Obesity is a tricky little beastie. (Yes we just saw the movie Maleficent) We all know the obvious. There is not one single cause of it or one single treatment option that is right for all. We also know enough to know that for many, there is an addiction factor. For anyone who does not believe we can be addicted to food, (carbs), then please Google and read the published medical studies showing how sugar is more addictive than heroin. It is out there. And I say carb addiction over food addiction many times because lets face it, can you think of a food you binge on or eat too much of that hinders you getting to or staying at a healthy weight that is not a form of empty or processed carb? Not really. I have never heard anyone say they binged on lettuce or strawberries and gained 100 pounds over the years. I remember my friend and colleague Yvonne McCarthy saying on my radio show and in many talks- “We don’t binge on broccoli.” She is correct!
If you have never read the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, GET IT NOW. Trust me, there is a reason most of the foods we love to eat that taste so good and make us gain weight have that combination of salt, sugar, and fat. Sugar is addictive enough on it’s own, but when you make the triple whammy effect by adding the salt and fat, you have a perfect storm of taste, flavor, and triggering of pleasure sensors in the brain all raging at once. There is a reason I was addicted to Doritos and could eat a whole bag, or would plan to eat 3 Oreos and would eat a whole sleeve. Take a minute and think of every food you tend to eat too much of at a sitting or that you eat often that you know is not really giving your body good nutrition- (basically junk). Does it have fat? Sugar? Salt? Yep, thought so.
The point is we do not need these things in our bodies. Yet I keep hearing many people say that after they have lost 25 pounds they reward themselves by having donuts or cake or nachos or whatever food it was they stayed away from while trying to get healthy and lose weight. NOOOOOO! This is why we use Plexus! To stop the craving for those icky things we do not need. So why then after getting healthier would we celebrate by eating those things we tend to have no control over? If we had control over them we would not need things like Plexus, bariatric surgery, therapy, etc.
Many others will tell me of taking their kids for ice cream or donuts or to a fast food place as a treat or reward for a good report card or winning the soccer game etc. Wait what?
Let’s start with our kids. We need to try and get them out of the frame of mind of food being a reward. Food is fuel. Repeat after me- FOOD IS FUEL. We have turned food into such a sport in this country and such a hobby and obsession, that it is the first thing we think of as a treat or reward for good behavior, good grades, or anything else GOOD. Try taking your child to the dollar store and let them pick a trinket or toy, or find other ways to reward them so that food is not so closely associated with accomplishment or pleasure or rewards.
Now for those of us adults who struggle with weight and obesity, we tend to use a similar reward system. Who has not done this?
“I have dropped 25 pounds so I deserve that piece of cake and ice cream!”
“I went to the gym four times this week and so I am going to treat myself with a big batch of nachos and cheese and a margarita!”
“I am so excited to be able to wear those size ten jeans! Let’s celebrate with a trip to Krispy Kreme!”
This may seem totally normal to some, but for those who are really struggling with weight and food (carb) addiction, this is the same logic as an alcoholic saying that since they have stayed sober for 6 months they deserve a beer, or a drug addict saying that since they have been clean for three months it is time to celebrate with some pills. It just doesn’t make sense to reward healthy behavior with unhealthy behavior?
FIND NEW WAYS to reward and celebrate progress! Your body and mind will thank you for it later!