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Featured Autism and obesity (AKA Am I fat because of my autism?)

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by IntoTheVoid, May 25, 2020.

  1. IntoTheVoid

    IntoTheVoid Active Member

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    I am fat. I've always been fat.

    I think I am fat because of my autism... Ha ha what? No, I am fat because I am lazy and I eat trash food. However I think the connection between autism and obesity is interesting. Also I think my autism definitely puts many obstacles between me and my way to lost my fat.

    I don't want to bore you to death with huge pile of text, so let's just put six or so paragraphs:

    • I've been always picky eater. Since kindegarden I hated many foods. I hate certain foods with certain taste or texture. And if I don't like how it looks like, I usually don't eat it. My relationship towards food always been a pure horror story for me.

    • It's almost imposible for me to stick with some good eating habits, to eat regularly, to follow meat plans, to count calories and so on. Also every single tiny little thing really breaks my motivation. For example I want to make some healthy food, but I live in a small village and they don't have a half of ingredients in the grocery so I gave up. Or my dad suddenly decides to clean the kitchen and do the dishes and I hate cooking while someone is watching me. And I feel bad for making mess when he just cleaned. So everyday there are many small things due to I end up eating junk food.

    • I suck at fitness too. My fitness coach told me he never seen someone who is really so bad at fitness. Many people are usually bad on the very beginning and have many bad habits, like bad posture, incorrect way how they lift dumbbells and so on. But after certain time, they fix i all these things. But I am not able to do squats correctly after many years of doing fitness and no matter how hard I try.

    • I don't want to blame autism for every single tiny issue in my life, but when I google about autism and food, it seems to be typical that many autist have complicated relationship towards food. They eat stereotypical, or forgets to eat at all, or refuse to eat certain foods because of its texture. Also when you put "obesity and autism" to google, it seems there are many studies about connections between these two. The same with motor skills and flexibility. I suck at all of these things, so there is probably some sort of correlation.

    • What now? Should I just accept I will be always fat because my autism won't let me to reduce my weight? Just to sit and do nothing? Of course not, but I feel like the advice for common people don't work for me. I think I need some different approach as an autist. To somehow "hack" myself to do certain things.

    So questions for you. Is anyone else dealing with similar issues? And what does work for you? And what is your relationship to food or sports? Anything helful is highly appreaciated.
     
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  2. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi interesting, i am not overweight and very much into fitness and eating well so not sure Autism is the whole picture, i think prehaps as with all things what may help is to consider why you want to lose weight and develop a better relationship with food and 'self image' set some small attainable goals regarding this and remind yourself that things can change with the right mindset, not sure if that helps but good luck finding a way forward.
     
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  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think there has been some research linking autism (in women) to eating disorders in general, both under and over eating, etc. If that is true, I could also see it being a factor with men as well. I don't have any links though, but if you google it with search terms you may be able to turn something up.
     
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  4. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member

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    It's just puppy fat, you'll shed it later - getting full time work tends to burn calories.
     
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  5. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think you need to find a way to become fit that works for you, we are often better at thinking than at being practical, so maybe try thinking out what would work for you, taking all the aspects of how you are into account?

    Maybe you enjoy walking and would also enjoy skipping in your garden with a skipping rope. And perhaps you can find some fruits and vegetables you enjoy, to be able to snack on. Or maybe, eating less often. Or eating more fruit. Etc.
     
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  6. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    As for getting exercise, I would try to keep it simple. Going to a gym or paying a fitness coach are options, but certainly not the only option. Walking is a great option. It is great for as aspie too since you can turn through things that are on your mind. You can do it pretty much anywhere as well. And you can easily track your progress of miles walked, pace, etc. The main thing is to remember that "something" is better than "nothing". Us aspies tend to have all or nothing type thoughts. We also have a tendency to over complicate things as well with our overthinking.
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Maybe think if you eat your emotions? I tend to get frustrated and want to eat a box of cookies. But now l identify the frustration and then decide l don't need fat and sugar. We can over eat for many reasons, anger, frustration, feeling unloved, insecure, shame. Whatever....
     
