By Michael Anchors, MD, PhD
I have read, but seen no scientific proof, that emotional stress itself can make people gain weight. The proposed mechanism is that stress makes the adrenal gland produce more cortisol. Cortisol causes the liver to release more glucose. Elevated glucose triggers insulin. High insulin causes obesity.
It might be true. At least, stress is a distraction from the Ten Orders. A big part of what I do in the office is to reduce people’s stress. I do so by listening and applying my experience. I was a family doctor for 35 years, married and a father for forty years. I have experience.
When I decided to stop trying to make people skinny and set the healthier “overweight” category BMI 25-30 as the goal, I expected many patients to stop coming back. But most of my patients come back. For two reasons . . .
First, as you read in the current TIME magazine, no matter what diet you pick, some people lose and some don’t; some keep weight off, others gain back.
Second, people need help with stress. The main printed tools I use are the Seven Agreements and the Ming Lo Speech, both available from my office or on this website.
A new thought occurred to me, giving a toast at the wedding of my daughter last week, that married life is different from single life. For marriage to last and be happy, people must seek out and prefer compromise to getting their own way. Saying we will do it my way this time and your way the next doesn’t cut it–real compromise is needed. And you should prefer it, not just tolerate it. I got a standing ovation.
In the week after the wedding, I enlarged my understanding to see that the inability of Americans to compromise is at the root of the recent collapse of our democracy. Congressmen, too, must have the feeling that compromise is winning, not losing.