Overcoming a Negative Self-Image – Many people of all ages are considered overweight or even obese. This can be especially painful when obesity occurs in children and teens. These kids are more likely to develop a negative self-image that can remain into adulthood.
It can be difficult for parents to help their children feel good about themselves when they are being teased and bullied. A Raleigh psychiatrist weighs in on how to deal with being overweight in a perfect world.
Overcoming a Negative Self-Image & Increasing Self-Esteem Is Possible
Mental health counseling can help overweight children, teens and adults in overcoming their negative self-image. Caring psychiatric assessment and talk therapy can also build the self-esteem of obese individuals in a safe and healing environment.
Obesity in Childhood Is a Growing Problem In the United States
Obesity today is becoming more of an issue in children and throughout the teen years. Medical experts point to busy lifestyles and the habit of eating on the run. This is seen as a part of the possible causes of this phenomenon.
Children are often left alone to get something to eat after school waiting for their parents to get home. Kids today eat far more fast-food meals and unhealthy snack foods than their parents and grandparents did in decades past.
Families Today Often Eat On-the-Run Rather Than Sitting Down to a Home-Cooked Meal
Parents are often too busy to cook a healthy home-cooked meal on a regular basis. This can result in a diet too high in calories, saturated fats, increased salt content, and higher sugar concentrations. Ultimately, this can lead to obesity even in younger children.
Recent studies have shown that families who sit down together at least a few times a week often feel closer. This in turn tends to increase each family member’s personal sense of belonging. This kind of happy togetherness generally leads to a sense of peace and well-being. These families report that they feel accepted. Also, they feel loved for who they are and will often also report higher feelings of self-worth.
Being Overweight in a Perfect World Can Hurt & Lead to Low Self-Esteem
The need to be beautiful and perfect seems to be prevalent in today’s society. So, where does this leave kids who have some type of body imperfection that can lead to cruel teasing and even bullying from their peers? Being overweight can result in kids feeling different and unattractive during their formative growing years.
The Focus on Appearance & Perfect Looks Can Lead to Eating Disorders
Children who are often teased and bullied due to being overweight may begin to focus too much on their outer appearance. Teens especially are prone to developing unhealthy obsessions and might begin to try to control their eating by binging and purging. Eating disorders are common during the teenaged years and can follow a teen into their adult years.
Compassionate Counseling Can Help Get to the Root of Overeating
After ruling out the many physical issues that might be contributing to a person being overweight or obese, many doctors recommend undergoing professional mental health therapy. Compassionate counseling can help get to the deeply hidden root of why a person might be overweight.
Often, people with a lowered self-esteem, those who’ve dealt with trauma and especially anxious individuals might turn to food as a source of comfort. Perhaps this is what they do as a child to deal with bullying or teasing about their weight or other flaw in their appearance.
Psychiatric Treatment Can Help a Person Develop New Coping Skills
Simply going on a harsh diet or running ragged on the treadmill will not provide that lasting weight loss solution that obese people are really looking for at the end of the day. Professional counseling can help them to develop new coping skills and healthy strategies to get into better shape and stay there.
This is why bariatric doctors who perform stomach stapling surgery usually recommend that the patient develop healthier eating, exercise and lifestyle habits so the patient won’t end up in the same place down-the-road.
Overweight Children/Teens Need Positive Motivation Not Shame or Guilt
Psychiatric counseling can also help parents and siblings to be supportive of the weight loss efforts. The focus should be more on building up self-esteem, involve in fun energetic activities and listening to the child’s fears rather than shaming them or making them feel guilty if they sneak a snack on occasion.
Individuals of all ages who struggle with stubborn weight gain can find hope with psychiatric counseling and family/peer support.