Eating and Weight
The Book Eating and Weight explores the facts and myths of the weight loss industry, eating disorders and suggests practical solutions. Here is an introduction:
Patterns of Weight Gain
When you decide to lower your body weight, you should first consider how you gained weight. There are many paths to becoming overweight. Many people are unaware of how they got to be so large. Knowing more about the way you gained weight will help you understand how you might lose weight. You need to be realistic.
Many people gain weight in spurts, as binge eating a consequence of binge-eating or periodic indulgences in rapid weight gain may be associated with hormonal changes, as in pregnancy or low thyroid states, or whenever life-style changes, injury, or illness reduce physical activity. Without a balanced reduction in food intake or change in food selection, reduced physical activity produces weight gain. Bursts of weight gain represent maladaptive responses to a variety of stressors.
Five basic factors of weight gain:
1.Lifestyle - gradual gain from food in excess with exercise deficit.
2.Metabolic - changes in metabolism, reduced physical activity, increased activity of fat storage mechanisms
3.Aging - slow progressive weight gain into sixth or seventh decade associated with decreased lean-body mass.
4.Food-Addiction Complex - compulsive eating is associated with symptoms and ill-health.
5.Emotional Eating - between lifestyle tendencies and the food-allergy complex lies a twilight zone of emotional instability, careless self indulgence and petulant child-like behavior.
These weight-gain factors are not mutually exclusive and tend to merge together as the years go by. Often a lifestyle pattern of weight gain will be associated with emotional eating, followed by increasing metabolic disturbances, food allergy, all aggravated by the effects of aging. The mid-thirties to early forties are the pivotal years when adaptation to dysfunctional habits runs out and health problems begin to multiply. If you have not changed your ways by the early fifties, you are heading for bigger trouble.
Lifestyle Weight Gain
Obesity is almost fashionable in some European countries and is common enough in the USA to be considered a standard feature of the lifestyle. The tendency in affluent countries is to overeat and drink, accepting both weight problems and disease as a consequence. Affluence, self-indulgence, sedentary occupations, and little physical exercise all combine to produce overweight people with heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Extra food may be ingested slowly and gradually. High-fat and high-sugar meals, alcoholic beverages, desserts, and snacks are often to blame. Weight is gained progressively often with brief interludes of weight loss on weight-reduction diets, followed by a resumption of steady gain.
Some children get fat right away. They may be genetically predisposed, but the main reason for childhood obesity is eating too much food. The overabundance of food and the tendency to eat high sugar-fat foods is a lifestyle problem. The majority of overweight children we see are also symptomatic and compulsive eaters. They manifest food allergy-addiction patterns. An overweight child usually becomes an overweight adult. Others make it through childhood with normal growth patterns, but gain as adolescents or young adults. An overweight patient in their 20's to early 30's will often claim they feel perfectly OK, but eat too much and exercise too little.
If you have a traditional eating pattern, food is important and meals are well-organized. You follow traditional cooking patterns, have three-square meals a day, and tend to socialize and reward with drinks, snacks and desserts. Your problem is that there is always too much food and often too little exercise. If you are interested in "gourmet" food preparation you may be paying the price of gustatory pleasure by compromising your health.
You are motivated by pleasure, convenience, social expectations, family traditions, and you may have a strong identification with the food you eat. You often talk about food, restaurants, and eating pleasures. You may drink too much. The prospect of diet revision is daunting because of the convenience of and sometimes substantial investment in your food preferences and habits. You may have even more resistance when you realize that we are talking about enduring changes in your eating behavior, not just a short-term weight-loss diet.
If you fall into the eclectic eating lifestyle, you tend to overindulge in food outside your own home and tend to eat snack or dessert foods when you are home. You may seldom cook proper meals at home. Instead you bring home prepared foods, or order from fast-food delivery services. Your home is stocked with snack foods. If you are single and working you may not have food preparation skills and dislike cooking at home. Your appetite regulation becomes disorganized. Addictive eating patterns increase. You experience strong cravings for high caloric foods. Excessive weight gain is a common consequence.
The weight management tasks for disorganized eaters are obviously different from their better organized neighbors. If you belong to the eclectic eaters group - organized or disorganized, your first task is to begin eating meals at home. You need to follow the medium to slow track of the Alpha Nutrition Program with a good support system. You have a lot to learn, but once you "get it" your life will vastly improve.
Dysfunctional eating patterns, especially compulsive eating, lead to the most serious obesity. The only way out is through an addiction-recovery process. the Alpha Nutrition Program works at the technical, biological level. If you clear on Alpha ENF, you will escape the addictive loops long enough to start reorganizing your life. You have to slowly re-educate yourself about food selection and eating. Weight loss is definitely secondary to the restoration of your health. In order to maintain control of your eating behaviors you must abstain from eating trigger foods - these usually are made from wheat, milk, sugar, and eggs.
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