HEADS UP (since I originally posted): I don't know how long this entry will be up here... while I don't see anything in the content that violates Spark Rules of Conduct, a reader has taken offence (comments deleted... my blog, my perogative), and has apparently reported my blog entry as inappropriate.
I hope that anyone subsequently reading here will look at what I have to say as a whole, and in the context of my own journey: the fact that I myself continue to struggle to eliminate fat and reach goal weight (I have another 60 pounds to go), my belief that fat is a symptom not the problem (being fat has nothing to do with willpower), my underlying belief in Choice Theory (explained by the second link in the entry), and in light of everything I've blogged about for the last five years of my time here at SparkPeople.
Truly, no offence is intended... I've simply presented a point of view to ponder... and to explore questions and information with which I, too, continue to struggle. These are difficult concepts to try and 'discuss' within the confines of a blog entry, and I would be the first to acknowledge that the following is an over-simplification of a very complex issue. I am examining only one very specific aspect as it relates to my own experience.
I would hope there is always room for respectful discussion (and disagreement) as we all continue down our individual paths toward success.
Thanks for reading!
The above link was shared on one of my team threads, and I decided to share likewise.
I think it's important to ackowledge outright that, while I strongly believe in the brain-body biofeedback loop, I don't generally ascribe to widely applied 'addiction' models. However, this document has a lot of valuable information in it, despite that it inadvertantly supports the (IMO flawed) message that one can be 'helpless' in the face of food.
(Honestly, I don't believe myself - or YOU - to be 'helpless' in the face of much... especially in the face of food.)
I believe that cravings and a disordered relationship with food (to which many, many people discover an immediate end once they begin to follow an Ancestral nutritional model), excess body fat, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain mood disorders, and autoimmune issues/disease begin with and are signs that a body is seriously metabolically/hormonally compromised, and *literally* STARVING at a nutritional level... NOT 'addicted'. I also believe that there *IS* bad, sub-optimal, unhealthy, nutritionally bankrupt 'food' and eating it will exacerbate any pre-disposition to any of the above and may, in fact, cause them.
Subsequently, unless underlying nutritional deficits are addressed, 'addicted' is actually misleading, unfair and too simplistic. A 'label' of 'addiction' sets a person up to fail and feel unnecessarily helpless despite sincere effort to otherwise overcome because the body WILL independently drive you get what it sincerely needs because you are *starving at a nutritional level*... unfortunately the body alone is just not very selective, or smart about it because of the survival mechanisms hard-wired into our psyche (it will seek out the shortest distance to resolving its dis-ease). The label of 'addiction' also leaves a person looking in the wrong (IMO) direction for a solution. Until and unless you trust your body's 'voice', you can never fully resolve the dis-ease. At this point you will be amazed at just how very ingenious your body really is... and how very clearly it can speak.
In terms of a very simplistic example, and something to ponder with respect to an overall addictions model: alcohol is a pure (though poor and misguided) energy source for the body (this is why alcohol is not recommended while trying to eliminate fat: the body will burn alcohol first, sugar/carbs next and then stored fat). It is no coincidence that recovering alcoholics - individuals who have chosen alcoholic behaviours (self-medicating with alcohol) and who subsequently damage their metabolic processes - often crave sugar, another quick acting (though poor and misguided) energy source for the body. Aside from the behavioural aspects, 'recovery' at a purely physiological level can be viewed very simplistically as the body needing time to re-convert from burning immediately available (cheap) fuel, to once again learning how to burn *QUALITY* fuel effectively and efficiently. Recovering from poor quality nutrition is a similar process. When a body is metabolically/hormonally compromised it has, to varying degrees, 'forgotten' how to use fat as fuel - that's why it stores it instead. A metabolically/hormonally compromised body is also 'lazy' and will drive you to seek out easy and familiar fuel sources (cravings).
