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 Weight Control  Infocenter


Food is a Four Letter Word
by Susan Dugdale.

Food is a four letter word. So is `life', `love' and `diet'. Scramble, stir and pour. What combination do you run? Food is life? Food is diet? Food is love? So you're a food is life person. Do you live to eat or eat to live? And what about the person for whom food is immediately associated with a diet? What lies behind this? Is it a life long struggle to keep hands out of the biscuit jar and the body clad in svelte size ten? If you love food, do you love it for itself, it's taste, texture, the socializing associated with sharing meals or the pleasure in preparing it for others?

Food and our attitudes to it are some of the most fundamental we have. They were laid down in our infancy, at a time when we were completely incapable of rational thought about them. Food just `was', if we were lucky and `wasn't' if we weren't. A baby will spit foods that don't taste right but in the end they will not starve themselves. They will be trained to eat what is provided. Somewhere they innately know `food' equals `life'. But things have changed. We're not children anymore. We're grown up. And if like me, you're of a `certain age' ,we're the baby boomers. Here we are full of contradictions. We want life but we want on our own terms. We want freedom , choice and health as well. A reworking of the foodie cliché, `we want the cake, and to eat too' is an apt summation. Sadly, it's not that easy.

Glance at any magazine rack and their covers shriek confusion over food. Slender Miss Moderately Famous beams her pleasure over discovering the delight to be found in a diet of bananas. She swears by it and swans around in a bikini to illustrate its efficacy. The side bar reads `Delicious Deserts' to wow your friends and `Cake for Comfort', recipes from those by gone days when cholesterol was king. Nobody demurred over `take six eggs ,beat well and add to creamed half pound of butter and sugar. And that's without the icing.

Pause for a moment now. How many so -called diets are you familiar with? How many people do you know are who flip-flopping their lives between, one diet, no diet and the next?

Atkins diet. Lots of protein. No carbohydrate. Very few vegetables. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and other systems. Branded, prepared foods, bought as part of the dietary regime. Fad diets: banana, grape fruit, juice, bread … Diet pills: `fat' burners plus.( Reading the possible side effects to these is scary, worse than a horror flick, as it's real people swallowing them.) Surgery? For some, the life long struggle to find equilibrium with food has got simply too much. A stomach stapling operation is the answer or maybe wiring the jaw, to limit the quantity of food that can be put in the mouth.

It's interesting to reflect that as the western world gets richer it also gets fatter. Diseases associated with weight and hence, food choice and intake, are reaching epidemic proportions. Equally ironic is that the population of Britain, during its war years (WW2) and beyond when food rationing was the norm, was at its healthiest. Wealth, it seems, does not equate with health.

So faced with a barrage of information and much of it, at least superficially contradictory, how does an ordinary baby boomer person begin to make sensible conscious choices around food?

To begin with, the entrée, is work out what your basic programming is. Were you taught to eat everything put in front of you, regardless of whether you actually wanted it or not? Clean plates meant you appreciated the care put into preparation or work done to buy it. In a family where love was shown through food, to not eat it, may have been unforgivable. Do you have the `sweet tooth'? This is often associated with treats, special events, being made to feel worthy. `You've been a very good girl, so here is an extra slice of cake for you.' Are you a bread and carbo-junky? The vegetables are for rabbits and I need filling up. I need solid food. Maybe the hollowness is something other than hunger?

After a thorough work out we may discover a whole lot more about ourselves and families that has very little to do with mamma's famous dumpling stew.

In my family, food was largely fuel. It was provided and as my mother wasn't such a great cook , it didn't achieve the status it had in other families I knew. Of course, as children we envied those other kids who had mothers who made superb cakes, deserts, and biscuits. Nevertheless, as an adult, I've not had to struggle around food in ways I've seen my friends do.

My husband, however, came from a `sweet tooth' background. He was one of those boys who stuffed himself on lollies, icecream, cake, biscuits, anything with sugar. When he hit that `certain age', this legacy began to catch or rather build up around his waist, thighs and hips. He stopped being Mr Lean and became Mr Cuddly. Needless to say, he didn't like it. Neither did he like, the diminution of energy he'd always had in boundless quantities. He didn't want to accept a middle aged lot of thickening body and lessening ability to use it as and when he wished. There began a quest to find what was right for him in terms of food. The sweet tooth and bread junkie within were finally addressed.

To cut a long story short, ( over a year's experimentation), we have found what works. It's a modified low-carb diet. We eat vegetables by the ton with protein. Carbohydrate figures once a day, in the evening meal. Gone are covert snack attacks and their tell tale litter of chocolate wrappers. He doesn't even miss them. What I've seen, is remarkable. The energy is back, the familiar body is back but more than this is the zest for life. This is baby booming at its best. May it be bountiful for you too.

Food is life. We love it.

See Also:

Atkins Diet

Ornish Diet

Pritikin™ Program

What's Wrong with Losing Weight?
Everyone wants to lose weight, but unfortunately, stepping on the scale doesn't tell the truth about what's wrong. This article spells it out while giving heaps of details for turning things around & leading the reader towards health & fitness.

Susan Dugdale is a freelance writer and co-worker for This Team Leads: a group of marketers dedicated to providing honest income opportunities and resources for `small budget/big dreaming' people. http://www.sss-ebooks.com/index.php?r=40

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