Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Perspective (contd.)

I think that obesity is a lot like alcoholism.  You can't tell an obese person what to eat any more than you can tell an alcoholic to stop drinking; at least not if you expect it to do any good.  There are differences, of course; obesity is more obvious and a lot harder to hide in most cases.  Most obese people look in the mirror every day and know that they're obese.  Some might think that they're just a little bit over weight the way most alcoholics tell themselves that they just drink a little.  But the similarity is in the fact that the first step in either case is for the obese person or alcoholic to admit that they have a problem before anything can be done to change.

In the case of the alcoholic they have to admit that they drink a lot more than a little but in the case of the obese person it's not so much about admitting that they're obese as it is about admitting that they're to blame.  An obese person has to accept that their problems with weight aren't genetic, situational, how they were raised, or some kind of uncontrollable medical condition.  An obese person has to accept that it was their actions, their choices, and their skewed perspectives that got them to where they are and it will be their actions and choices which will determine where they're going to be tomorrow.  An alcoholic can choose to stop drinking; he can avoid bars and other establishments where alcohol is served entirely if he so chooses.  An obese person can't stop eating and I think this is one reason why so many people have such a hard time with recovery.  It is a change in perspective that can only come from inside the heart and mind of the individual.  You can tell an obese person that their food choices are bad or their portions are too big until you're blue in the face but they won't ever listen; in most cases they won't even want to.

An obese person has to make the conscious decision to change their weight, at any cost, just like an alcoholic has to make the same decision to stop drinking.  I believe that for most people dealing with obesity the recognition of the harm that their food choices are doing to them and the shift in how they view, think about, and desire food has to come second if they're ever really going to "get it".  Everyone knows that candy bars and sweets are loaded with fat and sugar and yet some people choose to eat them anyway, on occasion, and without harm; while others choose to eat them in excess because they don't think life will be as good without them.  Food is just food.  It's a concept that no one could have ever taught me, we all know many of you have tried.  There was a change that happened in my head, it's still happening in fact, when it comes to how I view, think about, and crave food.  Many of you tried to tell me that this would happen if I would just give up the crap for awhile but recovering alcoholics have tried to tell their kind that it gets easier too and they realized a long time ago that it doesn't work.  An addict, whether it be a food addict or an alcoholic, has to experience the change before they can believe it exists.  The only way that you can experience the change in your perspective is to force a change in your actions and give it time to take affect.  It's like detoxing ... it sucks at first, it's painful, it's emotionally taxing and sometimes even exhausting - but until you actually do it you will never understand how liberating it is to be on the other side of the fight.

8 glasses of water
1 cup coffee w/creamer
1 rainbow roll (8 pcs)
1 california roll (6 pcs)
1 spring roll (2 pcs)
8 oz left over fried rice
Daily Caloric Intake: 1,117

Golf: Walked and played 18 holes!!! (6.5 miles: 13,121 steps)


  1. It is so true. It is also hard because it is something no one else can do for us. We can pay someone to do our hair or clean our house. We can get help with so many things but losing weight is something only we can do. We put the food in our mouths. We make the choice to sit around. An alcoholic can look like everyone else through the day. Our problem cannot be hidden. Maybe its a good thing we have to face it in a very real way. Perhaps that gets us to the point where we decide enough is enough a little faster. Good post.


    The mental "shift" that happens when you make a big life-change is a pretty kewl thing to experience; glad you can experience it in this facet of life.

    Also, you met another one of your goals and barely mentioned it -- so I just wanted to give you a big "CONGRATS!"

    Regarding the compounding power of time plus thought, don't know if I've ever mentioned it to you or not but "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen is an excellent (and *very* small) read. It's a little over 100 years old so, by "man" he means "humankind". It's worth having in your personal library, but if you can't afford it (or are unsure) it's in the open-domain and can be read free here:

    It has given me a lot of insight into how powerful it can be if we will merely change the way we think, and then give sufficient time for the changed-thoughts to materialize into changed-actions. Might provide you inspiration/motivation as it has me for almost 20 years.