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  8. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I think we come in all different shapes and sizes, just like the rest of the population, and our weight is a combination between genetics, lifestyle choices and environment/circumstances.

    I have never heard of a link between obesity and autism, but have heard of a link between females on the spectrum and eating disorders. I was suspected of an eating disorder myself when I was a student, as I went through a phase of only eating specific foods, at specific times, and wanting to strictly control what I ate. But these are traits that come with autism, rather than being an eating disorder. I have a 'thing' about being the exact right weight for my height, and have maintained the same weight for at least 30 years, with little fluctuation. I'm very strict - I have rules and don't allow myself to overeat, and I have various tricks like using a smaller plate and filling half with vegetables and the other half with more calorific foods. Also, not eating late at night, not eating if I'm not hungry. Not eating excessive amounts of foods hgh in calories - or just not buying them in the first place. Also, taking some exercsie each day, even if only a small amount. This works for me to keep my weight constant, but I appreciate that it won't work for everyone.
     
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  9. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Heres a link i found on this that hopfully will shed some light on this subject

    High Rates of Autistic Symptoms Found in Patients With Eating Disorders

    And i also have a chronical (LESS nowadays but still slightly ) over Weight that i cant get rid of nomether how much i tried which i have but always failed (it goes down to a specific Weight and then up again so i given upp and have since managed to stay permanatly were i am = slightly over Weight )

    And i also have Bulemia tendencies i should add and had it since i was little. As well as many with ASD as well as ID im NOT living a active or healthy life either.
     
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  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    That is tough. Been at a place where l felt no control over things in my life, like food choices. It tears you up inside. Hope you are able to get help and feel more I'm comtrol.
     
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  11. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    Autism doesn't make anyone fat. Excessive eating (the main cause of obesity) can be a symptom of depression, anxiety, and stress all of which are more common in autistic people. These problems can all be treated with a self-help book on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) so autism isn't a valid excuse.

    Many healthy foods can be made with simple ingredients. Rice and beans is healthy and easy to make. Not wanting to cook while someone is watching you sounds like anxiety which can be treated with a CBT self-help book.

    Numerous studies have found that fitness doesn't play a big role in weight loss. Those who exercise tend to relax more afterward. For example, you might burn 200 calories by jogging for 30 minutes but resting afterward means you'll burn less calories while you're resting so you may only burn 100 additional calories for the day. That's the equivalent of one small cookie. You'd have to burn 3,500 additional calories to lose one pound (0.5 kg) which means jogging 30 minutes a day will only help you lose 1 pound (0.5 kg) per month. Moderate exercise is still beneficial because it reduces stress and anxiety which may help you eat less.

    Trying to eat healthy foods you don't like won't work because you'll get hungry and start craving junk foods. You can always try new foods and only buy foods you like that are healthy.

    I had the same problem. I used food to avoid my problems, to alleviate stress, and feel less depressed. The best thing that helped me was CBT videos and self-help books to treat the underlying causes (depression, anxiety, stress).

    I recommend watching this video series (the first video is a short 6 minute introduction to CBT and the next 7 videos in the series are only a few minutes each):


    If you're depressed, I recommend the book "feeling good" by Dr. Burns, the #1 doctor recommended book for depression. It's uses CBT which can also help with anxiety, anger, and other problems.

    Another thing that helped me was an emotional brain training book by Laurel Mellin although I think it would be more helpful to learn CBT first. I read her book "Wired for Joy!" because I had other problems too but she also has a book specifically aimed at weight loss called "The Stress Eating Solution: A Proven, Neuroscience Method for Ending Overeating." She claims that 80% of health problems are due to the downstream effects of stress.

