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Fat Is A Self-Inflicted Disease

I just came back from three days in Las Vegas. What an eye-opener!

The biggest, most lavish buffets in the world attract the biggest, most expansive people. "All you can eat" takes on a whole new meaning when you realize just how much some people can consume at a single sitting. Most remarkable was the sight of a dutiful wife bringing a piled up platter to the table for a husband who was obviously way too fat to stand in line on his own.

That picture was rather unusual in that the wife was about normal weight. It seems that in most cases, the woman is the humungous one, waddling through the casino in her big-as-a-tent shorts, followed by a skinny, wiry guy who looks, at best, disinterested in life.

Of course, it is harder for women to lose weight, courtesy of nature's trick of a small frame coupled with sinister hormonal influences. But in our society, where pretty girls and sex sell everything, women tend to be so much more weight conscious.

So what happens? Did they never approach the social ideal or did they battle for years and then one day just give up?

If you control your weight for an external reason -catching a mate, making friends, becoming popular - once these goals are accomplished, the effort no longer seems worthwhile. If you fight to stay slim for intrinsic reasons - you like to look slim, you like fitted clothes, you respect yourself when you know you look good - then you are more likely to keep plugging away at it.

What is so pathetic about the obese is not just how awful they look, it's the deadness in their eyes: no pride, no self-respect, no self-affection. What a depressing way to exist, made only more tragic because it is self-inflicted.

Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently completed a psychologically-based weight control book: Diet with an Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook. She can be reached at http://www.DietWithAnAttitude.com

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