Home page Psychology blog Bad Habits Non-Chemical Addictions Big Weight Brings Big Problems. How Can a Woman Defeat Obesity?

Big Weight Brings Big Problems. How Can a Woman Defeat Obesity?

23.09.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

“I’ve never been a skinny girl. Even in my youth, I weighed 80 kg with a height of 170 cm. And after the birth of my child at the age of 23 I started to gain weight rapidly – the weight increased to 110 kg and only continued to grow in the future. By the age of 35, I weighed 170 kg.

I do not want to blame for my obesity the hormone imbalance or “big bones”. That would be a lie. The reason for my obesity was my laziness – unwillingness to go in for sport to maintain my figure and normalize nutrition. At work I also did not strain myself – I took taxi both to the office and home. All weekends I spent lying on the sofa in front of the TV.

When I was first taken to hospital, I was diagnosed with the 4th stage of obesity. That time I was almost dead – the pressure increased sharply, I could not breathe, the skin was blue. The whole body was in bedsores, because at that time I rarely got up from bed – I simply could not because of the huge weight. And I said to myself: enough is enough!

For 2 years I have been losing weight under the supervision of doctors – a dietician and ab endocrinologist. I lost 40 kg. Experts say that it will take at least 3 years for me to come to the normal state. Throughout this time I periodically undergo hospital treatment. Because of obesity, I have a whole bunch of diseases – cardiovascular disorders, asthma, impaired lymphatic drainage.

My husband left me long ago. But in my difficult fight against the disease my daughter supports me a lot. I regret very much that I led myself to get into such a state that now I have to take treatment”.

– Margarita, 38 

While the movement of bodypositive is gaining popularity, obesity becomes a serious problem for many. Some believe that overweight has a very negative impact on health, others – that it’s more important to love yourself. But a couple of extra kilograms and an obesity diagnosed by a doctor, which entails a lot of consequences, are completely different situations. In the article we will understand what evidence medicine puts about the serious problem of the 21st century – female obesity. Can a woman be happy and, most importantly, healthy, having overweight?


Why is obesity a serious problem?

psychosomatics of excess weight

Obesity is a disease that occurs with excess body fat, which accumulates not only in the subcutaneous tissue, but also in the internal organs. This is a pathological condition leading to physical and psychological discomfort. [1]

Obesity in a woman is not only a flabby figure and the need to change the clothes. There are far more serious health-related consequences. Obesity can lead to various diseases:

  • diabetes mellitus;
  • arterial hypertension;
  • heart, liver and kidney pathology;
  • cholesterol build-up on vessel walls, which may lead to heart attack or stroke;
  • reproductive system disorders, which could lead to infertility;
  • interference in the work of the musculoskeletal system. [1]

Often obese women are not sure what can cause problems in their personal lives. They are isolated and shy because of excess weight, it does not allow them to enjoy life in full and achieve their goals. Obesity is an urgent problem.

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Types of obesity

Depending on the localization of a fat layer, the mechanism of pathology development and the causes of its occurrence, obesity is divided into different types. The classification helps a doctor find the optimal treatment scheme for a patient.

Specialists first identify in which parts of a patient the accumulation of fat is concentrated. On this basis, obesity is divided into 2 types – abdominal and hynoid. [2]

  1. Abdominal (android) obesity in women

Among women, this type of obesity is less common than in men. Among the patients there are many former athletes who sharply reduced physical exercises.

In android obesity, the fatty tissue is mostly located in the area of the waist and in the internal organs. The pathology is accompanied by a violation of metabolic processes in the body and the development of serious diseases – diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, fatty liver syndrome. There is an opinion that these patients have increased risk of oncological and rheumatic diseases.

  1. Hynoid (peripheral) obesity in women

It is believed that this type of obesity is characteristic for women. The fat layer is mainly located in the hips area. 

Hynoid obesity is often combined with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip joints, as the load on the lower part of the body increases.

Stage of obesity in women

The diagnosis of obesity is made with an increase in body weight by 20% or more compared to the norm. But what is considered “normal” weight? Specialists first calculate BMI (body mass index) and only then make predictions about the patient’s disease. 