    There is growing research showing that stress is a major contributer to many health conditions, both physical and mental. Much of the stress people experience is internal stress which is caused by a person's own thoughts. Self-help books helped me dramatically reduce the internal stress I was experiencing.
     
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  12. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Its okey my friend i have it under control these days (as i said tendencies = periodical sporadacly ) its LONG in between my "attacks"

    For me its also my fincualls that dictate what i eat BUT i do have food and drink (NON alchohollic) EVERY day. :cool:
     
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  13. Barymore

    Barymore Member

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    @IntoTheVoid
    why does it bother you, seeing yourself as "fat"?

    People are simply built different and have very different metabolisms that certainly can make it very easy for some and very, very hard for others to loose (and sometimes gain) weight.

    As with anything that is hard: why is it important to you is an important question, sometimes it might be an idea to just let it be...life is full enough of difficulties...
     
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  14. risootser

    risootser Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if going by "a frog in warming water" method works. One bite of hated food per day after one week two bites etc. Getting accustomed if it actually has more psychological than sensory response.

    Worth to try. I became very averse to most food after I puked or something as a child. It took me years to convince myself it is not potentially bad. Foods that I liked before made me suddenly gag because it was psychologically induced reaction.


    When I got a nervous breakdown I gained 50 kg in a year. Then during a recovery I lost 40 kg in three months when I ate very little and forced myself biking very long distances. It hurt like hell and was painful but I pulled it off. Maybe that is not the healthy way but I think it is still healthier than gaining more weight in that time at that rate. Granted 90 % of people would call me batsh*t crazy and maybe they are right. I tend to push myself to the edges in life.

    Biking is an easy form of exercise for overweight after you get some stamina behind you. Takes few times to get accustomed but essentially you still have to push yourself further and further. When you can take a 100 km ride without breaks it is just plain energy consumption without much stress.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
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  15. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    There are many problems with being overweight:

    1. It's unhealthy. You'll be more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

    2. Your neighbors are forced to pay for your medical treatment (through government imposed taxes) when the money could have been spent on other needs like housing for the homeless or food for the hungry.

    3. It sends a bad message to employers, potential partners, and others. Whether true or not, many people will think an overweight person lacks willpower, self-control, or doesn't care about themselves.

    4. Employers will discriminate thinking that person won't work as hard as those who are able to maintain a healthy weight.

    While that's true to some extent, there has been a massive increase in average body weight during the last 100 years and it's impossible for genetics to have caused it since genes don't evolve that quickly. That means the cause for most people in environmental. I don't blame overweight people. In the US at least, free glutamate (the questionable ingredient in MSG) added to foods likely plays a large role which is found in almost everything (often labeled as "natural flavor"). The Glutamate Association defends adding MSG to foods by claiming it increases food intake among the elderly which helps them get enough nutrients. Improving Taste - The Glutamate Association The problem with adding appetite stimulants to food is that it makes everyone eat more which leads to obesity.
     
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  16. IntoTheVoid

    IntoTheVoid Active Member

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    I hate it... I feel like a soccer ball... and I can feel how huge my belly is when I sit down... also also I have high blood pressure and gout.
     
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  17. Barymore

    Barymore Member

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    Hi guys, thanks for continuing the discussion :)

    @FormerlyAutistic thank you for that succinct list. What you say has a lot of scientific support, especially on a population level. I was asking more about the subjective, personal level, from an empowerment perspective.

    many of us do things / dont do things we know are bad / good for us (smoking, drinking, not sleeping enough, eating processed meat etc.). If we only want to change because we feel we should, I say think about if there aren't other things that are more important in your life. If others are letting you know they find you unattractively big but you feel ok, then dont change, especially if it is so hard for you.

    @IntoTheVoid - seems it is bugging you on a personal level and I commiserate. I know just how hard it can be for some to loose weight. Someone close to me is bigger and would like to loose weight but they just cant manage it all the way to a normal weight. This is a person who has way more discipline and mental stamina than me. So its not a willpower thing. They live whole food plant based (no msg ;-)), do all kinds of good stuff and that totally helped to come down to 'only' overweight - but they are just stuck there. I never would have believed it.

