This is an excerpt from a interview conducted between Dr. Daemon Jones and a sophomore from the Marietta College's McDonough Leadership program. She was asked to give her perspective on the following questions for an educational video focused on childhood obesity with an emphasis on how to use personal lifestyle change to effectively address this problem. Question:
Would you say that consuming better/healthier/less toxic nutrition/foods is THE best thing a person can do in fighting obesity?
Answer from Dr. Daemon Jones:
When most people think of obesity they always think about food as the cause. I take a different approach to looking at obesity. I think obesity is a lifestyle issue not just a food issue. When people have imbalances in their food choices, their emotional health, their body issues, their exercise plan or their relationship with others, obesity can result.
At the most simplistic level, becoming educated about food can make a difference in obesity. Learning about how to prepare food so that it tastes delicious and is also nutritious is a great place to start. Many people don’t think that eating healthy can be done inexpensively, but that is not true. For example, a box of oatmeal is less than $3.00. A box of sugary cereal however costs more than $5.00. Oatmeal is whole food and much healthier and much less expensive. You might have to be more creative to eat healthy on a budget, but it is possible. There are many online resources, TV programs and magazine that will give options. Learning how to eat when you are traveling or eating at a restaurant helps to enjoy food environments with friends and family too.
Sometimes people use food to compensate for emotional issues they are having with themselves or others. This is also true for people that are having body issues where their sense of self-esteem is low and they find comfort or joy in eating food. When this is the cause of obesity, then emotional well-being must be achieved before the weight issues can be resolved.
Exercise is key to burning off some of the extra weight, however, exercise is so much more. According to the Mayo Clinic exercise has the following benefits for people: improving mood, combating chronic diseases, strengthening your heart and lungs, promoting better sleep and improving your sex life. Exercise can be fun!
We as humans come to this planet to be in relationship with others. Relationships are not easy and they require work to maintain and develop them. When our relationships with ourselves, others or our higher power are strained many people turn to food for comfort. As we work on creating healthy relationships in our lives, we do not use food as a substitute and our weight issues become easier to manage. We can stick to our goals because we are not using food to help us feel better.
Dr. Daemon Jones