BMI is determined by the formula: I = mh2 (kg / m²), where m is the body weight (kg), h is the height (m). According to the World Health Organization, the norm is BMI of 18.5-25 units. With a BMI of 30-35 units or more, the patient is diagnosed with obesity. [3]

In medical practice, there are 4 stages of obesity distinguished in women, we will present them in the table. [1]

Stage of diseaseBMISymptoms of the disease
1st stage28-29,9In obesity of the 1st stage, a relatively small increase in weight (not more than 10 kg) is observed in a woman. She may not at all experience a pronounced physical discomfort from excess kilograms. She is healthy, active and energetic, easily chooses her clothes. A short difficult breathing can occur only under intense physical exercises. Obesity of the 1st stage in a woman can progress in a short time. She will get even more kilograms, if she does not think about her own health.
2nd stage31-35,9Excess body weight in a woman with obesity of the 2nd stage is 15-20 kg. She begins to suffer rapid fatigue after physical exercises, edema of limbs, strong difficult breathing. External changes are already visible. At the 2nd stage of obesity in any type of disease, the fatty layer, as a rule, accumulates in the abdomen. It is more difficult for a woman to find clothes suitable for her size. It is difficult for her to fight the established habits of nutrition. Some complexes may appear.
3rd stage36-40,9A woman has a significant increase in weight with an obesity of the 3rd stage – 20-30 kg. Now even small physical exercises are hard to do. The condition is dangerous because it contributes to the rapid development of heart diseases and the musculoskeletal system disorders.
4th stage41+Obesity of the 4th stage in women is extremely rare. In this case, the excess weight exceeds the normal weight by 4-5 times. A person loses the ability even to self-service, may not get up from the sofa. Without immediate comprehensive treatment, obesity in the last stage leads to numerous diseases and in some cases causes the death of a patient.

Psychosomatic roots of the disease


It would seem that the reasons for obesity are obvious – unbalanced nutrition and a passive way of life. The amount of energy that comes with food is much higher than its consumption. Excess calories are “delayed” in the body in the form of a fatty layer. Also, weight gain can be due to some diseases – hormonal failures, metabolic disorders, thyroid pathology.

It would seem that the reasons for obesity are obvious – unbalanced nutrition and a passive way of life. The amount of energy that comes with food is much higher than its consumption. Excess calories are “delayed” in the body in the form of a fatty layer. Also, weight gain can be due to some diseases – hormonal failures, metabolic disorders, thyroid pathology.

  1. Emotional eating of stress

Emotional eating can be not only of stress, but also any negative state – sadness, depression, anxiety, depression. This is an emotional overeating. A person who is unable to cope with personal problems begins to eat more. Enjoying delicious food, one calms down. But this is a vicious circle – after pleasure comes a feeling of guilt for the inability to control own desires.

Among obese women, many practice “emotional eating up” of problems in the family or failures with a sexual partner. [4]

  1. Low self-esteem

It is believed that low self-esteem is one of the negative emotional consequences of excess weight. But one can look at the issue from the other side. Scientists from the UK, based on a long-term experiment, concluded that children with low self-esteem in adult life more often suffered from obesity than self-confident children.

A person who is deliberately confident in a defeat does not even try to keep a diet and go in for sports. And this is the main reason for the development of obesity. Changing externally, a person with low self-esteem only becomes convinced of own uselessness.

  1. Psychological trauma

Scholars, based on surveys, suggest that women who experienced shock or psychological trauma in childhood have significantly increased risks of obesity. Loss of a close person, sexual violence, an unfavorable environment of upbringing in childhood, bullying in school – gaining excess weight can be provoked by any emotional stress. People after a severe psychological trauma are more prone to depression, and for many, this is an excuse to start “emotional eating” of nervous overstress.

How obesity is treated

Treatment of obesity in women is always done via an integrated approach. The basis of therapy is the diagnosis and identification of the true causes of pathology.

If obesity is caused by any diseases of the internal organs or systems of the body, a patient is given a course of medical treatment. The goal is to eliminate the root that causes excess weight. When it is possible to cure or at least to jugulate the “basic” disease, the weight with a correct nutrition gradually comes to the norm.

According to statistics, in 80% of cases, the treatment of obesity of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd stages in women is carried out by therapeutic nutrition and moderate physical activity. [2] This helps a patient lose extra kilograms if she has followed all the recommendations by the specialists. If there is no positive dynamics within 3 months after the start of a therapy, a woman can be prescribed some medicines that reduce appetite or accelerate metabolism. But their independent taking without consultation with a dietician and an endocrinologist is strictly prohibited!

When emotional overeating is diagnosed, a psychotherapist must work with a patient. The task of the doctor is to identify the psychosomatics of obesity in a woman. The specialist identifies what personal problems make a desire in the patient to continuously eat something. Behavioral psychology shows high effectiveness in working with obese patients.

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One of the new patented  techniques is the 7Spsy behavior modification. The course is based on the theories by I.P Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky and others.

The training will help to correct eating behavior and, as a result, effectively fight the problem of excess weight. During work with a psychologist, you change the destructive behavior model, which leads to emotional overeating, passive way of life and unwillingness to go in for sports. With the development of positive attitudes, there will be confidence in own abilities and readiness to change for the better.

