Whether or not we’d like to admit it, weight and beauty are inextricably linked. But weight is a lot more than just an issue of aesthetics right? It’s a health issue too, which is why it’s not always easy to swallow the fat acceptance movement – no matter how much we approve of the love thyself message.
We’ve heard a lot about how thyroid conditions can affect weight gain. It’s the first thing people want to point to when they can’t seem to lose the weight, but we haven’t heard much about Prader-Willie Syndrome, a debilitating condition whose main symptom is the inability of the sufferer to feel full or satisfied – no matter how much they food they consume.
ABC did a story this morning about the devastating effects this condition heaps on the approximately 20,000 afflicted. The story revolves around a profile of 26-year-old Kate Kane (pictured) who was stealing cupcakes from birthday parties by age two. Now, many us might feel like our appetite is uncontrollable, but for Kane and her fellow sufferers of PWS, it really is. Not unlike drug addicts, individuals with PWS will do almost anything to get their hands on food, their drug of choice. Since eating until they literally bust is a legitimate fear, their lives are ruled and often ruined by this disease and many, Kane included, have found that living in a group home with 24-hour surveillance and food monitoring is the only solution.
After six yeas of living in a virtual lock down, Kate is down 150 pounds and says she feels “really good…because I see how far I’ve come in my success in losing my weight.” But no matter how far she’s come, her hunger demons are in close pursuit; a visit home minus the structure of the group home left Kane 25 pounds heavier after just ten days.
The identification and treatment of this disorder leaves me baffled. The need to aggressively treat the compulsion to dangerously overeat is obvious, but is permanent in-patient status the only solution? And I’m really curious to see which celebrity comes out as the first famous face of PWS. My money’s on Oprah.