Have you ever watched a reality TV program called “My 600-pound Life“? Morbidly obese people travel to Houston, Texas in hopes of getting weight-loss surgery. There are extensive personal interviews as we follow these people on their weight-loss journey before and after their surgery.
They talk about what food means to them, about how eating makes them happy and hunger is never satisfied. Their every waking moment is consumed with their desire for food and they only feel complete when they are eating. Yet, at the same time, they hate their lives and their bodies.
Food becomes their addiction and obsession, longing for the comfort only food can bring. Just as strong as the desire for food are their feelings of shame, self-loathing, disappointment, hopelessness, and frustration over their lack of self-control.
Whenever I watch this program, I cry inside for those frustrated, pitiful, unhappy people. I understand the yearning for change and the shame and disappointment that comes after the eating. Fortunately, I do not weigh 600 pounds, but the struggle of seeking comfort in food is very real for me, too.
Food Addiction is Real
Food addiction is real. There is scientific proof that sugar and refined flour affect brain chemistry and trigger the pleasure response in the brain. Craving for these foods is a physical response, not lack of will power or self-control. The food industry has created an obesity crisis due to the way foods are processed to appeal to our natural affinity toward sugar, fats, salt, and simple carbohydrates.
If weight-loss surgery is going to be effective, it must be paired with intensive professional counselling and education regarding the connection of sugar and refined carbohydrates to chemistry of the brain. When food addiction is coupled with unresolved emotional issues and past traumas, the result can be the tragedy of extreme obesity
No Easy Answers
What really saddens me about this program is the people put ALL their hopes for achieving a normal weight and a normal life in getting weight-loss surgery. They see weight-loss surgery as their only solution.
The irony of that belief is that before they can have the surgery, the doctor REQUIRES them to stick to a low-calorie diet that eliminates sugar and refined carbohydrates. They are expected to exercise and to lose a specific number of pounds before they can have the surgery. This diet is actually helping them to kick the physical effects of food addiction, but the connection of food and addiction is never explained to them.
Weight-Loss Surgery Solution?
How strange when the Holy Grail of the surgery is held before them they are able to accomplish the super-human effort to control their eating and lose weight when they have never been able before. When they stick to the diet, they lose the required weight to have their surgery, yet most of them fail to continue weight loss after their surgery.
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
I wondered why this might be. I think there is another aspect to their total reliance on weight-loss surgery. I think these individuals put their trust and belief in something outside of themselves because they have never been able to believe in themselves or their worth. They are extrinsically motivated.
When someone is extrinsically motivated, they constantly seek outside of themselves for solutions and motivation. All joy, praise, accomplishment, acceptance, happiness, and love can only come from forces outside of themselves. There is also the belief that all things that happen are due to events or actions outside of themselves and out of their control.
Food is such a comfort because it brings the outside in. Since they are extrinsically motivated, they believe that only weight-loss surgery will be the answer to control their eating. They truly expect that once they have the surgery, the food cravings and the need for comfort in food will disappear. The real tragedy of this program is that weight-loss surgery is not the answer and rarely helps these people succeed.
Self-Acceptance & Self-Motivation
I think we all start out in life being extrinsically motivated and as we live we learn how to become intrinsically motivated. I think one of the goals of life is to learn to find ourselves and learn to love, forgive and act from a place of self-love and self-motivation. Self-love is not selfishness. I think it is a state of peace with one’s self, acceptance of the situations of living, and the realization that we create our circumstances by the choices we make.
If you are struggling with food addiction, it is important to break the addiction cycle by eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet. This requires a change in lifestyle, similar to programs like Bright Line Eating and the Mediterranean diet. Both of which are based on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, and minimal to no animal products.
Sticking to a new lifestyle of eating can be challenging, which is why Modere developed the M3 weight loss system of innovative products formulated to work synergistically along with your change in lifestyle eating to help shed pounds safely. Click here to learn more about the M3 system and their other weight management products.