So I had a getaway weekend with friends a little while back and we had no shortage of junk food around. So I decided I was going to have a few nacho chips and a few other things. I normally try to refrain from junk food just because I feel so bad after eating it that it is simply not worth it, but it’s only one weekend and I will “eat in moderation”, right?
So one nacho turned into another and another until half of the “family size” bag was almost gone, this led to a 3 day binge of eating very poorly, nachos to Chinese food to more chips and junk and finally donuts. My stomach was ready to pop and I had muscle weakness, so much so that I couldn't walk a flight of stairs without stopping at least once, I described it as feeling like I had poison in my veins. Not able to physically shove another bite into my mouth but yet, I was still hungry and couldn't stop eating!
So the question dawned on me, what is moderation, everyone’s idea of this concept are very different. Someone that normally eats a whole bag of chips may say that eating half a bag instead is moderation and therefore it’s OK.
As I was on day 3 of my feeding frenzy, it also occurred to me that some foods are impossible to eat in moderation. Not many people can sit down and eat 3 chips and then put the bag away and stop thinking of them, (they call your name I swear) but if you are snacking on broccoli or even eating a steak, usually it’s easier to stop eating, at least for me anyway. (I guess some things can be eaten in moderation)
So the foods that we are “supposed” to moderate are manufactured with this very concept in mind. Food companies actually create products with the perfect combination of fat, salt and sugar that is designed to stimulate the pleasure centers in our brain much like street drugs would, causing an addictive type behavior that tells your brain you need more. The body responds by raising sugar levels rapidly and then ultimately crashing leaving you starving an hour later even though you just consumed 1000 calories in the last sitting.
Eventually you get to the point that your body is begging you to stop because your stomach has no more room and you feel terrible but your brain is saying I need more, I am still hungry! How can this be? It it’s a viscous cycle.
We then begin to internalize our “failures” and ask, why don’t have the will power to stop eating like this, when it really isn’t entirely fault. It is a chemical reaction that is keeping us addicted to these types of foods.
So what can we do about it? Well we have 2 choices, being armed with this information and the information our bodies are giving us, we could choose to continue to overindulge on a regular basis and keep the cycle going or we can break the cycle by stopping the insanity.
So how do you stop this insanity? Finally after 3 days of rapidly deteriorating, I had to say enough is enough, I have to get myself back to normal, I feel terrible! Then I thought to myself, it has only been 3 days, what about the people that have been stuck in this cycle for years, they probably don’t even know they feel bad.
Sometimes you really don’t know how bad you feel until you take some of these addictive processed foods out of your diet. Once you do, you may feel worse initially because you are essentially detoxing from these addictive foods. After a few days, you should begin to think a little clearer, have more energy, lose the cravings and see some stabilization in your blood sugars.
So if you feel like you have been “eating in moderation” and you are stuck in this cycle, you have to make a choice, are you sick of feeling the way you do? Then only you can make the decision to stop. If you choose to continue eating the foods that are making you hungry and sick, then at least you know what is going to happen and that gives you a little more control over the situation. Hopefully those times will get less frequent because you will determine it is not even worth it.
The point is, we all have these daily struggles, and how you choose to handle them is up to you!