Pat Farnack interviewed me about Normal Eating® for Normal Weight for the Health and Well Being Report on WCBS 880AM Talk Radio in New York City. They’re playing it in short pieces today through Wednesday at 9:23 am, 11:23 am, and 6:23 pm (it’s streamed).
In my previous post, I talked about how eating processed food can make people fat. Processed foods are fabricated in labs, specifically and deliberately to use our body wisdom against us. The weapons they use are fat, sugar, and salt, which trick us into overeating. From the chapter on Stage 4 in Normal Eating® for Normal Weight:
“Humans enjoy sweetness because in nature, sweetness is a sign that fruits and vegetables are at their peak of ripeness, and when they’re at their peak of ripeness, they’re also at their peak nutritionally.”
“People love salt because it’s required for life, but was hard to come by for early humans living inland from the ocean. Those who had a taste for salt and sought it out stayed alive to reproduce; those who didn’t take the time to find salt got sick and died.”
“People have a natural liking for fat because it’s energy-dense – that is, it’s high in calories for its weight. For most of human evolution, the food supply was unreliable and going hungry was common. A taste for energy-dense food evolved to keep us from starving when food was scarce.”
Stage 4 of Normal Eating®, Choosing, is about making healthy food choices once you have overcome the compulsive urges that take away your ability to choose. But what if you’re not yet at Stage 4? How do you free yourself from the addictive effects of sugar, fat, and salt?
What makes people fat are the two main factors that interfere with body wisdom:
- Emotional Eating and Compulsive Overeating – Eating when you’re not hungry, to meet emotional needs and cravings.
- Processed Food – Processed foods are engineered to pervert body wisdom so people eat more.
Body wisdom is an inborn attraction to the foods that our body needs for nutrition. It tells us exactly what, when, and how much to eat. We know that humans have this instinct, just as animals in the wild do, thanks to a study presented 70 years ago today.
An attempt to maintain a lower-than-normal weight triggers emotional eating and eating disorders in millions of people. Being very thin is not healthy, which suggests it’s not normal or natural. From an article about a new Japanese study:
“People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.
“We found skinny people run the highest risk,” said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Medicine who worked on the long-term study of middle-aged and elderly people.”
This is only the latest in many studies to show this result.
Evidence suggests that our normal, healthiest weight may be somewhat higher than what the weight tables say it should be. If people could accept their natural, normal weight as beautiful and healthy, it would solve many problems. I’m not talking about being very fat, just a little fatter than the culture around us says we should be.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them.
You have many ways to stay connected with Normal Eating. Here are the different options and what you’ll find on each:
- Twitter – Inspirational thoughts, what I’m eating or cooking at the moment (to model Normal Eating), and links to interesting articles.
- Facebook – Links to interesting articles in a format where you can comment and respond.
- Newsletter – Newsletter articles are cross-posted in the blog, but without the news section that starts each newsletter.
- Blog – What you’re reading now. You can follow the blog through email, an RSS reader, or Facebook.
- Forum – The forum is where you can bring up your own topics, get support from fellow travelers, and ask questions of me directly. It’s a private community, not indexed in search engines, with members-only access. The one-time fee of $25 includes an online version of my book, Normal Eating for Normal Weight (full text).
Am I tweeting about interesting things? Do you find the Facebook page useful? Are there specific topics you’d like me to cover in the blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I watched the segment on Good Morning America this morning about the Fat Acceptance movement. I’m all in favor of accepting yourself and loving yourself no matter what your weight. But I was very disturbed by the clear implication that if you stop dieting, you will gain 100 pounds like Marianne Kirby did. This is absolutely not the case. If you overcome emotional eating – a primary focus of my method, Normal Eating® – you will not stabilize at a morbidly obese weight. Countless people who have tried Normal Eating® can attest to this.
This story – and perhaps the Fat Acceptance movement as a whole – does a disservice by implying that an externally prescribed diet is necessary to achieve and maintain a normal weight. Women watching this story will come away with the idea that if they stop dieting they’ll gain 100 pounds, which naturally will send them running to the next diet. But in fact, diets ultimately result in weight gain over 95% of the time – the yo-yo effect. Learning to eating normally – according to body wisdom – is the only long-term solution to weight problems.
We need a movement in this country to accept normal-sized bodies. Most of the images we see all around us are underweight. But a fat acceptance movement that implies you will weigh 300 pounds if you stop dieting actually encourages people to continue dieting. This is a terrible disservice because diets don’t work.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them.
There was an interesting discussion in the forum this week about whether – even after you stop emotional eating – you need self-discipline to lose weight. Here is the argument in favor, from a Normal Eating Support Group member:
I think the issue of discipline is important in Stage 4. Health and fitness does not come naturally in most adults, and requires a lot of work and restriction. The real work is transforming restriction into self-love, and befriending the mechanisms of self-discipline can be useful. At least that’s how I see it, and how I observe many adults around me with no eating issues, who are very strict with their food intake and their exercise routines. Within a solid stage 4, those mental push-ups can bring enormous benefits.
This is diet-think, turning Normal Eating into the “eat when hungry” diet. It sounds reasonable only because this is the attitude of the culture at large – that if we follow our natural instincts, we will not do the right thing.
This is not my personal experience, nor the experience of many others I’ve worked with over the years. Intuitively eating to fuel our bodies – without particular stress or effort – is our natural state. Once emotional eating is resolved and we are reconnected with body wisdom, we don’t have to fight ourselves anymore – there is nothing to curb or discipline.
It’s from the chapter, “Beauty: Inner and Outer”, and it talks about how our culture equates physical beauty with value as a human being.
I did an interview by phone this morning for 640AM-WGST Radio in Atlanta and the Georgia News Network. The interview will be broken into clips for broadcast, but they kindly sent me the full 9-minute interview (raw and unedited), which you can listen to here.
(Click the link if you’re unable to download the plug-in.)
In case there’s any confusion about the source of the idea: “You can and must look like Miss California”, check out this article. It’s a great analysis of a piece by the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health introducing the May issue. We’re so used to hearing these crazy messages, we don’t even notice how crazy they are anymore. This is worth reading.