I'm not sure if you watched the Horizon program, but if you did, I wonder if you had as many light bulb moments as I did.
It was crazy; they were going off like a ball bearing setting off the lights on a pinball machine. Each time a statement was made its core rang true with me.
Realisation that I am not alone in having these specific feelings towards food, there are millions of others out there.
The Scientists identified three groups and named them pretty much after each ones relationship with food. Myself? I am a Constant Craver, so named because of the genes that make the sufferer feel hungry all of the time. The Feasters have a misfiring gut hormone that massively reduces their ability to know when they are full and finally the Emotional Eaters eat as a reaction to stressful situations and experiences.
To identify each subject various clinical tests were undertaken at the very beginning to see who would be in each group. After which some pretty ingenious experiments were performed to confirm the scientist's results.
The Feasters were confirmed at a meal where Sushi was served on a revolving belt that was continually being restocked. Waiting staff cleared the plates from the eaters and literally stacked them in front of a picture of the same eater. At the end of the meal, after counting up the plates, it was pretty easy to see which ones had eaten the most. In some cases the feasters ate over twice as much as subjects from a different group.
The Emotional Eaters were put on a driving test that raised their stress levels to such a significant high, that when it was all over and they were offered food, they indulged far more than other subjects who were not affected by same stress levels.
Finally the Constant Cravers were identified by a longer process but no less ingenious. They were all fed a hearty lunch and two hours later they were shown foods and sweets on plates presented to them one at a time. When they saw something they really wanted they had to squeeze the handle of digital grip meter, the tighter they squeezed the more they wanted the particular item on the plate. It turned out that the Constant Cravers of the test group pulled harder for sweet and fatty foods over and above the healthier stuff.
So with the three separate groups identified it was now time to get everyone on the correct diet.
Constant Cravers were put on an Intermittent Fasting Diet where everyday the dieter must watch their calories but not always deny themselves the treat of an apple, low calorie food bar or fat free yogurt which were now used as a replacement to the constant grazing on sandwiches and crisps. On two of the days however, the subject was required to stick to a maximum of 800 calories for the whole day. This meant that although there was pain it was limited to two days and far more likely to succeed as the dieter knew there was a specific end point.
Feasters needed a simple diet to address the requirement to eat so much at one sitting. This came from low G.I foods, hearty soups and other foods that promoted the release of the GLP-1 hormone.
Emotional Eaters were not only given a relatively sensible calorie controlled diet with foods that made them feel full for longer but also a support network that offered them Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and recommended them join weight loss support groups and online support forums for weight loss.
A very interesting show and experiment that I took straight to heart and put into practise right away. I fasted for two days of that week and to be honest it wasn't that hard. The problem only reared its head AFTER I had completed the fast days. It was as though I knew I'd been good and as such my body wanted to load itself with crap.
I deserve them.
I can actually understand how treats can be deserved at times but they can so often lead to the tortured thinking (or lack thereof) that follows them, leading to a food diary entry that may look like this:
"I went out for lunch and had the burger and fries because I'd done so well with my diet this week. Because I'd eaten the burger and fries, I thought I might as well have the Death by Chocolate cake to follow and drink three glasses of regular (not Diet) Coca Cola. On the way home I needed fuel (car variety) so I stopped and thought, well, as I've had that cake for pudding I may as well have a Mars Bar or two".
It is a hugely difficult thing to stop the brain from occasionally taking the dieter down this illogical road. Trust me, I know from experience how tough it can be when the brain is fighting with itself saying "I really don't want to be fat but my goodness me, I want that Mars Bar even more"
Perhaps this suggests that there should be no treats until the main goal is reached. Maybe there should be a daily treat. I suppose it is all down to the individual. I haven't found the answer yet myself. I know in the past I have been on and off diets like "there's no tomorrow" yet I still rewarded myself. I think in all reality people like me cannot be trusted with treats. Over the years I have learnt that I can't keep anything "fancy" in the cupboards because for some reason it's not just a couple of biscuits, it's a whole bloody packet.
It's simple if it's there, I will eat it and undo all of that great work I have put in.
So whilst I am on my pre op food regime the Intermittent Fasting diet is ideal for me as long as I can get past that first day back to normality. By taking these points into account it becomes easier for me understand why a Gastric Sleeve procedure would be the answer for me. If I no longer have the capacity, I simply can no longer sit and eat the whole packet.
However please do not be under the impression that the surgery is the easy way out.
All it does is remove my capacity, not my desire to eat. There follows many years of hard work post surgery, not only physically, but also the Psychologically as I retrain my brain to change its eating habits.
It's either that or I am off to meet St Peter at the Pearly Gates - After living life as a fat bloke that's got to be where I am headed in the end, surely? ;-)