April 14, 2011

Why is it So Hard to Be Skinny: Food is Awesome

Historically, the human diet was much simpler than it is today. Not necessarily "better", in the modern-day sense of the term. For instance, in most cultures, it included tons of animal fat. But, it was real food. Today, it's chemicals. It's geo-engineered flavor. Combine that with  the culinary genius of those who combine the four spectrums of the flavor profile (sweet, sour, bitter and salt) into every creation. And food today tastes better than it ever has in the history of the world.

It's also one of the reasons we're eating too much.

After struggling with his weight for the last 5 years, my good friend Dave (who gave me permission to write this) jumped on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. And in order to get the social support and accountability he knew he'd need, he told everyone he knew about his plan and his goal weight of 210 pounds.

Dave has lost more than 30 pounds so far over his 35 week journey. But there have been a lot of ups and downs along the way. (Watch this past week's video update for the latest example.)

I was angry after watching this latest update. Not because of the weight fluctuation. But because of the cupcake montage at the end. I think I yelled, "Are you kidding me?" at my computer screen. I just didn't get it.

And then I realized something. I just don't get it. My biggest weight swing in my life has been 20 pounds. Dave's hoping for a 110 pound swing. Our motivations, limitations, baggage and understandings are not the same. So, I sent this video to a few of my friends this week hoping to get some clarity. Here is an aggregate paraphrase of their understanding. And I'm looking for your help to fill in the blanks.
"Weight Watchers isn't A.A. In alcoholics anonymous, they claim you're an addict. Moderation doesn't work for addicts. The unique take of WW is that you can eat whatever you want, as long as you count it. And this works for a lot of people. But it doesn't work as well for addicts. Addicts, by definition, can't be moderate. They need to categorize certain foods as "NO". Or else, by sheer willpower alone, they will up-and-down forever."
This made a lot of sense to me. But again, I just don't get it. I know that a few of you readers have accomplished significant weight losses yourselves, and I'm looking for your expertise on this...