Friday, August 25, 2023

Identity and weight loss

 I have written before about how the social history of an overweight person, in terms of bullying, or relationship problems, can affect how they feel once they have made some kind of nutritional and/or physical modification.  Put simply, once we lose the weight, it is very easy to apply the language applied to us -- "fatass", "slob" -- to people who have not.

I'm watching an interesting podcast by Andrew Huberman and Layne Norton, and another phenomenon around this came up: that is, that to make a sweeping modification to morphology, health...etc, it requires essentially a "new identity".  They are talking about how people like David Goggins, and Ethan Suplee, two individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight, and adopted fit identities, seem to focus on "killing off" previous identities.

Norton brings up addiction, and the necessarily different treatment for food addiction from say, gambling.  One cannot abstain from eating.   Could we then say to a gambling addict, "play this slot twice a day, but only that much", without some kind of radical change, essentially to their identity?   Alcoholics stop hanging out in bars, and change friend groups when sober.  It's not unfathomable that a high order bit in people who have had the ability to sustain weight loss, is their ability to effectively change their identity.