Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

From the January 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Don’t underestimate the difficulty of breaking long-established food addictions!

It is difficult to break old, addictive eating habits and form new, healthy ones. One of the difficulties is the immense power of addiction, which makes the human mind hungry to rationalize and attempt to justify the bad habits. As a result, people often fail before they even attempt to change. They either use denial about the vital necessity of change—the need to improve their health and happiness, or they simply give up without even trying—thinking that change is too difficult.

Keep in mind, part of you (your intellect) wants to change and be healthy. It wants the suffering caused by the bad habits to end. But part of you (part of your subconscious) does not want to change. It wants to avoid confrontation and the discomfort that comes with withdrawal from addictive bad habits. That part of you wants to pretend that things are just fine the way they are, thank you, and it can come up with some mighty convincing reasons why you should not Eat To Live.

Here are some common ones:
  • It’s too radical a change.
  • There’s not enough protein.
  • I will get too thin and my skin will wrinkle.
  • My family won’t eat this way.
  • It is too difficult to eat this way on the road.
  • There is nothing to eat in a restaurant.
  • I’ve tried dieting before and I know I’ll just gain all the weight back.
  • I really don’t want to be a vegetarian.
Mind games
Addictions affect our ability to think rationally; they prejudice our judgment in favor of maintaining the addiction. That is why it is so difficult to even make the decision to change, much less actually change. Most smokers would love to be informed that it not smoking per se that is bad, it is just the pesticides used on the tobacco plant. That way they could justify the addictive habit by saying, “I only smoke organic, free-range tobacco.”

Those addicted to rich, heart-attack-causing foods are more than happy to believe the lie that a low-cholesterol level is not desirable and readily parrot high-protein enthusiasts who spread the myth that low cholesterol is dangerous. Most people addicted to animal foods would believe the earth is flat if they could use it to justify their consumption of fatty meats, butter, and cheese.

The great escape
Indulging in addictive behavior can seem like an effective way to escape sadness, loneliness, poverty, and fear because it brings momentary pleasure. Indulging oneself in momentary pleasure brings an immediate feeling of well-being, whereas the self discipline necessary to effect change brings on uncomfortable sensations of hunger (which more often than not are actually withdrawal symptoms) that can stir up painful, negative emotions. The advertising industry has converted almost the entire modern world to a new religion—a mass cult of pleasure-seekers, consuming coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks, candy, chocolate, alcohol, processed foods, and concentrated dairy fat (cheese) in a self-indulgent orgy of destructive behavior.

Feeling your pain
When the inevitable result of such bad habits appears—pain, suffering, sickness, and disease, the addicted cult members drag themselves to physicians and demand drugs to alleviate their pains, mask their symptoms, and cure their diseases. These revelers become so drunk on their addictive behavior and the accompanying addictive thinking that they no longer can tell the difference between health and health care.

As more and more pleasure is sought, the possibility of enjoying the simple pleasures of life “loses” its attraction and real food “loses” its taste. In fact, the natural pleasures of life and the delicious tastes of natural foods have not lost anything. What is lost is the ability of damaged individuals to appreciate and enjoy natural, uncontaminated experiences. In this damaged state, much of the modern world has become imprisoned by addictions, leaving us with a health-care crisis of unprecedented proportions. Ever newer and stronger addictive processed foods await the young in the toxic food environment that has become the accepted norm. Now, if people live long enough, their intelligence will deteriorate with age, and they will lose their dignity.

Rationalizing you
Occasionally, I meet someone who tells me, “I read Eat To Live. I know that it makes sense. But I can’t eat like that.” Or, “I read your book, but I could never be a vegetarian.” Most often, it turns out that they didn’t read the book in its entirety, but just skimmed it. If they read it all the way through, they would know that, for most people, dietary changes don’t have to be all-or-nothing decisions on day one. Incremental improvements bring benefits, too, and change can take place over time.

Another common remark is, “I could never eat that way. The food has no taste.” These individuals either never have had the experience of eating unadulterated natural foods, have lost their memory of it, or fear that healthful dietary changes remove all the pleasure from their lives. Make no mistake, healthy foods can taste fantastic, but you may have to rehabilitate your taste buds.

Eat To Live is not for everybody. You only can reap the wonderful benefits of eating the Eat To Live way if you have enough common sense to highly value your future health. If you want to age prematurely, become demented in your later years, and suffer with needless medical tragedies, then I guess Eat To Live is not for you.

Wake-up call
Even people who initially reject the Eat To Live diet may come to their senses eventually. Perhaps they just haven’t learned enough yet. Perhaps they don’t realize how addicting unhealthy food is, and how it can affect brain function to the point that they no longer can think straight.

Habits are hard to break, no question about it. Some people cannot be convinced by all the best science in the world that it is better to eat healthy foods. Nothing short of disease, fear, or pain (and often all three of these) will motivate them to change. Hopefully, it won’t be too late at that point.

Toxic eating is just as addicting as smoking or drugs. The same steps are necessary to overcome the addiction. The first step is to recognize that you have a problem and that it is an addiction. Then you may be willing to learn more about the benefits of the comprehensive Eat To Live approach to healthful eating and acknowledge the vital necessity for change. Knowledge can help defeat addictions.

It always helps to have a support system of others to reinforce the reality that any temporary suffering incurred as a result of change will result in a much more pleasurable and happier life.
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Anonymous - October 24, 2012 1:21 PM

I want to break my food addiction. I really do. And I believe changing my eating habits is the pathway to overall health. Somehow I always succumb. I've tried many a time. I think I have a chicken/egg problem. I feel like I need to beat my depression in order to make lifestyle changes; but I cannot beat my depression until I make lifestyle changes.

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