23/09/2013 07:48 BST | Updated 20/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Thinspiration! Can You be Skinny but Still Be Fat?

So, you're overweight. Over what weight? Over whose weight? Are you just overweight or obese? In order to get lean and healthy, we must then, define the terms "overweight" and "obese". They are too often used by the ignorant as synonyms when in fact they are not. Overweight means an excess of body weight while obese refers to an excess of only body fat.

In the case of a bodybuilder with great muscle mass, he may be considered overweight using the weight and height-measuring ratio of the BMI system. It's equally possible and far more common to be carrying too much body fat without being overweight. This is often the case with a person leading an inactive life, carrying an excess of body fat and low muscle mass. These people rarely get measured by BMI, which should not be considered definitive because it includes no allowance for individual circumstance. These 'slim-fat people' then are not included in the government's approximation that 25% of people in the UK are obviously obese. Even so, just take a walk around any city centre and you will soon see this estimation is woefully and optimistically low.

We can clearly see then, that the problem lies not only in the food itself but also in the way we go about eating and the thought (or lack of) that we give to our entire lifestyle. Gluttony then, refers to a yearning or longing that needs filling. When we are spiritually lacking we find no lasting joy within. This condition gives greater and more frequent need for sources of consolation without. Wherein lays the answer then? Well, in short, get the spirit in shape and the body will follow.

For a minority of overweight people, similar to some vanity-free individuals suffering from dandruff, they just don't really care how they look. They may occasionally feel a twinge of pain when they can't buy a tight little black dress or stretch jeans but they just as quickly dismiss the problem from their minds. That is until it has an even more dramatic impact on their lifestyle. For others, vanity once clung to as a solid back up to self-esteem, is slowly diminished and compromised over a longer period due to failed diet and slimming plans. This is due mainly to a lacking in any personal spirituality. The body is overfed but the soul is starved. Sometimes a jolt of some sort is needed to stimulate action against eating to change an emotional state and sliding into complete obesity. I have known at least one lady who had a 'turning point' moment that changed her life. At a friend's wedding party, the chair on which she was sitting practically exploded. Such was her embarrassment and shock she decided drastic action was called for. Along with a girl friend, she simply set off on an 'adventure' holiday. This journey took her by way of bus, train, plane and barge all the way to Peru! Free from routine and domestic commitments the sense of freedom changed her whole psyche. It also enabled her to discover some of the joys that had previously been missing from her life as she had fallen into bad routines and self-indulgent habits so common in domestic Britain. Exploring beautiful landscapes and ancient architecture she found spiritual fulfilment and a new, enhanced value structure. On a small budget she had just the bare essentials to live yet her spiritual cup overflowed. She moved from town to town, slept in a tent and picnicked her way to being two and half stone lighter by the time she returned home! I have so much admiration for her courage and conviction because she had a husband and children who were not crazy about the idea when it was first suggested but she knew that in order to be the best mother and wife she could be she had to overcome her weight issue. She later told me that the most significant thing she had learned from the experience was that it was boredom that had lead to her overeating. Once back home she never let herself become bored again and so continued to lose weight and gain greater spiritual happiness.

This is indeed a powerful lesson as we reflect how many people willingly head towards pain and suffering to avoid boredom. They will eat too much, get drunk, take drugs, behave violently or abusively, in fact indulge any impulse-no matter how self-destructive-to avoid or alleviate the emptiness of boredom.

This particular lady's answer to her plight is of course neither necessary nor suitable for all individuals but it does emphasise again that there is no single panacea for the blight of gluttony. Would, as has been suggested, the governmental appointment of a 'Fat Czar' have made this single and personal event take place? Of course not. Put simply, it is the individual who must decide when enough is enough and what steps they will take to make the change. Can we rise above this fat-problem-denial-culture where we once said it ain't over till the fat lady sings? Probably not as so often these days, she now more frequently sings and wins reality shows on television. This affirms our universal acceptance of obesity being 'normal' and illustrates how the general public will aspire to what most represents them. Will we respond or react? It's a simple question.