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On the Fat See Saw, Part Two

In the movie Hitch, Alex Hitchens is trying to describe to his leading lady, Sarah, how he feels about her . . .

“I mean, what, we’ve been on three dates?  See, that’s what’s crazy. That’s what’s crazy, because I know.  I know deep . . . like just down, just in this area [gesturing to his stomach]. . . that I just know. . . that I want. . . I want to be miserable.  Like, really miserable. Because, hey. . . if that’s what it takes for me to be happy then. . .”

He didn’t intend to say that he wanted to be miserable because she made him miserable, but that he wanted to feel again.

I think we have the same relationship with fat that Alex used to have with women. He had been hurt in college and insulated himself from other relationships by focusing on the happiness of others. He didn’t believe in love, but he made love his business.

Over the years we have been told that eating fat is dangerous, unhealthy and downright wrong. But down deep inside, usually in the area of the stomach, we know that our body wants fat. It needs fat to survive.

Food Choice is a Business

Our food choices are a business. They are the business of large agricultural farms, insecticide and herbicide companies, manufacturing plants, snack food research and development teams, sugar cane companies and manufacturers of artificial sweeteners to name just a few.

Our food is a business to the manufacturers who research the “bliss point” of food. This is the amount of sugar required to trigger the pleasure response in the brain and encourage you to eat more of the junk food they produce. This is the point at which the manufacture continues to get a great return on their investment of ingredients and research, while feeding you foods that only increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and diseases from a damaged immune system.

Your food supply is a business to the beverage industry that uses advertising to convince as many people as possible that their products, used in moderation, can reduce your waistline and improve your health.

For instance, here’s a short example from a video released by TogetherCounts.com. This is a nationwide program that is seeking to help children and adults balance the amount of calories they eat with the number of calories they burn each day. Their concept is that each calorie is EQUAL in value to the body, without regard for the nutrition and energy in those calories.

The video explains that you can cut the number of calories from a box cake mix by taking out the eggs and oil and replacing them with diet soda.

If you think about that for a minute . . . this is a coalition of manufacturers and producers of snack foods and beverages who are recommending you can continue to enjoy their box cake mixes AND reduce your calories, by taking out the perfect protein egg and high fat oil and replacing them with diet soda.

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What Are You Missing?

And so, instead of eating the steak, avocado, nuts and coconut oils, we tell ourselves that the snack foods, chips and baked goods are ‘treats’ that ultimately help to satisfy our hunger for the very foods that we’ve been told not to eat.

Eating the steak, avocado and nuts will satisfy your hunger and your body’s need for healthy fats – saturated, monounsaturated and a few polyunsaturated fats. However, there is more guilt to eating the steak than there is to grabbing a bag of chips filled with trans fats.

After years of learning to eat low-fat foods it probably feels weird to use butter, coconut oil or eat a juicy steak.  But it’s time to move against what may feel weird and start to enjoy the foods that your body is craving and demanding for a strong immune system and a healthy weight management program.

Fortunately, many of the foods that are high in healthy saturated fats are also filling and satisfying. They help to combat your sweet tooth so you aren’t reaching for the doughnut at 10 am or the candy bar at 2pm to get your metabolic engine started again. Instead you can sail through the mid-morning and mid-afternoon cravings that assault all your co-workers and friends who are eating a high carbohydrate diet.

What Technology is Driving

In this technologically advanced culture you are often assailed with feelings of not being good enough, thin enough or satisfied enough with your body. Almost from every direction you see models who appear just too good to be true. Interestingly, that is probably more correct than you might imagine.

You could look like the ‘beautiful people’ if you went to the gym more, ate a low-fat diet high in ‘healthy’ whole grains, drank a miracle juice or took a miracle pill. But realistically, even many of those models don’t look like themselves. With the miracle of digital photography and videography many of the models and actresses are touched up in photos and advertising video to look exactly like what the media would portray as “perfect.”

The need to be accepted and fit in to a group of individuals doesn’t suddenly disappear when you turn 20, 30 or even 50.  Humans automatically divide themselves into groups of people who are most like themselves, in order to feel like they fit in with a group.

Think back to your high school cafeteria days. When you came in after filling your tray, you looked around for your friends. If you were in the chess club, you probably didn’t sit with the football players. If you were a cheerleader, you probably didn’t head for the table with the math students. You headed for the table with the student who looked, acted and were more like you than anyone else in the cafeteria. These were your friends.

That need to be accepted by others doesn’t really go away as we age. It may change a bit, so that the friends we keep have a more varied look, but it remains a group in which we are accepted and feel safe.

In a culture where technology continues to increase the speed at which we can achieve so much, we want the quick fix and the fast answer.

The combination of wanting a quick fix and desiring to fit in with our peers, will sometimes keep us from changing nutritional habits in order to continue to fit in with the group and keep the status quo.

Make Your Choices Count

When people want to stop smoking or alcoholics want to stop drinking, one of the most important recommendations is that they steer clear of the situations which will more likely trigger the habit. For a smoker it might mean taking a walk during their work break, instead of hanging out with their usual crowd. Or it could mean forgoing the coffee after dinner, because that coffee usually came with a cigarette. Alcoholics can’t go in to bars to visit with friends because the temptation to pick up a drink and conform is just too great.

Although our food preferences are not always as noticeable to our friends and family when we change them, they can create a rift between people when friends feel you are trying to make a change that sets you apart. This is the time to dig deep and remember the reasons you are changing your nutritional plan is to make a real change in your life. You are what you eat. You can enjoy life when you give your body the tools it needs to support your health and wellness.

Not eating fat or severely restricting your diet is not reasonable, not healthy and not an effective long-term weight loss measure. It might be what your friends are doing, but if it worked then the weight loss industry wouldn’t be making billions of dollars every year on the newest pill, drink, program or diet plan.

The choices you make each day have an impact on your health, your waistline and you children. Make those choices count.

 

 

 

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