I’m a psychologist interested in the application of old and modern psychological techniques to one of the Western world’s most prevalent problems: being fat. Oh, I know. I’m supposed to be politically correct and use delicate words like “overweight” or “heavier” but until the age of 28 I was fat. And “fat” was exactly the word that came to mind when I looked at myself in the mirror. When I teach mindful eating techniques, “fat” is the word people use about themselves. It’s a word that seems to carry with it the right type of emotion. Even now I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, on bad days, “fat” is the word that comes back.
I used to worry about my weight, and feel self-conscious that I was heavier than most people I knew. That I worried about my weight made me feel embarrassed. After all, the stereotype is that men aren’t supposed to give a crap about their weight. But being a psychologist unable to cure himself of a lifetime of over-eating and body issues made me feel really embarrassed. I decided it was time to tackle the issue head-on. I wanted to feel free from the tyranny of fat, but I didn’t want to feel hungry all the time, as I had done with various diets.
Over the last few years, I’ve read hundreds of research reports, theses and books on the psychology of being overweight. A fairly coherent approach suggested itself, based on mindfulness, and ditching a lot of traditional diet advice in the process. I’ve used myself as a guinea pig to hone these techniques, and with colleagues, I’ve recently started to conduct scientific studies to improve them yet further.
This blog is the record of my progress, but also a place for me to share with people some of the scientific work I’ve read about which has inspired my approach. Developing mindful eating skills, getting rid of distractions when eating, learning to accept my body the way it is, learning to love exercise, and other related techniques have so far helped me loose and keep off a stone and a half. I hope you find my rambling useful.
I don’t keep my real life out of my blog because real life can be just as instructive as the sterilised knowledge we call ‘science’. If you’re looking to get in touch, you could always try Twitter.
Lee Hulbert-Williams PhD
P.S. If this is your fist time to Fat Free & Full, you might want to look at these posts to get a feel for the place. Look around. Put your feet up. I’ll put the kettle on.
I am a psychologist, not a physician. I can help you change your behaviour, but I can’t cure disease. Please don’t treat anything I say as medical advice. If you have any doubts or concerns about your health, you should see your doctor.