 years. I blocked out the memories until I was 16, but I ballooned up to almost 400lbs before I even got out of high school. I had a nervous breakdown when I remembered and finally told my mom when I turned 18. The weight started dropping off as soon as he left. I’m now 21 and almost to the 300lb mark. I’ve never had a real boyfriend though (couldn’t handle getting that close), and I’m afraid that I’ll freak out and gain the weight back that I’ve had as a shield since I was 12.

  26. This phenomena is not limited to children. As a young child I ate a lot to get my parents attention because they spent an inordinate amount of time forcing my younger sister (by 13 months) to eat. Therefore, I ate toprove I was the good child. However, I slimmed down around 18 and was then subjected to a world of dating and date rape. I subsequently gained a lot of weight and continued to gain after each encounter until I reached the point where I no longer received unwanted advances. I am now comfortable with my armor but my body is breaking down. The doctors keep telling me to lose weight or I will be subject to hip and knee replacement surgeries in the near future.

  27. My daughter is very overweight – I do not know of any abuse, but in high school all of her boyfriend relationships ended poorly. She is 24 and hides food and eats in secret a lot. I don’t know how to help her. I am afraid to say the wrong thing, but feel I need to do, or say something to help her. Any suggestions?

  28. I finally feel like someone understands

  29. I was abused by my own brother. I was in good shape in high school, played three sports, but then I gained weight and when I start to lose it and look good I cannot take it. I have been with the same person for over 25 years and he never says a thing about my weight (180) lbs. I would love to lose the weight and feel better about myself.

  30. The Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit with a mission to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post a childhood photo and caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website http://www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from across the globe we can help provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted. Please visit our site for more details on how you can send us your submissions.

    Thank you for everything you do!

    Gretchen Paules
    Administrative Director
    Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation
    111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 212
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

  31. Such a great post! I have started to research more into this and see that there is some more on the subject over on EBT News:


  32. Dear Muscle Building:

    Thank you for your suggestion.

    I think my habit of eating (or chewing) is a way of soothing my body from emotional pain, yet you’re saying that working out can do the same thing.

    I find that doing housework or picking up around my apt can have that effect, as can reading something or watching something on TV that inspires me (although my TV viewing is too limiting time-wise, exercise wise and social wise perhaps.

    Thanks for thinking about this, and for your insight and experience.

    truth fairy

  33. The only thing i could say about building muscle fast is by training intelligently. Nobody wants to waste their precious time while getting little to no results right? You could apply advance techniques such as explosive lifting, drop sets, etc. in order to change the stimulus that your muscle receives and in turn, leading to more muscle gains. There are many ways on how to build muscle fast but in the end, it’s all about getting the will to do it.

  34. Yeah, so let’s abuse the people who “wear their weight as armor” all the more by belittling them for their size. Surely that will work to help them lose those disgusting excess pounds and make them have a socially acceptable appearance.
    Sarcasm and curmudgeony absolutely intended.

  35. Maybe MEN do this too? I’m sick of all the issues about fatness being aimed solely at women when I see a whole lot of fatass men out there too! Oh, wait, I forgot, men are allowed to be fat. If women are fat it’s because they’re lazy and/or have psychological issues. Either way, if a woman is fat, it’s always ok to judge her either for not taking care of her body or not taking care of her emotions. Blegh.

  36. I run a very large support group for Gastric Bypass patients for the last 15 years (the group typically had 100 patients at every meeting and the online groups have close to 500 on one site and over 100 on another). I have always contended that for a person to become morbidly obese… something our society finds unacceptable… something had to have triggered that person to begin “using” that would keep them cocooned and at arms length from others.

    During one meeting, in which we had over 100 patients in attendance, I decided to run an impromptu survey. I asked all 100 to think back to when they first began using food. I asked if it followed some sort of early childhood event… either mental, physical or sexual abuse.

    99 of those patients indicated they had indeed been abused as a child or they had experienced something other monumental trauma. And, they were anxious to discuss their individual circumstances. I believe the numbers are much higher than 40% as the article states. I have spoken to hundreds of patients over the years and I have only spoken to a few who chalk up their weight gain to their ethnicity and the availability of high calorie, high fat, high carb foods that were common in their households. For the rest, food was (and is) an addictive mechanism that continues to haunt them even after major weight loss, hence the reason for the “bounceback” weight gain of 20-40 lbs that all patients gain after about the forth year after surgery.



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