The world is filled with cruel people. Strangely, many of them are very young. You would think that young people would be more innocent and wouldn’t take pleasure in hurting other people, but that’s not the case.
When young children find something to be odd, they don’t hold back. They speak their mind, and what they say will often embarrass or humiliate someone. Hopefully grown-ups who are compassionate will teach the children that what they’re saying is hurtful. But if that’s not the case then children might never figure out that what they say might hurt or harm other people.
In addition to that, a child may develop a sense of cruelty based on how they’re treated in their own households. If a child is humiliated and abused it will create a deep sense of anger within him or her. The child in turn may become a perpetrator of humiliation.
I do not intend to shame anybody when I speak or write about weight loss. In fact I take my responsibility to help people with weight issues very much to heart. This is in large part because members of my family—my mother, father, and sister—suffer from weight problems and food addictions.
A person’s weight problems are almost always caused by self-esteem issues. In the case of my family members, I know them intimately and I know why they have difficulty putting healthy eating patterns into place. I understand their feelings and I see that they struggle.
Everybody knows that we’re at a higher risk of complicated health-related dysfunctions and illness if we are overweight. And everybody knows that people don’t become overweight by gorging on salad and cucumbers day after day. It’s the quality of the food that people eat day after day, month after month, and year after year that is the biggest problem. And patterns such as eating too much protein, eating late at night, overeating, and eating processed food put a person at a much higher risk of being overweight and unhealthy.
A person might be content with their body shape and be happy, healthy, and symptom-free. But if a person struggles and suffers in their emotional world, they’re very likely going to use food in an addictive way. They’ll be prone to using food in accordance with one or more patterns that are habitual and hard to break. I am addressing this book section primarily to such people. Replacing poor eating patterns with healthy eating patterns is difficult, and I sincerely hope that some of what I say about such matters will be of some benefit to you.
Getting comfort and relief from food is something that begins just moments after we are born when we get food from our mother’s breast. We then immediately associate food with love, gentle touching, and relief from all forms of suffering. That is something that is so powerfully burned into our brain that it might be impossible to ever fully reverse it.
The patterns of how we eat are ingrained in our minds from our earliest memories. As we grow up, we tend to use food to find comfort if there’s no comfort available anywhere else because food is so ubiquitous. As children, we especially crave junk foods, especially those laden with sugar such as candies, cakes, and the like. Such foods create euphoria and ecstacy for youngsters.
Think of your own childhood experiences with unhealthy foods. Now, fast forward to your experience in the present time as a grown-up. You feel empowered in so many ways in your life. Perhaps you are now a highly successful business person with the capability to create wonderful things. Your mind is always filled with activities and plans to conquer the world. This may be all well and good, but it creates a problem if you’re dealing with a food addiction of some sort.
A problem exists because when you’re successful in other areas of your life it becomes difficult to reach some type of emotional and physical bottom. Although we’re doing worthwhile things in the world, we’re subconsciously acting out addictively during times that we’re weak. Food just appears magically on our plate and we start to eat when we’re not even present. The way we eat when we're in that state is almost as if food is eating us and we’re not eating food. We’re eating, but we’re on another planet.
We’re consumers throughout the day but we’re not really in control of what we consume. Whether we are consuming our business life, our shopping and buying, or our business and financial affairs, we come in and out of consciousness throughout the day. And although we’re able to master other addictions, we find ourselves unable to master food addictions.
Why is this the case? It’s primarily because weight control requires being self-disciplined, being able to control anxiety, and being accountable to yourself (and sometimes others). To a degree, weight loss is a positive side effect that comes from effectively dealing with our emotional issues (lack of self-discipline, poor self-esteem, etc.).
We must understand that if we don’t love what we see when we look in the mirror that it will cause us to engage in harmful negative thinking. That negativity will affect our body chemistry. We must teach ourselves to respect and even love ourselves no matter what we look like. That can be difficult, especially when we see images of beautiful people plastered everywhere. Another factor is that as we grew up inappropriate concepts of beauty and ugliness were burned into our consciousness.
We’re very unique creatures who can analyze different aspects of ourselves to determine whether or not we’re doing OK. It’s normal for a person to be a little worried or anxious if they look at themselves and say, “Good lord, I’m getting overweight and I’ve got to get control over my health.”
We have to dispel the notion that talking about being overweight is automatically causing people to feel shamed. We need to talk about weight issues with the intent of helping people solve problems. When I talk about weight loss I don’t intend to shame anyone.
I have struggled with weight issues and food addictions. I have many years of experience in recovery-related disciplines and structured methodologies such as 12-step programs. I’d like to share my observations and experiences with others, and I want to give all due respect to those whose methods and processes may differ from my own. Above all, I want to speak openly, candidly, and compassionately about this topic and offer hope to anyone willing to consider what I have to say.