Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Personally, I think the scientists and doctors have it wrong when it comes to their attempts to ‘cure’ obesity. It seems that they (okay, WE) are always pursuing solutions that either supress appetite, speed up the metabolism, block digestion/absorption, or simply prevent us from eating. Its not that none of these approaches will be effective — its just that they fail to address what can be THE key element in overeating. Namely, the sheer pleasure and overall comfort that we get from the process of eating.

If I were to design a magic pill, my own focus would be to find some kind of stimulous that was as positive and pleasurable as food, providing a sustained feeling of satisfaction that didn’t cause me to be drugged. Better yet would be a pill that enhanced the eating of food so much that I wouldn’t need much of it to make me feel happy.

I know, dream on.

Today I was in line to purchase a fantastic (and fantastically expensive) salad from the Whole Foods salad bar and next to the checkout stand were stacks and stacks of treats. One of the containers held what were described as “Two Bite Brownies.” According to the nutrition label (hello! brownies! I * HAD * to check!) each one of these itty bitty things had 95 calories. Perhaps this would be a two bite brownie for a five year old, but the average adult would have to get a knife and fork to cut this thing into halves.

As I put the container back I tried to imagine how many of those I would have to eat before I felt satisfied. I figured it would be somewhere between 10 and 12. On a good day.

So I know that its not sexy, or illustrative, or even all that interesting for me to say that the key to weight management is moderation. There are no magic answers.

Last week I read about a study of the glycemic index by the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health which recommended that (as far as weight loss is concerned)

the index should be ended altogether in favor of more traditional methods of losing weight and reducing the risk of diabetes eating less and exercising more.

Well shoot, that doesn’t sound like something that will get a lot of press. After all, they don’t ‘blame’ any factor or gene or food product and they don’t promise any new ‘breakthroughs.’

So if there’s anything that all that’s ever going to work for me, its learning when to signal to myself that ‘enough is enough.’ I guess that will have to suffice until they come up with the magic pill.

15 thoughts on “Enough is Enough

  1. Blader says:

    I think the biggest problem is trying pigeon-hole everything into one simple solution.

    Even physically, remember when the Susan Powter revolution came along and we could eat unlimited anything as long as it wasn’t fat?

    The same ridiculous approach is applied to low GI plans. Eat anything and as much as you want, provided it is low on the glycemic index.

    I think the GI plans have the advantage of making one feel more full for a longer period and stopping the rush/crash cycle. Other than that, calories in vs. calories out is still the underlying equation.

    Jonathan, I really found your brownie exercise an eye opener. The caloric count seems fairly low, but you are right to extend the calculation further into the reality of how many one would need to eat to feel satisfied. I’m going to use that exercise daily. Thanks!

  2. Tracy says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels like they need a lot of something sweet to feel satisified.

    2 Oreos? More like a dozen.

    Girl Scout cookies? A sleeve, give or take (and if I’m in the mood for sharing).

    Even watermelon…something good for you…I need to eat quite a few slices to fill me up.

    Eat less. Exercise more. I know it’s simple. But it’s not.

  3. jessica says:

    …although I do have to say, I buy those Dove Dark Chocolate squares and keep them in the freezer – and they are REAL chocolate, not fakey dietey chocolate, and one or two of them DOES satisfy me (unlike diet foods, where I feel like I eat a boxful and I’m still munching in order to find satisfaction).
    ~J

  4. Mercury says:

    Well, sweets aren’t meant to fill you up. They’re meant to add a little splash to your meal. I loooove a nice serving (and that means 1/2 cup) of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at the end of the day if I have the spare calories.

  5. Greta says:

    My ideal magic pill would allow me to see and smell food without feeling compelled to eat it. I would like to be indifferent to food the way my husband is. Since I distrust what the drug companies produce I am not likely to have that magic pill in my life even if one comes out. That leaves self-control and moderation as my tools. I try to only overeat low calorie density foods like vegetables. I try to avoid wonderful sweet treats altogether because I find that I CAN’T eat sweets in tiny quantity. I have seen those tiny brownies at Whole Foods also and I’d make short order of them so they stay unpurchased. I wish I could indulge in a single bite of something luscious but for me that just turns on some need in me for more so I have to stop before the first bite. Maybe that’s not moderation at all but it works for me.