    A few fabulous quotes of his that I borrowed from the book's wikipedia-entry:

    ~ Every action and feeling is preceded by a thought.

    ~ Right thinking begins with the words we say to ourselves.

    ~ Circumstance does not make the man, it reveals him to himself.

    ~ You cannot travel within and stand still without.

    ~ As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts, can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

  3. Brandon: Thanks for the congrats on the goal, it will be the topic of today's post (with pictures)! :)

    I've read As A Man Thinketh though it's been years. I think it was dad's copy that I read. Ironically enough, the concept that positive thought creates positive change was what inspired me to explore deeper into the same concepts shared by noetic science (though I didn't learn about noetic science as an institution until just a few years ago). That book made so much sense to me that I started to wonder what we could really do with our thoughts. I found the film "The Secret" to be quite similar (albeit a little bit infomercial-ish).

  4. It's ironic you posted this. I was going to post something very similar to this today on my blog. I am planning on writing about the choices any addict makes, and how health education in schools may, or may not, be beneficial to a child's health in the future. It's kinda like smoking, we all know it's bad and the damage it causes, but people do it anyhow. And the thing with food is that we have to have it.

  5. Erin: You're exactly right! Alcoholics and live without alcohol, drug addicts can learn to live without herion or cocaine (sp?) but food addicts can't ever choose to live without food. It's really no wonder that obesity is an issue. As a society we've completely lost knowledge of food, how it works, and what it does to our bodies. Food education in school would be huge if it were done well but it would probably take multiple generations to actually see the affects of it because most kids will probably eat whatever their parents are making for supper. I know smoking is bad for me and yet I smoke. When someone says "Smoking causes cancer" I reply with "no shit Sherlock" but when I was 11 years old snarfing down chicken nuggets, Mr. Good Bar's, and Coke-a-Cola did anyone (other than my much wiser brother) ever say "That's going to make you fat"? Nope. No one. Outside of very recent reality television has anyone ever heard of anyone actually holding a food-addict intervention? I doubt it. In my freshman health class we read about a study which suggests that certain types of fried/fatty foods produce chemical reactions in the brain that are extremely similar to those caused by heroine. We're not just fat, we're addicts but society treats us completely different. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig (etc.) are like Alcoholics Anonymous for fat people except that they make money from what they do. Our society needs to wake up and stop thinking that "fat" is an epidemic. It's not and us treating it like one is a big part of why attempts to "cure" it are failing. Sure we learned about the food pyramid in grade school but the education on it was mediocre at best and I don't remember anyone ever showing us pictures of obese people who literally can't walk anymore because their legs can't carry them, or mentioning the risks of heart attach, diabetes, and stroke. We heard plenty about cancer, drunk driving, and how meth would make all of our teeth fall out when I was a kid but seriously ... this is a major revelation that would probably help a LOT of people if it were more widely publicized.

    I for one can say that I've never done drugs and I attribute a huge portion of that success to all of the anti-drug programs and campaigns that were around when I was a kid. I really truly wonder if my life might have been different if there had been anti-obesity campaigns around then too.

  6. I dunno, I agree and disagree with different points on here. I used to say the same things, until someone pointed out the evolution of food science, modern agribusiness and addiction and how no one gets addicted to broccoli, or kale, or normal healthy food. We do need to keep eating, that much is true, but most of us know what foods are triggers and we can chose to use moderation or choose to abstain from those foods entirely.

    Then again, it can take time for some people to figure those things out, or that it's an issue at all (See the episode of heavy with the girl hiding the food?)

    Either way you cut it, it's not easy. That much is true.

  7. Yeah, I liked "The Secret" too, but ultimately was turned-off by the "we got something to pitch"-feel of it combined with certain statements I felt were a bit over the top. But the general-concept of habits follow actions, actions follow thoughts makes a lot of sense to me.

  8. Yeah that's the "infomercial-ish" vibe I was referring to with "The Secret" too. They never actually say "just three easy payments of $19.95" but the way it was presented at times made me really feel like the pitch was coming at any minute all the way through.