A Brief Rant on Mood, Food and Attitudes

 

A Brief Rant on Mood, Food and Attitudes

…the direct medical cost of overweight and obesity combined is approximately 5% to 10% of U.S. health care spending.National Institutes of Health

Houston, we have a problem.

These words couldn’t be truer if you look at the dysfunctional romance we’ve developed with food. We are literally eating ourselves to death.

I write “We” because we’re all responsible for changing this, if we desire. This especially includes me as I struggle too with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and food plan.

But I’ll warn you, if you really desire to change this, you and I both will be going upstream and against the grain of many deeply seated food-oriented traditions.

Our sociocultural norms have made fast food, junk food and over-processed food the mainstays of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). It is ironic that the acronym is SAD.

Just watch the TV commercials that bombard us with happy messages about eating unhealthy food. And top that with magazine and newspaper ads that do the same. Do the people who make those ads care about your health and wellbeing?

But why? Why are so many people unconsciously eating themselves to excessive illness and an inevitable early and probably painful death?

My answer: We’ve become victims of a mass hypnotic trance. The people in the world of advertising and marketing know more about psychological influence and persuasion techniques than most psychologists, and certainly much more than the everyday person. And the food they advertise is packed full of excess salt and sugar, perhaps the two most highly addictive substances.

And these two addictive substances are not only socially acceptable, their overuse is socially encouraged.

But there’s more than just being victims of a mesmerizing milieu. Yes, we are powerless over what the world of advertising chooses to do, but we do have choices as to how we cope with life.

People don’t overeat or make poor nutritional decisions because they want to get sick or die young. People make these decisions, often unconsciously, because they don’t know how or are unaware of how to make healthier choices.

I know that may sound ridiculous, but think about it:

Why would anyone choose to deliberately get sick, inflict pain on the themselves or die young?

This pattern of “sick eating” usually starts early on in life. Sometimes parents discover very early that if an unhappy child is given food, it usually improves their mood.

The child, therefore, gets conditioned that food helps them avoid bad feelings.

Then, it doesn’t take long for the child to get acclimated to the mainstream of our current S.A.D. From there, the child follows their primary role models and their friends, and their dietary patterns are normalized even though they are likely to be very unhealthy.

We have to change our whole attitude about food and eating. We have to acknowledge that food, especially salty and sugary food, is addictive and this addiction is probably the most predominant in the U.S.

But we must also realize that people turn to food, just like they turn to drugs and alcohol, to self-medicate their emotional states. The problem is that this emotional escape is short-lived and must be rapidly repeated to sustain its “numbing out” effect.

Food is like a drug and when administered properly it can create an amazingly healthy, happy and long life.

However, too many people are misusing and abusing this drug.

We’re eating ourselves to death and being encouraged to do so. It may be easy to say that if someone wants to overeat and create illness from overeating then that’s just their problem. But since 5-10% of our healthcare budget is going to pay for the consequences of all this overeating, shouldn’t we all want to do something about it?

I know I do. Do you?

Start today not by going on a diet, but rather, learning to better identify, cope with and express your feelings. Really, it’s just that simple, and just that challenging.

And next time you feel really passionate about something, instead of reaching for those Doritos, grab a pen and write your own rant. You’ll feel better.

Have no fear; start your new life here: Marry YourSelf First!

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