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I confess: I'm a food-a-holic

The question posed to me was: How do you get through the holidays without eating lots of sugary desserts (and other bad stuff)?

Conventional wisdom says: The key is moderation.  Moderation in everything is good.  There are dietary things that are bad for you.  We should reduce our consumption of them, sugar being the worst.  Everyone’s allowed a “cheat” once in a while.

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

You see, I have to confess, I’m a food addict…a food-aholic.  Maybe it was how I was raised.  Came from a Jewish family where meals are very important events.  Make the acquaintance of my mom and she says “Great to meet you; want some food”.  Maybe it’s human nature.  Millions of years of facing starvation begets uncontrollable consumption when food is super plentiful.  Here’s an anecdote from my last weekend:

I was at a fancy, exclusive country club.  Every Sunday they have an unbelievable sumptuous brunch buffet.  I was struck at how much food people consumed.  Even myself.  Put unbelievable quantities, of not necessarily expensive, food on plates and it’s dangerous if to get in between the members and the food..  But here is what I found fascinating:  Most of the people there would be considered fabulously wealthy.  If they sat down and ordered they could say “give me 5 orders of bacon; 3 desserts; etc”  They could then choose to throw away what they didn’t want.  Yet no one ever does that.  The phenomenon only occurs when vast quantities of food are provided, up front!  My point is we are battling human nature.

So what’s the answer?  I contend as a food-a-holic I have to treat myself like someone would from Alcohol Anonymous.  If you ever interacted with someone from the program, they call themselves drunks.  They acknowledge that they have a permanent problem.  They are not allowed “moderation”.  They are not allowed “just have one beer, it won’t hurt you”.  They are allowed zero.

I contend, that for me, in light of my affliction, I cannot be allowed to have moderate amounts of sweets.  I can’t have a taste here or there.  I can’t have special nights.  When I do, the quantities grow; the special nights multiply.  I have to permanently eliminate the license to consume.  What I really want to do is eliminate the desire.  I actually went to Venice, last month,  and didn’t have a single bite of pasta, bread, or dessert.

I know.  I know.  It sounds so harsh.  But look at the failure around us.  Look at the obesity.  I wish I could be moderate.  There are a few people who can eat in moderation and have success but they are such a small minority.

So I face the holidays as the food-a-holic I am.  I won’t have any special moments.  No “just a little”.  I can assure you I won’t have a taste.  Finally, here’s the good news: As time goes by it gets easier and easier.  However, I always remind myself that I’m a permanent drunk…I mean food addict.

Keith Morton

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