A piece of advice that should be removed from the lexicon of the self-help world is, “just listen to your body.”
Body out of control
If your problem, like mine, is fighting personal obesity, and the chronic killer diseases that arise from it, your body is the last thing you want to listen to! It’s what I’ve done wrong for decades, and it’s the thing that put me in this situation in the first place!
I listened to my body when my taste buds were screaming for a hamburger, or a beer, or a pizza…omigod pizza! I listened to my body when I gave up on numerous efforts to correct bad habits, like smoking tobacco, taking sleep aids to get a good night’s sleep, and vegging out on the couch every evening instead of doing things around the house, like food prep and cooking.
The truth is, my body is what I made it — a very deceitful liar!
Way back when I was a child, some 50 years ago, my body had already begun its deceitful ways. By convincing me that sugary soft drinks would quench my thirst better than water, that my mom’s chocolate pie was better for my body than an apple or a handful of grapes, my body was in early training to become the liar that it is today!
I have heard dozens, if not hundreds, of people say that they gave up on healthy eating, usually specific diet plans, because their bodies were rejecting these plans by giving them headaches, a feeling of energy depletion, or some other variety of temporary discomfort.
Unhealthy food is an ADDICTION, pure and simple! And, these temporary conditions of discomfort are simply withdrawal symptoms that all addicts must go through in order to free themselves from the addiction’s chains.
Changing the paradigm
We need a different paradigm for dealing with our unhealthy habits. Instead of listening to our bodies, we need them to shut up, and we need to listen to the science of good nutrition, and by this, I mean honest nutrition! We need to know what’s really going on when we eat unhealthy foods.
What we find in nutritional resources is that when our bodies are calling strongly for something, chances are that it is a craving. It is no different from greed, lust, or any of the other biggies which want to seize control of our more sound and rational decision-making processes. They demoralize us, shame us, and harm us physically, shortening our lives and robbing us of the quality of life we want.
One of the hallmarks of Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live books and papers is what he calls “toxic hunger.” It’s what drives these unhealthy appetites and causes many of our problems associated with eating unhealthily. Addictions to food are dangerously real, and our bodies are great deceivers.
A new paradigm, when trying to relearn what to eat, is to be very suspicious of anything our bodies are telling us to do. Until we can identify the difference between a real need and a raging craving, we should depend on what our heads tell us rather than upon our stomachs. A new paradigm requires us to embrace discipline, not an easy out, or an alibi when things get tough.
Our bodies are what we make them. Responsibly managing our impulses and discomforts is the biggest, and most difficult, step in defeating a food addiction.