The document's strength, is that it comes to truly useful conclusions, and offers concrete suggestions to solve what is, in my opinion, the REAL 'problem'... not food 'addiction' but a 'lazy' metabolically/hormonally compromised body by balancing hormones, healing the metabolism and re-teaching it to burn quality fuel.
Where an 'addiction' model becomes somewhat useful is that in order to significantly impact one's biochemistry, one must more effectively, responsibly and mindfully exercise one's available choices for fuel. I do realize that biochemistry cannot always be completely restored, and therefore certain foods may remain a 'trigger' for the rest of one's life.
So, I suppose the extent to which you remain physiologically compromised (broken), you can consider yourself 'addicted'.... however, our bodies are extremely gifted in their ability to heal... this document is one of the best I've seen with respect to making the link between behaviour and biology, and offers a really clear path to healing, if you're interested.
In some instances (fewer than we think, IMO) - once the physiological/nutritional issues have been adequately addressed and what/how one eats is no longer contributing to the problem, when one is choosing to eat, instead of dealing directly with feelings and problems not at all related to nutrition and food, then that's a behavioural/psychological issue that needs to be addressed seperate from the root cause... but one is still not 'addicted', because all behaviour can be changed... it's 'habit' not 'addiction' (all behaviour is purposeful - the only way to change a habit is to replace it with a better one). Here is where SPARKpeople is incredibly effective... where modification in behaviour is necessary, SPARKpeople leads the pack.
However, on the flip side, it's also to be noted that one can live an exemplary health-based lifestyle (according to conventional wisdom) and still end up fat and sick (a great number of us are here at SPARKpeople, too). Here's where the document to which I've linked above really shines.
To explain in simpler terms:
The Definitive Guide to Conventional Wisdom
Is Conventional Wisdom Set in Stone?
Is the Stone Beginning to Crack?
Conventional Wisdom Laid Waste
I look forward to hearing what you think! ...And, if you feel so inclined, pass the link to 'Vicious Eating' along!
P.S. Street drugs/pharmaceutical abuse are a whole different ball game because they act DIRECTLY on the brain in a way other substances do not... creating a mental illusion and physiological response that is completely divorced from any natural biological processes in the body. Here is where the concept of 'addiction' bears great weight. This is also what makes 'drugs' so dangerous... they completely short-circuit the biofeedback process because they offer no value to the body.
In a similar way, some so called 'addictive' foods are similarily disruptive. There are chemicals added to PROCESSED foods (not unlike street drugs) that impact directly and swiftly upon hormones and other metabolic processes, causing a similar chain reaction to that of street drugs. Yet, they aren't so much 'addictive' (if you'd never eaten them you would never 'crave' them) as they are immediately disruptive to the metabolic processes that keep our bodies functioning in a balanced and redeeming way... hence the immediate drive to eat/want more.
...and if all of this weren't enough (and just in case anyone still may think my blog entry is about judgement), I found this today... It makes me so sad that this article even needed to be written, and I applaud the writer for doing so in such a dignified and poignant way:
"The implication that “fat” is a problem easily solved through the application of willpower is laughable to me, though, and that’s the biggest part of what I find objectionable in that tweet. It takes a partial truth (we do have some control over our body’s health) and twists it to rationalize a prejudice that itself works against that truth through shame. And that’s pretty evil."
Is obesity really a disease?
Is Obesity a Disease?
Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?
(quote by CHRISTINE MASON MILLER)
...Because REDEMPTION is there for the taking!
So, JUST DO IT.
UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures SEPTEMBER 2013!
(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror... and I update whenever I feel the need - likely early September, 2013... to either see for myself what feel like significant changes, or to encourage myself to keep the faith when I feel no change at all despite my efforts)
Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!
(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)
I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
DONE Girl Love...
(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)
Leaving NORMAL... In Pursuit of Happiness
Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga
Words CAN Be Enough... page 3
Paleo... Do you really know what you're talking about?
Breakfast is Served! (RECIPES)