The 7Spsy behavior modification technique course is designed for up to 6 weeks. A psychologist develops an individual treatment plan for a particular patient.

The remote format of the course will give you an opportunity to consult with a specialist at a convenient time in a comfortable environment. A psychologist will support you over the phone, in online chat, by e-mail. Participation in the training is confidential – so if you are not yet ready to tell your colleagues and friends about the active fight against overweight, you may not report it to anyone. 

Anti-obesity: tips on nutrition

how to lose weight

Proper nutrition in the treatment of abdominal and hynoid obesity in women is not just adherence to the principle of “eating less”. There is no universal diet that helps be slim for every woman. An individual program to fight excess kilograms should be made by a nutritionist based on the patient’s history – age, BMI, lifestyle, eating habits.

Strict diets in the treatment of even the 3rd stage of obesity in a woman, when there is a significant increase in weight, don’t work. They have only a short-term effect. After switching to the usual menu, which often happens after a “semi-hungry” diet, the lost kilograms quickly return.

Правильное питание в борьбе с ожирением должно быть основано на следующих принципах:

  • Refusal of refined sugars, flour and fat-based food, snacks, fast-food, sweet carbonated drinks from the diet.
  • Including in the menu meat, fish, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, dairy products, nuts.
  • Correct thermal treatment of products – steaming, boiling, stewing, baking.
  • Consumption of meals 5-6 times a day in small portions.
  • Keeping a nutrition diary, which simplifies the control of diet.
  • Calorie count – it is important that the calories you receive are consumed when you are physically active. [5]

Nutrition in the treatment of obesity should be tasty and satisfying, giving enough energy for household activities.

Anti-obesity: recommended physical activity

However, a low-calorie menu only is not a guarantee of slimming. Physical exercises are equally important. Sport will strengthen immunity, make muscles fit, prevent hanging skin in the treatment of obesity and possible weight gain in the future. 

In the course of treatment, it is important for women with obesity of the 2nd stage to consult with a doctor to make up a sports training course. The fact is that with excessive weight, intense physical activity can put a heavy burden on the heart, which can lead to the development of serious diseases. The principle of making up a training program is to ensure a smooth transition from smaller to larger. So, the activity should increase gradually. With a loss of weight, it will be easier and easier to practice sports. [6]

When there is an obesity of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stages because of the high pressure on the musculoskeletal and heart, running, push-ups, jumping and squats with weights are excluded from the training program. Water sports (aqua aerobics, swimming) and cycling are more often used as cardio exercises. As aerobic activity, walking, exercises with dumb-bells (sitting or standing), individual yoga techniques are effective. [6]

In the fight against obesity, it is desirable for any patient to work with a personal coach who would monitor the physical condition (pulse, pressure) during the exercises. People with obesity are recommended to devote 225-300 minutes per week to perform moderate exercises. In this case, the burning of 1,800-2,500 kcal per day will be guaranteed, which will provide a healthy weight loss.

Prevention of obesity

Effective prevention of obesity is the adherence to healthy nutrition rules and regular physical activity, as well as the elimination of problematic forms of dietary behavior. Even if the main goal – to lose weight – is achieved, you cannot again “go off the track”.

Continue to maintain a healthy diet. Make sure that the calories consumed do not exceed the calories burnt. Do not stop keeping a nutrition diary, where you will celebrate your successes and create your menu. If necessary, consult a dietician to adjust the diet as the treatment of obesity.

It is believed that to prevent obesity and cardiovascular diseases, an adult person needs at least 150 minutes a week to devote to sports exercises of moderate intensity. [6] But here it is necessary to take into account both the way of life of a particular person, and the state of health.

Remember, you can master healthy habits just like you gradually got used to overeating and leading a passive way of life. The choice is yours!


  1. «Malaya enciklopediya vracha-endokrinologa», 2007 g., A. S. Efimov.
  2. «Ozhirenie», 2012 g., L. S. Namazova-Baranova, A. B. Resnenko.
  3. Klassifikaciya IMT, Vsemirnaya organizaciya zdravoohraneniya (http://apps.who.int/bmi/index.jsp).
  4. «Psihologicheskie modeli pereedaniya i ozhireniya» («Rossijskij psihologicheskij zhurnal, 2001 g., №3), A. V. Sidorov (https://cyberleninka.ru/article/v/psihologicheskie-modeli-pereedaniya-i-ozhireniya).
  5. «Lechebnoe pitanie pri ozhirenii», 2014 g., V. Moiseeva.
  6. «Diagnostika, lechenie, profilaktika ozhireniya i associirovannyh s nim zabolevanij (nacionalnye klinicheskie rekomendacii)», 2017 g., E. I. Baranova, I. N. Barykina i dr.