Monday, July 15, 2013

What Zimmerman's Weight Gain Might Be Telling Us

The murder trial of George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has occupied the public's consciousness and airwaves since the shooting occurred February 26, 2012. But little attention has been focused on the amount of weight Zimmerman has gained since that night. And I believe this conspicuous physiological change demonstrates his guilt.

Zimmerman appears to have added roughly 100 pounds or more, which seems an atypical feat for an allegedly innocent man facing a potential life sentence for killing a kid. The more likely change would've been a significant loss of weigh from having no appetite as he anxiously and fearfully awaited his fate. But to gain that amount of weight Zimmerman's appetite had to have been gargantuan this past year, suggesting that it is a radical manifestation of the guilt and shame that's consumed him since he killed Martin.

Yes, George Zimmerman feels like shit. He killed a kid. A teenager who he knows was innocent. He's not a sociopath. A sociopath feels no guilt. No shame. No remorse. I don't think Zimmerman left his home that night wanting to or thinking he was going to kill someone, especially a child. I genuinely believe he's been tortured by the horrible course of events that turned his Dirty Harry-wannabe act into the tragic, shocking gun-death of a kid holding nothing but a bag of Skittles and an iced-tea. Everything he believes he stood for has been turned on its head. His life is out of control. All because a bullet from that loaded pistol, for which he had an insatiable desire and need to carry, tore through the heart of Trayvon Martin. And so he eats. He eats to dull the insurmountable pain...and the guilt...and the shame. His eating is a product of self-loathing.

Psychologists and those who've personally experienced eating disorders say that people often overeat in an attempt to repress such feelings of guilt and shame...of self-hatred. That extreme weight gain over such a short period of time, as in Zimmerman's case, is a manifestation of these feelings. Has he eaten massive amounts because he hasn't told the truth and is literally burying his lies with food? Like his innate desire to protect his neighborhood--which ended with disastrous results--his overeating is the most basic form of self-care gone horribly wrong. And it's not what one would expect from an allegedly innocent man who truly believes he was justified in the eyes of the law and his God.

Many psychologists also view eating as a sensual act. So it's a little bizarre that someone who's professing innocence, and believes he's being stripped of his basic freedoms, would eat so excessively. There's a reason prisoners go on hunger-strikes. They're denying themselves food as a symbolic act in protest of the injustices cast upon them. The food-as-sensual-reward theory is probably why we don't see any binge-eating strikes.

But in fairness, to give another perspective of Zimmerman's weight gain, psychologists might argue that some people eat simply because they're experiencing high degrees of stress. But they generally attribute that stress to the kind of routine daily pressures and anxieties of work and family--not from killing someone--and from which food is used to self-soothe.

To be sure, the cause of Zimmerman's massive weight gain is speculative at best, as is the belief by many that his reaction to hearing the verdict further suggests his guilt. Wouldn't a truly innocent man have shown some sort of emotional release...a look of relief, a gasp, a sigh, tears or all of the above? Instead, Zimmerman stared straight ahead, motionless and emotionless... without changing his facial expression even one single tick. You could almost hear him thinking to himself..."Holy shit, I got away with it..."

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