I’ve been having a discussion with a friend who is in a support group for overeaters–and forwarded me this site–about the complexities of dieting. As I read through the list, it came to me that intention (to eat healthier or lose weight) without knowledge, or knowledge without support, can make sticking to a healthy eating program a far bigger challenge than many might think.
Many people who know clearly that they have an addictive response to sugars and starches can still struggle to stay on a low carb program if they don’t have adequate support to keep at it day after day, year after year. Especially those with morbid obesity and/or metabolic issues like low thyroid, among others. While I’ve read dozens of books on diet, nutrition, paleo-primal-evolutionary development, filling my head with information, and stopping the obviously offending foods, was only the first step. The limbic brain at work in most of us doesn’t completely cease to crave those high carb foods, especially when we constantly see and smell them; and, in this age, we can barely have an hour when there are not some advertisements before us via magazines, television, internet, radio, billboards, and at virtually all businesses we commonly patronize. I daily see the discards of fast-food along the highways, which means escape from the sight, sound, smells of the worst of modern foods is hard to come by, so prevalent is the industry in the west.
On the other hand, those attempting to get relief from cravings need to get knowledge about the ubiquity as well as addictive nature of high sugar/carb foods, since nearly every strong craving comes from carbs, salt, or fat, usually in combination. I’ve yet to meet anyone with an overwhelming craving for plain lettuce.
So we who struggle with addictive responses to sugar, starch, and most artificial sweeteners need both knowledge and support.
I know it is hard for people with families who do not understand that modern high carb diets are not only generally fattening, but unhealthy, and insist on keeping such foods in the house. I’m very fortunate to have tremendous support from my spouse, and others. If you are not so lucky, you might want to look into one of the weight loss or food addiction support groups which give support regardless of what food program you are on (see my previous post).
Perhaps one of the hardest concepts to keep before us is that we are individuals with varying responses to varying stimuli, including foods. I have people in my family who struggle to gain weight, others who struggle to lose weight, all with differing levels of vision-dental-physical-mental health, not to mention all the other ways we differ; no one thing works perfectly for everyone else. While we share a great deal in common, it is important to keep in mind we are unique individuals. People who point fingers and say “if you just did x, y, z” need a big dose of humility. Health is in some ways simple, as indeed is life, but in more ways it’s complicated. The best we can do is continue to look for answers throughout our lives.
Yours in looking at all sides of the issues,
Nan aka Sugarbaby