The Big Lie Fat People Tell Ourselves
Losing weight isn’t like quitting smoking or drinking or heroin or anything else, we say.
People can quit smoking cold turkey. You can stop drinking and never have to touch another glass of alcohol. Once you’re off the needle, you’re off the needle.
You don’t have to smoke, drink or sniff glue, but I’m addicted to food. I have to eat.
Well, that’s bullshit and here’s why.
It’s actually quite amazing how little food the human body needs. You can live for weeks and weeks without any food at all. Some people have lived for years on 1000-1500 calories a day claiming that extreme calorie restriction can actually increase your lifespan.
We need food. We need to eat to live. But we don’t actually NEED anywhere close to the amount of food we eat.
I’ve been experimenting a little lately with intermittent fasting which is just a fancy way of saying eating at controlled intervals. One or two days a week, I’ll only eat around 600 calories. Then on other days, I eat regularly.
The biggest benefit has been to see actually how little food I need to function normally.
That and to see what actual hunger feels like. If you only eat 200 calories in the morning, by afternoon, you’re actually hungry which is an entirely different sensation that WANTING something to eat.
WANTING something to eat and being hungry are two entirely different things. Mainly because when we WANT something to eat, it usually isn’t food.
And this is the big part of the big lie
Most of what we eat isn’t food.
Most of what we eat is prepackaged, edible food-like substances. Most of what we eat is simply a delivery system to feed our addiction to America’s drug of choice: Sugar.
We may not be able to give up food completely the way other addicts go cold turkey, but if we can start to recognize our true addiction we can start to separate what we want from what we need.
Food isn’t the problem. Sugar is the problem.
Yes, we have to eat, but if we can make the switch from eating for fun to eating for fuel. From eating because it tastes good to eating because it is good. From eating out of habit to eating because we’re hungry. If we can do that, we’ll eat less.
Terry Lancaster is the VP of Making Sh!t Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing. You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.