I hope you had a magnificent weekend. It’s late Sunday night and I’m sitting in bed reading one of my favorite new books – The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, by David Kessler, MD. Dr. Kessler is the former FDA commissioner under presidents Bush and Clinton, and he has written a groundbreaking new book that will change the way you look at food – forever.
Dr. Kessler opens the discussion with a simple review of the wellness crisis we are facing today. Fully two-thirds of Americans are overweight and an estimated five million women and three million men are dealing with binge eating (Bulik). Another eleven million Americans are struggling with bulimia (bingeing followed by purge-type behaviors) or anorexia (willful self-starvation).
Dr. Kessler goes on to paint a portrait of our collective “insatiable American appetite” by using an all-too common scenario. Let’s say, he tells us, that you start your day out planning to be “good”, but before you know it the lure of the coffee cake at the office or the trail mix left on the counter hooks you and reels you in – again. Even though you know you aren’t hungry, even as you struggle and rage against the siren song of the snack machine, you can’t seem to simply say no to the “bad” foods that lower your self-esteem even as they expand your waistline.
With this scenario clear in our heads, he presents us with the twin million-dollar questions:
Why, when you aren’t hungry, do you still continue to reach for food?
And, if it is not you, then who is to blame?
Dr. Kessler’s answer to these two questions is simple, profound, and shocking.
Food Industry + Advertising Industry = A Nation of Overeaters
For instance, did you know that when we regularly consume foods that contain high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, that it is not just our bodies that are affected by our choices? Our minds are affected too. Dr. Kessler calls this “conditioned hypereating”, a term that refers to the crave reflex that is set up in our brains when they are repeatedly exposed to nutrient sources that are nutritionally imbalanced.
To put it more simply – when we regularly consume foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, the reward center in our brain is stimulated to crave more foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, even though more of those elements are not what our body really needs.
If you watched the movie Supersize Me, you have seen a real-life example of the frightening scenario Dr. Kessler paints when he tells us in no uncertain terms that the food industry is aware of how foods high in the “deadly trio” affect our brains and bodies. Dr. Kessler wants one thing to be crystal clear – that the marketing of processed foods to Americans who are already struggling with overeating, weight, and portion size is a deliberate, money-making venture.
The End of Overeating explains in exacting detail how industry’s “food architects” purposefully create processed foods with high levels of sugar, fat, and salt to make these foods “compelling and irresistible” to our bodies and brains. In his book and his work, Dr. Kessler is on a mission to empower us with the knowledge to break free from what he calls the “cycle of desire and consumption that ends with a nation of overeaters.”
Kessler states that the nation’s weight problem is all the evidence we need to prove that we have gotten a lot of bad advice from a lot of questionable and sometimes downright unethical sources. Each day, new diets are being created and marketed as weight-loss sure-cures. Although some diets help people to lose weight in the short-term, 95% of all dieters will gain all the lost weight back and more within five years. The evidence speaks for itself – diets don’t work. And since the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”, Dr. Kessler is ready with a different approach to achieving daily, healthful food intake that produces healthy results.
In The End of Overeating, Dr. Kessler states that “restoring control over eating requires us to take a comprehensive approach, one that has many interlocking steps. To gain the upper hand, we need strategies that address the multiple behavioral, cognitive, and nutritional elements” of overeating.
As I finish the final pages of Dr. Kessler’s masterpiece, I am excited to share with you all that at Southlake Center, that is exactly what we do! If you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in your body and mind, then we are here to help. We know what it feels like to feel powerless in the face of food cravings. We understand the emotional devastation that occurs when you try and try to “eat healthy”, only to fail and fail again. At Southlake we believe the “Mind, Body, Spirit” approach to weight loss is the only way to enjoy lasting success. That is, when we change how we feel about ourselves, how we think about ourselves, how we nourish ourselves and how we care for ourselves, in all ways, then we can expect to have a healthy relationship with food and with our bodies… and lose weight.
We want you to know that help is available, and that you CAN get better.
The Southlake Center Nutrition and Wellness Program is comprehensive, grounded in scientific research, and supported by real-world clinical experience. Our experienced, highly trained, and compassionate professionals will help you implement your unique and individualized plan to restore health and wellness in body, mind, and spirit. You will have the support of your Southlake Center therapist, registered dietitian, and personal trainer as you take daily, visible steps toward saying no to food cravings and yes to all that healthy living has to offer you.
So I hope you’ll join the new revolution in weight loss. Also be sure to ask about our newest ten-week group intensive program, “Weight A Second” starting in January 2010. Preliminary research has shown that fully 89% of participants who completed this Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)-based program were abstinent from binge eating by the end of the group treatment – compared with just 12% of participants from the control group!
Call us at 704-896-7776 to get on the waiting list for this phenomenal group program which launches in January 2010. Join us in January. You’ll be glad you did!!