    My best tip: if you can afford it, get a coach or consultant on board to help and be there for you on a regular basis. Especially if you have health issues, get a doctor / nutritionist supporting you.

    I dont think that it is an autism thing, except in indirect ways - only wanting to eat certain foods, difficulty motivating ourselves for stuff we dont like doing / see no sense in
     
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  18. Vindicator Phoenix

    Vindicator Phoenix Female or neutral pronouns V.I.P Member

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    I might not be a dietitian, but I have an idea.
    Water makes you pee.
    Fiber makes you poop.
    Both help you lose weight, if you can excrete more than you intake.
    Apples contain both water and fiber.
    Do you like apples? :redapple:
     
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  19. MrSpock

    MrSpock Live long and prosper

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    Exercise helps, for sure. It's true that a person who takes regular exercise will tend to have fewer heartbeats per day - although it beats harder while exercising it moves more blood per beat so at rest fewer beats are required. I find it believable that calories might be burned more efficiently at rest, too. So exercise more. A token effort won't produce more than a token result.

    But weight loss is not the only benefit. I am too thin, and although it's sort of the opposite problem it still results in physical discomfort and lack of physical ability. Being stronger, even without weight change, will help to offset some of the problems caused by a great many ailments including being overweight or underweight. It will also make exercising easier.
     
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  20. Els

    Els Active Member

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    I'm not fat, but at the moment if I added 3 kilos I wouldn't feel comfortable in my body. That's the leading thing for me. It's okay to not exercise and eat however I want as long as I'm comfortable in my body. That it's more or less healthy, and moves more or less easily. If it's influencing my health and that my body becomes heavy to carry, I wouldn't like it nor leave it this way, I wouldn't want to live in there. (That being said, a lot of people in my family are fat and my sentence isn't a judgement at all, I just describe MY personal relationship with living inside MY own body, others' experience are different and I don't think mine is better).
    • About food : I don't care, I enjoy eating. But if I had a lot more fat on me, I would change some habits. Basically, if I replace my chocolate and biscuits and pasta meals by a lot of fruits and vegetables, I will loose weight easily without too many efforts nor necessarily eating much less. It's just better if you transition so that it's not too abrupt as a diet change. Abrupt changes are bad for digestion. Knowing that, I don't need to care until I find myself feeling uncomfortable in there. Then I change the items I eat. Eating more vegetables implies that I'm mentally prepaired to cook more and buy other things when going shopping, it recquieres a bit more organization but it's pleasant too. I don't see that as "putting myself on a diet", more like "cleaning my own mess". I'm not restrictive with myself at all when I adapt my diet, it's more instinctive than something planned and whatever would recquiere to be highly organized. It's not organized, it's just a direction, a tendency. I see that just like my bedroom can become messier and messier, and at some point I'm like "okay, I don't enjoy living in this space, let's make it more comfortable for me".
    • About exercise : It's like everything in my life : there are a crazy variety of things and propositions, and a very few that fit me and that I'm interested in. I enjoy 1 on the 25567893 possible exercises types, and I really hate the rest. I like bicycling and used to enjoy horse riding. I suspect that I'd enjoy climbing too. I like the exercise to be an "alone" type of exercise + to have one goal I can focus on intellectually. With bicycling it's going somewhere + I like the landscape, have to focus on the road and cars etc, so I'm mentally stimulated. Horseriding, tons of mental things to be focused on. Climbing I know would be the same, finding the way to go up etc. Interesting things. Yoga/dance/fitness are the types that fits me the less. I struggle because I don't understand the point, they're not rewarding or motivating for me.
    So yes, basically, I'd advice finding a way to exercise in which you feel peeeeeerfect and that fits you well.
     
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