You have no self-control and you’re too lazy to do anything about it. Are you trying to quit, but find it too addictive? Well, clearly you aren’t trying hard enough.
Would you ever say that to someone with a drug addiction? How about to someone who overeats?
We are told over and over again that we are overweight because we don’t have enough willpower to put our forks down. Researchers at the University of Florida studied formerly obese people and almost all of the subjects said they would rather be blind, deaf or have a leg amputated than be obese again. Every single patient said he/she would rather be normal weight than a morbidly obese multi-millionaire. If we so desperately want to be thin, why can’t we just put the damn fork down?
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?” Umm, Kate Moss, have you ever tried pizza? When we eat cheeseburgers, fries, cookies and cakes, a food-related reward circuit in our brains called the striatum releases endorphins (which give a sort of euphoric high), dopamine (which motivates feeding behavior) and other feel-good chemicals. Many delicious fatty and sugary foods affect our reward systems enough to override the natural hormones our body releases to suppress appetite even after you have consumed enough to produce a small food baby.
As Paul Kenny, an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, describes it, “All of us have experienced this effect: you have just finished a big dinner and could not possibly eat another bite. Yet when the chocolate cake appears, you can miraculously ‘find room’ for one last morsel — one that happens to be the most calorie-laden of the day.”
If this doesn’t sound enough like a drug addiction already, get this. Every time we accidentally eat the whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s, our bodies try to fight the reward system by producing even more appetite suppressing hormones. However, over time these hormones become less and less effective as our bodies build up a tolerance to their functions.
This means next time you get a craving, the pint won’t be enough to satisfy it; just like when cocaine users need to ingest more each time to achieve the same high. To make matters even worse, studies have shown that rats that binge every day on food display behaviors that closely resemble withdrawal after being treated with drugs that stop the over consumption.
Why do you think cigarette smokers continue to smoke even though they know it can lead to cancer and heart disease? It’s the same reason obese people continue to reach for seconds even though they know the horrible health and social consequences that will result. Food is biologically addictive and it’s time to stop blaming willpower for our problems.