To quickly recap the previous article (Diets do not work, part one):
Many of us are food addicts without even understanding that we are addicted or knowing what we are addicted to. Many of us lie to ourselves about why we are overweight, how much of what we eat. We have to stop following this or that diet and change our entire lifestyle as following various diets from time to time just do not work to effect long term weight loss.
Diets do not work, part two: Eating the Elephant
To make changes we have to understand the what, the why and the how. The least painful ways of achieving lifestyle changes that will result in effective and permanent weight loss is actually quite simple.
It is obvious that we have to make dramatic and deep changes to our lifestyle, in fact the changes required are so huge that when we examine what is required of us many just do not have the courage to even start. I recall a now famous question: How do you eat an elephant? Now famous answer: One teaspoon at a time.
What follows now is the start of the theory, you are expected to only read and understand but not yet to do anything. The action plan including the step by step, takes all the theory together to combine into a practical guide that contains the additional information to guide you when you implement the theory.
The least painful way to effect lifestyle change is to divide the next few years of your life into sections of three months. During each three month section you have to make a single small change to your lifestyle.
We start by making a list of all the things in our current lifestyle that has to change. Then we re-arrange the items on our list in order of how easy each item is to change, the easiest item at the top and the most difficult at the bottom.
There are two different main types of items, negative and positive, more about this later. There can only be one item in any three month period irrespective of whether it is positive or negative.
There should be between four and ten or more items on your initial list and you have to look at the examples on the action plan when you compile your list as the list method itself is a main part of the program.
Continued in the next article in the series: Diets do not work: The holy cow
Just a short section on food and habits:
Just eating food itself regularly could easily have become so boring that we would just stop doing it. If this happened, as a species, we would have been extinct before the Dodo ever was.
This is one of many reasons why we are genetically wired to respond to food in multiple various ways, one example would be that we release feel-good chemicals in our brains when our sense of taste reports activity.
We add spices, herbs and other taste enhancing ingredients to our food, sometimes these added ingrediets are of little or no nutritional value. We wish to reward ourselves for eating.
We have established relationships with our food, we classify our tastes, textures and each frame of reference contains years of predjudice and preference to immediately rate, classify and place anything even remotely new right there in the correct box.
In short, by the time that you are an adult you have a fairly established idea of which foods you like and which you do not like but the most important point that has to be made right now is that you also know how you feel about food.
Quite simply food evokes emotion, irrespective of what you may have heard opined somewhere else, factually and truthfully you have associations that impact how you feel when you eat different foods.
But the question might be whether food emotes, provokes, highlights or underlines emotions? And the easy answer is all the above and in different levels in different people. When you add cultural bias, formative milieu and other externals then all of a sudden everything becomes much clearer.
We know why following an unbalanced diet for a few days, a week or a month, results in quick weight loss and as any serial dieter will testify, if you follow an unbalanced diet with a strict balanced diet, you will lose even more. And there is the crux of it all: Folowing a diet.
We are humans and although measuring how much of what we are allowed to eat is the greatest idea since sliced bread, it is something that we will struggle to do as it is not natural and we are not wired to work that way around. Thousands of years have wired us to eat when there is food, store food for when there is food shortages and our tastebuds inform our pleasure centers which rewards us on an ongoing basis and a few different years is not going to instantly rewire our very core.
We are fat and overweight because of technology, development and progress. We consume taste addictive foods that cause irresistible cravings which fills us with empty calories
so that we are in fact eating because we are starving and storing because we have too much and all the time we love the way our food makes us feel.
It becomes a vicious never ending cycle in which we are completely caught up in. We are pressurised by our children (and the magic yellow arches and toys), our husbands
and wives and we constantly have to allow, compensate and compromise in order to maintain healthy relationships, avoid battles and be happy.
So we are as we eat.
To recap: We flavour our food and our brains are wired to reward us for eating certain tastes. We have an emotional relationship with what we eat and we form food habits. We eat for emotional rewards and modern technology has seen us be rewarded for eating empty nutritional efforts. We are fat because of who we have allowed ourselves to become and because of human nature.
Each of us that are overweight, fat or obese have our own situations, health concerns, factors that impact our behavior and combinations of life issues that results in where we are right now but how do we actually change and not just how do we change but how do we achieve permanent weight loss?
Each journey starts with a single step.
You have to say: Enough is enough. You have to truly understand why it is enough and you have to truly believe and really want to effect change.
Eating habits is about you, not about your family, not about your partner, not about anybody other than yourself.
This is the first step in effecting change in your life.
The next article will cover the practical lifestyle change lists and expand upon habits, change and managing the stress involved, developing habits, new habit forming behavior
and more as we explore, among other things, how food habits are changed and brain reward centers are rewired.