I took some time the other evening to reread a section of the book, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s where he presents the main proposal of his book that is in order to obtain optimal health and weight loss we must make serious changes in what we eat. But this can be very, very hard for some, if not most of us. Because the fact is our American diet is addictive.
I witnessed this addiction first hand tonight, when I stopped by my local Walgreens store on the way home from play rehearsal to quickly run in and pick up some toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. When I approached the cash register, I noticed a woman, who looked to be about, maybe, 10 years older than me, checking out with a fairly full cart of items. As I waited patiently, I glanced around the counter that was filled with candy bars, mint candies, packages of gum, tiny packages of cookies, and all kinds of items set out to tempt the waiting customer. As I waited, I confess I could not avert my eyes from what was being pulled out of the shopping cart ahead of me. I was literally shocked and horrified by what the clerk rang up; and this is not an exaggeration: several bags of plain Lays Potato Chips, several bags of Frito Lay Corn Chips, a couple of packages of Vanilla Cream Cookies, a couple of bags of Salted Pork Rinds, a Case of 12-oz cans of Regular Pepsi Cola soft drinks, a copy of the local newspaper, several bags of 16-oz regular M&M candies, a package of 24 rolls of Charmin bath tissue, two containers of processed cheddar cheese chip spread, and a loaf of white bread. Her items came to a grand total of $145.58. I was honestly stunned because she has spent approximately $137 on absolute addictive junk food filled with sugar, sodium, and fat with zero nutritional value.
Thankfully, I know that most of you reading this do not go to the store and shop the way I described above because you do not have the addictions or cravings she obviously possessed. But you probably have other cravings or “small addictions” that will be just as hard to give up. In the beginning, when making dietary changes it will be hard. You will have cravings. But if you are serious about losing weight and gaining control over how you emotionally and physically feel, you must change the way you eat.
When you do make those changes, as you start to follow menu plans that have less processed items that contain sugar and sodium and focus on nutrient based whole foods of fresh and/or frozen vegetables and fruits, whole-grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds your taste buds will become more sensitive and you will begin to lose those cravings to overeat.
Diets of deprivation or portion control do not work. If they did, we wouldn’t have people with weight issues and diet related health issues. No one will lose weight continuing to eat a Standard American Diet and by simply trying to control their portions of a Standard American Diet. It doesn’t work. You will never lose those cravings. Don’t wait until you have a life-threatening health crisis. Take control of your own destiny today. You can do it.