"The End Of Overeating" is one of those rare books that comes along with such a direct and accurate message that it should be listed among every person's "must read" category. It doesn't matter if you are in that group needing to lose weight or not. The true message in this book is the level of manipulation the food industry uses to direct one of our most basic needs.
We all need to eat to survive. Because of this, major food processing companies and restaurants have utilized the science of brain activity and sensory cues to create layered and loaded foods that addict many people to a "cue-urge-reward-habit cycle."
Dr. David Kessler is the author of "The End Of Overeating." In his book he was able to get some fascinating information from industry insiders on the methods used to addict many of us to foods high in unhealthy fat, excess sugar and too much salt.
He provides details on methods of presentation and portion sizing that stimulates the reward part of our brains to link these "hyper-palatable" foods with temporary satisfaction so we can be brought back again and again. The restaurant atmosphere, the activity, the aroma and of course the taste provided by the extra fat and sugar send off multiple cues within our brains. In many people, these cues are so strong that they override the message from the "executive thinking" part of the brain.
This part is telling us that we are eating way too much. But just as smokers know cigarettes are "cancer sticks," they are still pulled to the counter to buy the pack. In fact much of the same methodology used to addict our nation to nicotine is in play with food preparation.
Millions of dollars are spent every year on weight loss programs that have little chance of lasting success. Nearly all of those diet programs are technically correct. The theory is dead on the mark. But if they don't tell you why you are driven to follow the cue-urge-reward-habit pattern, you'll never be able to break the cycle.
In the page about why you can't stop overeating we discussed some of the methods used by the food industry to addict so many people to heart damaging menus. Dr. Kessler's book is very detailed in the science behind this process. You may have some trouble getting through parts of it. But keep in mind how it will help you when you understand what is happening.
It would be easy to put the book down in the middle of the technical stuff, but again that is part of the habit pattern. Distraction leading to apathy is big reason for our national health challenges and our rampant debt battles. I include myself in this group.
It is easier to walk away from the truth, grab a bag of chips and sit down in front of the television. It is more fun to drive to one of the chain restaurants, soak up some warm chips and salsa or maybe some breaded mushrooms and then a double cheeseburger loaded with bacon and an endless supply of salty fries.
After all, "We deserve it. It was a tough day at work. We need a break. We'll face the challenges tomorrow. It's just not meant to be. Eating makes me feel better. It takes my mind off my problems." Any excuse will work.
Cue-urge-reward-habit. Our words become actions. What we tell ourselves often becomes our reality. The food industry knows this, so they constantly remind us that we do deserve it. It will make us feel better. And we can face the challenges tomorrow. Come on back and soak up more of these unhealthy fats, sugar and salt.
We have an ongoing debate about Obamacare. Will it work? Will it cost more? Who will pay for it? What about those who lose jobs because small companies cannot afford the premiums?
I can't begin to answer those questions. The authors of the legislation cannot answer them. But I can give you some advice about how to limit some of the exposure to heart health issues. In the page about how to stop overeating, which is page two of this series, we give you simple steps from Dr. Kessler that will break that cue-urge-reward-habit trap.
In "The End Of Overeating", he gives us some plans and action steps to remove the dangerous loads of layered food that help to clog our arteries. Anyone can do them. Many will not. You get to decide where you fall in the discussion.
I would add in here that this isn't just a problem for those who fall into the obese category. "The End Of Overeating" has a strong message for those who may actually be at their proper weight.
There are many people who have made many of the correct steps, but they haven't really gotten past those sensory cues. They are able to fight them off, but it is still a huge effort to win that battle.
It hasn't become an automatic reaction yet. The stress is still there. Most of the end of overeating message has sunk in, but the lure of the aroma, the plate arrangement and in many cases, the convenience is still there, deep in the background.
Dr. Kessler's great book will provide the framework to get you past those stress points. I am an example of someone in this category. I could walk past the temptations, but for a long time it was a real effort.
After reading this addition to the of list of classic books, I understand what mind influencing is in play and I know how to move past it because I now know why to move past it. I can see the results of good decisions in advance of that decision.
To really break this addiction hold, it will take a national effort much like it took to cut into big tobacco's cycle of death. We need to get better education into the school cafeterias. The addiction plan begins early. Listing pizza as a vegetable and then offering it every day is making every one of us an accomplice in the cycle of unhealthy eating. It is conditioning the next generation to take our place at that table of excess.
There will be places available because many of us will die from the number one killer in America. Our bad diets will make us yet another statistic.
The perception must change. We must recognize the dangerous influence of hyper-palatable foods. We have to know that the rewards of overindulgence are short lived, but the effects are long lasting. Well maybe not too long lasting. Heart attacks can end the effects quickly. And permanently.
If you can make that perception shift to recognize food as a means to sustain and not reward, you will be able to break the pattern. You will be able to protect your cardiovascular system and even repair damage already done.
The food industry used precise methods to get us addicted to high levels of unhealthy fat, sugar, and salty foods. As you gain an understanding of this process and recognize how to combat it, you will be able to beat it.
We don't have cures for some of the most ravaging, painful diseases in our world. The money available should be spent on finding cures for those conditions and treating the victims. We can all help that process and help the next generation by following the advice presented in Dr. Kessler's book, "The End Of Overeating." We know how to avoid or reverse the causes of many cardiovascular system diseases.
From this one book you will know why overeating is so easy. You will know why willpower is so hard. You will also know how to combat the strategy used to get you hooked on unhealthy food. And you will learn how to eat food you like, in portions that will sustain, but not overload.
As we've said before, use the direction given on every airline in the world. "In the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first, then assist the person next to you." In this case, get yourself in the right place to break the cue-urge-reward-habit cycle, then pass it along.
Demand more of government lunch programs. Demand better nutritional items on the menu. Processed foods are just paving the way for super-sized nachos and twenty piece wing baskets. And hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease. We've already seen the story of lung cancer from cigarettes.
We can change the end of the food indulgence story. "The End Of Overeating" is a book to be put on that must read list. Then give your kids Dr. Kessler's more recent book, "Your Food Is Fooling You: How Your Brain Is Hijacked By Sugar, Fat And Salt." This edition is written especially for teens.
Lets give them the chance to be the generation that solves some big challenges.