  6. zsuzsa says:

    Hello!
    Can I ask where JuJu is? Is she OK?

  7. Debbi says:

    Unless and until the “diet industry” is interested in preventing or curing obesity, we will never see a magic pill. Why create a product that will solve a problem when the problem is so profitable?

    Following a low glycemic index plan seems to be working for me, combined with more-than-moderate intentional exercise. “Thirty minutes of moderate activity three times a week” might work for some, or might work as a maintenance tool, but I’m learning that it’s certainly not enough for me.

  8. Jane says:

    I agree that the really difficult part is moderation. I have great admiration for friends (skinnier of course) who are able to eat half a dessert and then push their plate away because they are full. If you can do it then great! For those of us with more of a sugar addiction it’s probably better to try to seek the satisfaction from making healthier choices of unprocessed foods. Tracy mentioned not being able to stop at one slice of watermelon- but even if you ate 2 lbs of watermelon (quite a bit!) it would not contain anywhere near the calories of 5 small brownies or a pint of icecream, so it is a relatively smart choice. I find fruity herbal teas have a natural sweetness that helps me feel satisfied. Artificial sweeteners on the other hand just don’t help to kill off my sweet tooth- so a can of diet coke tends to lead me to a candy bar later.

  9. london slimmer says:

    As far as food is concerned, I have found one thing that I seem to give a hit from in small quantities – 99% cocoa solids chocolate. It’s very bitter and rather like drinking an espresso and just a couple of squares seem to kill my chocolate cravings (it’s available in fair-traded varieties, too).

    Mainly, though, I’d like to share with you all that I have found a magic pill which works – for me, it’s Argentine tango. As long as I can dance, I don’t even feel tempted to overeat and don’t need treats. Unfortunately, I can’t dance all day long and still have lots of boring work to do … but at least it’s a partial solution and has certainly stopped the evening bingeing I used to do (my personal measure of satisfaction for sweet treats seems to be at least a pint of ice cream!)

  10. Quinn says:

    Seems to me that we all need to do two things:

    1.) Find other sources of comfort and pleasure – aside from food and drink. Dancing the Tango is good, so is making art, playing sports, knitting, tutoring kids/adults, etc.

    2.) Stop eating anything that has a food label containing ingredients not found in a non-lab kitchen! That includes ANYTHING containing HFCS, a sweetener designed to bypass the human body’s mechanism for determining saiety! (Really. You are better off avoiding ALL the chemical sweeteners, including the lo-cal or no-cal ones. They all function the same way as HFCS.)

  11. Jonathan says:

    NOTE: I think Quinn must be talking about ‘High-fructose corn syrup.’

  12. Mercury says:

    I too am working with a low GI diet now, and I seem to feel more satisfied with fewer calories as well. I avoid ‘high-fructose corn syrup’, and I suspect that artificial sweeteners trigger me as well, so I’ve cut out diet soda, at least temporarily.

    One trick I learned from WW to deal with “trigger” foods – mine seem to be things with a fat content of over 50%, ie nuts & cheese – when you bring them home, immediately divide them into invidual serving sizes and bag them separately. For me at least it works – there’s a difference between choosing a serving of nuts, and eating a fews nuts, then wanting just a few more, and more….

    And yes, is Juju doing okay?

  13. Sara says:

    I agree that we have to find new sources of pleasure.
    I think I have found one for me. I like to get on the elliptical machine. I watch a TV show so my mind is occupied, and I just do it.
    I feel so good when I am done. Today I actually want to do it again.

  14. Virginia says:

    Oh yes, the guilty pleasures. I hate it when I’m not really hungry, but I just want to eat. And I con myself into choosing something sweet to gorge on. It’s a terrible habit that I hate to enjoy. Exercising is a good source of pleasure for me, but only in the forms of self-satisfaction and the endorphins that hit me half an hour later. I also find great pleasure in reading for hours on end, but that eventually leads to compensating for the meals lost. I think I’ll try and stick to exercise.

  15. Tanya says:

    Can I get an AMEN! End the blame game. It’s not anybody else’s fault but our own. I don’t blame the food companies, the media, the fast food companies etc. When I gain weight – I know why. I can think back to what (and how much) I ate!

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