Tag Archives: overeating

The problem with “nutritional consultants” –

– or, The futility of giving advice to food addicts as though we were normal people.

I am at this moment looking at an article in today’s Globe and Mail that offers sane advice on how to cut calories.  It includes such sensible tips as: “Limit your salad toppings,” “Watch your protein,” and “Count your cookies.”

I happen to live with a person who would likely read this kind of advice, find it logical and useful, and follow it.

I am not that kind of person.

When I am sticking to a weight-loss program, no matter what it is, I stick to it. I don’t trim off a few calories here and a few there … I follow the plan that I have set out for myself. I measure the protein, omit the salad toppings, and steer clear of cookies completely. But when I am NOT sticking to the program, I am not counting cookies – I am devouring them. When I’m not on a diet, I see salad as a bed for iniquity, and the way I take my protein is as peanuts in M&Ms.

I am not a half-measures person, and I think that is one of the things that sets food addicts apart from normal people (of which there are very few in the world, in my experience. Perhaps there are four or five: the person with whom I live, the person who wrote the article in the Globe and Mail, and three others). Before I quit drinking, I remember once being given a lovely wine-bottle stopper as a gift, and looking at it with gratitude mixed with bemusement. I had very little occasion to save leftover wine since there usually wasn’t any left over, so – as I had anticipated – the bottle stopper got very little use.

At this time of year, there are thousands upon thousands of articles by nutritional experts on how to lose weight. They are everywhere (the nutritionists and the articles). However, for most of us, the problem is not the food we eat or any ignorance on our part about what it is about our food choices that is causing us to gain weight.

The problem is what is going on in our heads.

* * * * * * *

And this kind of self-awareness is, my friends, what my main character, Rita Turner, gradually attains in The Whole Clove Diet. You can read the first 65 pages of the novel for free right here.

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Filed under Addiction, Dieting, Dietinig, Eating Disorders, Habits, News about weight loss, The Whole Clove Diet: A Novel, Weight loss

Is overeating an addiction, an eating disorder, a bad habit, or self-indulgence gone totally off the rails?

Several book sites such as Book Club Buddy have asked me to come up with a question or two that readers of The Whole Clove Diet, my new novel, might want to discuss with one another. To answer this one, you don’t need to have read the novel (and there are no spoilers in this post).

I was talking to one of my readers who had a problem with anorexia in the past (which she has overcome), and she told me that she had a really hard time reading about Rita’s over-eating because of that. (She said she finally managed to keep reading and that ultimately she liked the book, for which I am very grateful on both counts.)

Some of MY weaknesses: I’m working on them!

Her statement made me think again, as I often did while I was writing the book, and often do when I am overeating – is overeating an addiction, an eating disorder, a bad habit or just overindulgence and lack of willpower?

Maybe eating disorders ARE addictions – I know they have a lot in common. I’ve been addicted to cigarettes and other things myself in the past. And I know that in my mind, Rita and Harry (Rosa’s father, who drinks too much) have a lot in common. (I have a very soft spot for Harry.)

Anorexia and bulimia are certainly addictions and very hard to overcome. Times have changed in the past decade or so when it comes to public awareness of these conditions. When I see a really really thin woman, now I immediately think, “She’s anorexic. That is a fatal addiction. I hope to God she can overcome it before she dies.”

But most of us never feel sympathy or concern when we see a woman (or man) who is obese. We think, “Push yourself away from the table, Woman! Get some exercise, Guy! Don’t be a sloth!” (Most of us know better than to say it out loud any more, but we do think it. Even those of us who are also overweight and haven’t been around the block for months. ) And overweight people know what other people are thinking, and of course that becomes another hurdle to address, which just makes them want to eat something to feel better and think “Why bother?” when it comes to getting outside for a walk. Not everyone has a live-in mother-in-law she needs to escape from, like Rita does.

So. What do YOU think?

Post your comments here or over on my Mary W. Walters, Writer page on FaceBook  or on my GoodReads Blog.

Thank you!

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Filed under Addiction, Book Clubs, Eating Disorders, Habits, Reading Group, The Whole Clove Diet: A Novel, Weight loss