Self-control and Obesity

6 JAN 2017

“It’s not smart to stuff yourself with sweets.  A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out” (Proverbs 25:27-28 MSG).

My house doesn’t have windows or doors in regards to food. I am obese, but I’m determined to put windows and doors back into my house!

Like any type of behavioral change for the better, self-understanding and self-awareness are essential. 

So to understand my lack of self-control in regards to food, I am reading a second time, “Dr. Colbert’s I Can Do This Diet.”  He does not advocate fad diets. Instead, he explains the need for lifestyle change in regards to food awareness and activity or exercise. 

Two of the keys for me are proper portions and timely eating which both are advocated by Colbert. 

Yesterday, I went to breakfast at the Waffle House with a friend. In the past, I ordered a waffle lathered with sugar free syrup and a side of crispy bacon. (Note: a buttermilk waffle has 314 calories and 45gms of carbs and sugar free syrup is not carb or calorie free). I ordered grits, scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage patties, and toast. I chose to only eat about two thirds of the grits and eggs, one instead of two sausage patties, and one instead of two slices of toast. 

For supper, I want to Cracker Barrel with my brother and nephew.  Instead of ordering my favorite meal which is southern country fried steak smothered in gravy (610 calories and 25 fat grams) and mashed potatoes with a side of two biscuits, I ordered a cup (not a bowl) of vegetable soup and a garden salad with a side of one biscuit. 

This is a total lifestyle change for me in both portions and food. 

Next is timely eating. Instead of pigging out at dinner, I now eat sensibly five times daily as Dr. Colbert recommends. This includes a healthy breakfast of protein, carbs, and fruit. This morning, I had a half cup of Fiber One cereal, half cup blueberries, half cup Keifer (a fermented milk rich in probiotics, and 8 ounces of low sodium tomato juice. 

For lunch, I had a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread for carbs, a cup of Amy’s Italian Vegetable soup, cottage cheese for protein, and a few fresh pineapple chunks. I’ll have a healthy mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and a healthy bedtime snack. 

For dinner we are going to French Market Grill, one of my favorite restaurants. I love the bread, shrimp creole with white rice, salad, and bread pudding for dessert. Tonight, I’m having a bowl of seafood gumbo, the garden salad with sautéed shrimp, one roll, and. I dessert. Big change for me. 

Dr. Colbert says it’s important to our body’s metabolism to keep it working and burning calories and fat throughout the day to keep the fire burning. If you put all of the wood on a fire at one time, you have a bonfire. But if you want to keep warm over a long period of time, you add a little wood to the fire through the night. That’s why he advocates two healthy snacks – one in the afternoon and one at bedtime. Big meals don’t last long and the body can’t process all of that food in a short time. But instead of burning out like  bonfire, it stores the excess as fat. That’s why smaller meals and two healthy snacks a day are best. This keeps the fire in the body burning slowly satisfying the need for food. No more huge dinners in the evening for me!

Colbert says we are always burning calories. For a man, he burns about 2000 calories, and that’s without exercise. So, a 2000 calorie diet correctly administered with three meals and two snacks daily is necessary. Yet, he maintains that weight will be lost just doing that. I am interested to see if this works. And, if I add a mile or more walk five or six times a week, then the pounds should slowly melt away – I hope. 

The body, as we all know, is complex. This includes the processing of food. Dr. Colbert explains that there are many hormones like insulin which causes a drop in blood sugar that are released to cause that hungry feeling. As a type-1 diabetic, when I have a hypoglycemic episode, I feel I could eat everything in the pantry. 

On the other hand, appetite is a desire to satisfy a food craving which is usually a specific food like soda, cake, pies, cookies, chocolate candy, and highly processed foods like white bread. All of these foods are addictive. 

Colbert explains that hunger is a purely physiological response.  Appetite is both psychological and physiological that can be triggered by the memory, sights, smells, taste, and texture of foods we love and crave. 

Cravings include eating comfort food like chips, chocolate, and ice creme. And, we eat comfort food to relieve stress. We eat socially with others making us often unconscious of the amount and type of food consumed in a social setting like a wedding reception. 

Wouldn’t it be great that when that craving hits, we would reach for the celery, asparagus, carrots, and broccoli!  But unfortunately, we aren’t wired that way. 

Sometimes, we eat mindlessly watching television. My favorite TV watching food is Tostidos and salsa. Before I know it, I can consume a half bag of Tostidos. Not good. 

We are bombarded with food. Fast food and restaurant commercials support a lot of TV and sports programs. This is not to mention the beverage commercials of sugary soft drinks and beer. Food and drink are ever before us. 

Considering the environment of food we are surrounded with, our body’s hormones, and a host of other factors, it’s hard to have self-control when it comes to food. The doors and windows of our bodies have been removed allowing all kinds of problems with food to occur. These problems easily lead to a pound here, a pound there, and before we know it, we are overweight or even obese like me (240 lbs. 5’8″). 

Thus, two keys for me are self-understanding and self-awareness as it relates to food. Understanding that portion control and timely eating are essential, and awareness that I live in a culture saturated with appealing food. 

I am hopeful and challenged that I can put myself under food self-control. I have to. My health demands it. 


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