Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not My Favorite Subject

I have been putting off writing this post for some time.  It's hard, you see, to write about eating habits and the effects of them when I have such a problem with them myself.  I am a carbohydrate craver.  I love em, and every time I eat them I want more.  So I have a love/hate relationship with food.  Can any of you relate?  Ice cream and macaroni and cheese are my comfort foods.  Chocolate pudding with a healthy (read large) serving of vanilla ice cream in the center of it can make everything alright.  Well, at least for a few minutes.  After that the realization of my chronic failure in self control kicks in and I start 'kicking' myself emotionally.  I suspect that this issue haunts many more of us than we could ever imagine.  It ruins health, robs us of energy and destroys our self-esteem.  Yet, as I look around at people in general, I see that the majority of us are in the overweight category.  How can this be?!

My feelings for some time is that there is something in our food,  (notice I didn't say something in our diet), that is exacerbating this problem.  And we are now finding out that high-fructose-corn-syrup is almost certainly a contributing factor.  Dr. Robert Lustig has studied the effects of this food additive on his patients and explains how it affects the human body in the link above.  I think the food industry will do just about anything to make a buck and since sick people are big money in many different ways, no one cares to challenge them.  So we just blame the victim, in this case the fatty. 

Now, I'm not saying that overweight people are not to blame.  We do have to take a lion's share of the responsibility for the shape we are in.  However, the wealth of conflicting information does not make this an easy task for the majority of us.  Just google HFCS or any diet information and you will get several hundred pages of info that will support just about any viewpoint you choose to take on the subject.  No wonder many of us throw up our hands in defeat and carry on trying to enjoy life as much as we can in whatever state of health and fitness we find ourselves.

The answer?   I wish I had one.  My best advice is this.  Do your homework on how different foods affect the body.  This is especially important if you have a metabolic problem like diabetes or insulin resistance.  If you are over 40, try to understand how your hormones are working, or not working in many instances.  If possible, find a doctor who will take the time to help you learn about your hormone levels and assist you with optimization of your existing hormones and possibly discuss hormone replacement with you.  As a side note here, I believe that synthetic hormones carry much more risk than bio-identical hormones.  Learn as much as you can about both before agreeing to replacement therapy.  Try to eat the best food you can afford including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Stay away from concentrated carbs as much as possible.  Concentrated, meaning sweets and pasta, breads and pastries.  And drink plenty of good, clean water.

Do I do all this?  Not nearly enough.  I tend to do well for days and sometimes weeks, then fall off the wagon and binge on something totally bad for me, like ice cream.  I drink way too many diet soda's and not enough water.  I don't workout nearly often enough.  And I don't do hormone replacement therapy.    But I do keep trying.  I hope that counts for something.  Without that, I'm sure I would be pushing 300 pounds.  So I'll just keep on doing what I am doing and hope that at some point my cravings will disappear and my energy level will increase to the point that workouts will be fun instead of a drag.  In the meantime, will someone please tell the food industry to stop trying to kill us and instead, try to help us become healthier?!

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