No, not my age, but how many pounds I’ve lost since July 18, 2011!
What a thrill! I opened a box of tee shirts that had been too small for me and they fit perfectly. I have a closet full of clothes that I could not wear before and some of it I still can’t, but I am on my way, right on target, right according to plan. The Weight Agency Method is right on, suppressing my appetite so that I occasionally eat less than 1000 calories in a day and have to consciously make myself eat more. When is the last time that YOU ate too little and had to make yourself eat more to be healthy?
As reported in the above book, on how addictive refined carbohydrates can be, this data from the University of California, and the links on the right side of that page show, sugar is very addictive and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is one of the worst! According to Wikipedia, “In the U.S., HFCS is among the sweeteners that have primarily replaced sucrose (table sugar) in the food industry. Factors for this include governmental production quotas of domestic sugar, subsidies of U.S. corn, and an import tariff on foreign sugar; all of which combine to raise the price of sucrose to levels above those of the rest of the world, making HFCS less costly for many sweetener applications. Critics of the extensive use of HFCS in food sweetening argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions, and that in some foods HFCS may be a source of mercury, a known neurotoxin.”
According to a 2008 CBS News article, “Critics say it contributes to weight gain and tricks your body into wanting to eat more. And a lot of health-conscious people think it’s a toxic chemical concoction that can’t be good for you.” Could this be behind the obesity epidemic we keep reading about and seeing? It is exactly what I have discovered with my research and observations, not to mention my own appetite. How HFCS and other refined carbohydrates make one eat more was reported in Michel Montignac’s Dine Out and Lose Weight, back in the 80’s. Montignac pointed out that these foods spike the blood sugar, cause a spike in insulin, which later causes a steep drop in blood sugar, making one hungry again. But, it is not ordinary “hunger”, but one that begins as hunger and soon develops into a severe craving that makes one feel “starved”. Ironically, this is ultimately the same mechanism behind alcoholism, smoking cigarettes, using heroin, and being addicted to other substances. When people succumb to their addictions, a neurotransmitter is released in the brain’s reward system, reinforcing the behavior. Same with refined carbohydrates and especially so with HFCS, which is akin to crack cocaine compared with ordinary cocaine– it provides an even quicker rush and thereby hooks the user more deeply.
Where does hunger end and craving begin? I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you the difference. When I was addicted to these refined carbohydrates, I would get hungry same as anyone. BUT, eating an apple or carrots would do nothing for my appetite and I knew that. I wanted stick-to-your-ribs kind of food that contained these refined carbohydrates. I didn’t realize that it was addiction, I thought it was hunger. And “hungry” I would be. If I didn’t eat within an hour of the onset of hunger, I was “starved”. I wanted bread, pastry, sweets, cheeseburgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, milkshakes, ice cream, etc. Yummm! <shudder> Now, once craving ended and normal eating habits were restored, I get hungry same as before. But, the big differences are that an apple or carrots indeed satisfy my appetite which, if left unsatisfied, would increase, but not like before. Now, an hour or two after the onset of hunger, I would be hungrier, not starved! And if 3 or 4 ours went by without me eating, I would be still hungrier, but not “starving” and uncomfortable as I was before. This means that I no longer overeat but can enjoy my 1200 calories/day (the minimum healthy sustainable amount for me) and be satisfied. Before, I could eat that much as an appetizer. Yes, I wanted fries with that, too…. No more!
Does that mean I have lost my taste for sweets, for cheeseburgers, for pizza? Hell no! But, I know what eating those does for me and I keep it to a minimum. I have found that I can do this ONCE in a week, no more, with comparative impunity. My ravenous appetite is not rekindled and life goes on. But, should I try it twice, the re-addiction occurs and I again crave these refined-carb snacks. “Just a couple of chips”, or “OK, I’ll have small fries with that”, or “Well, today is a special occasion so I will have dessert”, and countless other excuses to go back to my old eating patterns which will definitely result in my satiety going from 1200 calories/day to 3000/day to feel satisfied, with the resultant gain of 2-4 lbs/month. No thanks!
Just as an alcoholic knows not to have even one drink, or a former smoker knows not to have even a single puff of a cigarette, I know that having anything with sugar, flour, starch risks going down this slippery slope or having to endure the ravenous hunger again until I break the cycle. It’s easier for me to just avoid the stuff in the first place. I hope that you, too, can break the cycle and begin eating for health, not feeding an addiction.