By Dean Sloan, MD
Weight loss. It has become something of a national obsession lately, and for good reason: two-thirds of American adults are overweight. It seems just about everybody is either on a weight loss diet or is looking for one. And that is where we are all making a big mistake. The overweight state is a permanent condition, and therefore it cannot be solved with a temporary fix, which is what every diet becomes. My patients tell me all the time about how much weight they or people they know have lost on this diet or that. My response is, “I don’t care!” because this weight loss is temporary, and now all these folks are heavier than they’ve ever been.
To Gain Weight Is Human
The human body is built for weight gain, and throughout history this trait has been critical to our survival in a world often beset by famine. But in the last century, famine has been eliminated in much of the world, and in the last half-century, the food industry has dramatically changed our food environment. Back in “olden times,” we ate when nature made food available to us, and we built some fat mass that we later utilized as fuel, such as when food was scarce. Now, we eat constantly, choosing from a wide array of highly addictive and fattening products of industry, and we become overweight and obese.
Eating fattening foods could be looked upon as our nation’s most prevalent addiction, but most people do not recognize it as such. We all know about drugs of addiction, like nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and prescription narcotics, and society offers many treatment options to help us overcome our abuse of these substances. Food is generally not regarded as a drug, because, of course, we must eat to survive.
But our food supply today is very different from that of generations past and is now dominated by concoctions of starches, sugars, salt and flavorings that are scientifically designed to be habit-forming. Shortly after passing our lips, these products break down into sugar, which negatively affects our blood sugar-insulin balance and contributes to weight gain. To make matters worse, these products are labeled with buzz words like “low fat,” “no trans-fat” and “whole grain” to make us think they are actually good for us! The truth is they are nothing more than addictive, fattening drugs.
To solve our weight problem we must identify our personal foods of addiction and manage them appropriately. They cannot be in our homes and workplaces, and we must avoid them in restaurants and other places where food is available. Then we need a comprehensive lifestyle plan consisting of healthful foods we enjoy and physical activity we are capable of doing. This plan is best developed by a healthcare professional who specializes in bariatrics (weight management) and who is available to provide counseling and support on a frequent and long term basis.
Food, Exercise and Beyond
Permanent weight management clearly requires more than a diet that is here today and gone tomorrow. Yes, it demands a healthful lifestyle that is sustainable for life. But it goes one step further. How do we establish the frame of mind to eat and exercise properly for the rest of our lives when it seems everyone around us doesn’t and is encouraging us to abandon our healthful ways? We must create a new identity for ourselves, one that is based on our weight and wellness goals above all else.
We have to make our goals a religion, as in the religion of health and wellness, and we must adhere to our beliefs and behaviors just as we would as observant members of a “regular” religion. And how do we do this? We must have a burning desire for our goals, a desire that is stronger than all of the temptations in our minds and environment to revert back to the ways of the heavy and unwell person we used to be.
What Is Your Destiny?
If you are overweight, what do you plan to do about it? Will you go on a diet, lose some weight, and then go off the diet and gain back the weight? Will you continue to be the victim of food addiction in the interest of “enjoying” yourself for a few fleeting moments each day only to condemn yourself to a life of obesity, disease, discomfort and unhappiness? This is what most Americans are doing right now. This is typical, conventional, “normal” behavior. Is this what you want for yourself?
Or, do you want something different and better? Not just better, great… maybe the greatest achievement of your life. If so, start building your desire and call a qualified weight loss professional today. Your goals are your destiny!
Oasis Weight Loss Center
6651 Woolbright Road, #120, Boynton Beach, FL 33437