Two things struck me this week; one was a picture posted on Facebook of a crowded beach in the early 1970’s. There were no, and I mean not one, overweight people on the beach. What has changed? Many things of course, from activity levels going down, to more stress and reduced quality of sleep, but the main thing is food availability. I remember beaches in the 70’s. There were no food stands and no fast food franchises close by. If we went to the beach we might take a small cooler with juice and fruit, but never considered taking much more. Mind you that was true of life in general. There weren’t huge malls packed with food courts and treats at home were minimal. The point of this is, we weren’t exposed to readily available, highly processed food.

The second thing was remembering car trips from Windsor to Belleville in the summer. The two-lane roads were slow, so the trip was long. Again, there were no stops packed with food choices from different food chains. Whatever we had my mother had made and put in a cooler (usually ham sandwiches and apples). Now, a simple drive from Ottawa to Toronto exposes me to about six different stops with all sorts of quick nutritionally depleted, high caloric donuts/hamburgers, muffins, French fries and so on.

Temptation is everywhere and the trouble is, it has become the norm…to eat frequently, and excessively.

Worse, we are eating and we are not really hungry—-we have perceived hunger, yes, but real hunger, no.

My message is, all this food is not normal. We don’t need it; out bodies do not need all of this ‘fuel’. Definitely not in our era of minimal movement and more desk jobs, in this era where evenings are spent watching hours of TV, rather than being outside. In University, as a break from studying we would throw a football around, or play catch, or just walk somewhere. Now, we turn on the TV.

From a health and weight loss perspective, possibly the best way to ‘eat’ is within certain hours. We have mentioned many times the 10am to 6pm window of eating with 16 hours of not eating. If we work with these sort of self-imposed rules, we might not give into all of the food that surrounds us.

Similarly I would love it if people would minimize sedentary activities and move—if only a little bit. Turn off the TV, walk on the spot with high knees for 2 minutes; 10 desk pushups, 10 air squats; anything, something! If all else fails, then all of us should create a rule of no snacks when the TV is on. Remember, you aren’t hungry, you just had supper; whatever you are eating is more than the body needs so it will store it.

The food companies are there to make money, not to make you healthy. Try not to give into their advertising. Best—don’t bring snacks into the house at all!

I know how hard it is, and all you can do is keep trying. Never give up. Eventually the mind will realize the basic ‘toxicity’ of most processed foods, and when you are eating nutritionally well, you will feel physically and emotionally much better, such that the draw to these foods diminishes.

You can do it!
Dr. B