Health and Trauma Psychologist, Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Discusses Trauma and Obesity in Webinar
The issue of obesity is often portrayed in very simple terms: eat less, exercise more. In an effort to lose weight, Americans continue to consume low-fat products and have ended up fatter than ever. There clearly are other factors at work. Psychological trauma is one such factor.
In an upcoming webinar sponsored by Praeclarus Press, health psychologist, Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, will describe why psychological trauma can make people fat. All trauma survivors are at risk for being heavy, but adults who have experienced childhood abuse are at particularly high risk. In one study, women who had been raped as children or teens had higher BMIs, gained weight at a faster rate, and had a 69% increase in risk of Type 2 diabetes. Diet and exercise advice alone is unlikely to be helpful with this population.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett noted the following, "We now have a good understanding of the physiology of trauma and weight gain. Traumatic experiences flood the body with stress hormones and alter the way the body responds to subsequent stress. Trauma, particularly if it is prolonged and severe, increases chronic inflammation and changes insulin regulation."
Trauma survivors who have not received treatment tend to also have poor sleep, and that also causes insulin resistance.
"When you add the vulnerability of trauma survivors to gain weight to the typical American diet of refined carbohydrates and high-fructose corn syrup, you have a perfect storm for weight gain. And people get fat, in some cases, very fat. Healthcare providers who chastise and shame people for their weight and don't understand these mechanisms are not helpful. In my opinion, they are misguided and often quite cruel. Until these trauma issues are addressed, weight loss efforts will probably fail. Shaming, from a physiological standpoint, is never a good idea."