Thursday, March 10, 2016

Battle of the Bulge: Don't We All?

Eewok tends to feel a tad inadequate at times, being the middle child; this week she was stumped as to what her own unique talents are. So she decided to take a survey. 

"What are you good at?" she asked me. 

"Well," I answered, only half-jokingly, "I like to eat." 

Eye roll. She was not amused. 

Yes, I despite my finger-wagging about the importance of healthy diets, I love food. A perfectly caramelized pan-roasted parsnip, oh sweet dinner plates. . . ahem. 

Alton Brown, the witty host of the once "Good Eats," is an example of a fellow convert to the wholesome path. He lost 50 pounds and has kept it off, even sharing his plan in an episode or two ("Live and Let Diet").
Thanks to the internet, we now have "food porn," expertly and lovingly captured images of the divinely baked and supremely cooked (I really should take a photography class). There is also the term "foodie," a title I dislike despite the aptness of the label (I like "flexitarian" better).

Alton hates the word too: "Alton Brown Has Had It With Foodies."
On "Food Network Star," I got so tired of hearing people tell me that the reason they should have their own show is that they love food so much. Well, so freaking what? I love food. We all love food. If we don’t, we die. Even supermodels in New York secretly love food. That doesn’t make you special. And people who want to be stars often make the mistake of thinking that it does, and that if they can just show you how much they love it, they will somehow become compelling. This is not the case. 
Yeah, what he said! I love food, but I thought that makes me typical, not remarkable. If I rhapsodize about the magic that is a Japanese yam, I'm usually met with blank stares, if not outright snoring. My passion doesn't seem to transfer. 

Liked this tidbit: 
You’re a big believer in self-reliance and responsibility. Do you see cooking as a form of self-reliance? I am, and it is. I get that there are people who can only afford to fill their stomachs with bad, cheap food. But I do think that most of us need to actually take responsibility for what we’re putting in our mouths. Obesity is not a disease. Can it be caused by diseases in certain rare cases? Yes, but the second that our society starts thinking that shoveling Big Macs into our face is a disease then we’re done, we’re done as a culture.


Altie said...

What about an addiction to certain foods such as white flour and sugar? If you can say that alcoholism is a disease then food addiction can also be a disease. I'm not saying people should blame the food they eat for making them fat, and yes they should practice more self control. But there is definitely evidence to prove that certain unhealthy foods can be addictive to some people.

Princess Lea said...

I stopped eating white flour when I realized my stomach had a hard time processing it, and felt fabulous when I went whole wheat. Now I rarely have flour at all, even though I yearn (with every friggin' fiber of my being) for a loaf of multi-grain bread slathered in butter.

As for sugar, yes, it can be addictive. I used to think I NEEDED it. When my cortisol is wonky, I still seek it out. But the less I consume it, the less I need it. I get my sugar jollies now mostly from fruits.

So, I'm a former addict. And I wasn't even intending to stop eating these foods; it sort of just happened, bit by bit, as I found the pleasant sensation of going without to be more addictive then the crack that is processed junk.

Here's an article I was planning on linking some time in the future:

The article says that in the case of addiction, there is more control than we think. Addicts can choose to do better, as opposed to those with mental or physical illness.


Altie said...

I see shame as a negative emotion, in this case akin to fat shaming. Even though the media is attempting to change that, calling plus sized models "curvy" now and allowing them to be on magazine covers, unfortunately it is still seen as a bad and embarrassing thing to be carrying around extra weight. In many cases the inability to lose weight and keep it off is linked to a food addiction. In my opinion being addicted to food is worse than a drug or alcohol addiction because with those substances you can stop then completely, whereas you need to eat in order to survive. The problem then becomes, staying away from so called "bad" foods, or food which have been labeled as bad by society, most of which are actually horrible and should not be consumed by humans. I think in a way it's a blame game. I was thinking about it recently regarding waste, I use a lot of styrofoam. So is it my fault that I choose to use something that is harmful to the planet, or is it the manufacturer's fault for producing something that is not biodegradable? I think we both have to take responsibility in this case. But as an ethical issue, I don't think companies should be producing food that can potentially kill people. I don't think shame helps with a food addiction, I think it just makes it worse.

Princess Lea said...

I don't believe in the motivational powers of shame, either. I was focusing on the point in the article that there is more control in the case of addictions than was previously thought.

Yes, OA has this quote: “When you are addicted to drugs, you put the tiger in the cage to recover; when you are addicted to food you put the tiger in the cage, but take it out three times a day for a walk." Don't I know it.

But your argument would also follow: Clothing companies make dresses that are insanely revealing, so women "have" to show too much skin. Or that if alcohol is sold, then drunk-drivers had no choice. And so forth. Or that if Red Lobster exists, there will be Jews who have no choice but to eat treif. Just because an item is sold or available doesn't mean we have no choice. There's temptation around us, every day, in a multitude of areas.

I don't know how you mean that you use a lot of Styrofoam (like in hot cups?) but aren't there alternatives? If there aren't alternatives, that's something else. But there are alternatives to bad foods.

My (constant) point is this: There are many things in life (not just weight maintenance) that are hard. Hard to bite our tongues when we want to say something. Hard to not to let our bad day get barfed onto an innocent. Hard to daven when we aren't in "the right mood."

I've accepted that this life is about being challenged. It's an uphill climb, and we all have different battles. One of my battles was an over-fondness for food. I worked on a number of bad habits and I'm proud to say I have come far, although I am not done yet. But I'm not going to blame Nabisco for making cookies and trying to make a profit. I hold myself accountable.