Monday, July 20, 2009

Banding Our Heads

Bandsters have a saying, "If only they could band our heads." They refer to cravings as "head hunger." Over and over they talk about how the lap band is only a tool. Instead of diets, the lap band helps us initiate a lifestyle change. Some still measure, keep food diaries and plans, count calories or carbs or proteins or points, at least during the times they're struggling. But the goal is lifestyle change. Making healthy choices. Not being ruled by food.

Someday, maybe soon, they'll come up with a pill that helps with the head hunger. They're working on it. Until then, we use whatever tools work for us. The lap band is a big one. An amazing number of people are having various forms of weight loss surgery. Like me, they're desperate. Everything else has failed for them. I look at the ads Google puts on my blog page. Some of those things are legitimate. Many are quick fixes that don't work long term. Just the titles make me laugh.

Hope springs eternal, so people continue to try the latest diet fad. What's ironic is that our obsession with weight and dieting is killing us. It's making us fat. It screws up our metabolisms. We end up with metabolic sydrome--insulin resistance--which leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, and diabetes.

It would be a whole lot better for us if we all remained a little overweight than if we start the cycle of dieting and gaining the weight back. We weren't meant to stay teenager thin. How ironic that with women we have a cultural obsession to be thinner than women have ever been, yet obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Forget swine flu or SARs. This is the real epidemic. And its a killer.

As a country we tend to think education can cure anything. I'm sure our already over-burdened educational system is going to be expected to start teaching eating disorders prevention, or nutritional health along with drug prevention and violence prevention and self-esteem lessons. But most of us who are compulsive eaters could get jobs as nutritionists. We have tons of nutritional education yet remain addicted to food. Education is not the cure.

Most of the food industry experiments with products and additives and supersizing and taste sensations just to get us to eat more so they'll profit more. Wouldn't surprise me if the same companies are also heavily invested in weight loss products. It's like the women's magazine covers. There's always a picture of someone who lost weight and a picture of a chocolate cake. What a schizophrenic society we live in.

For me, the biggest resource is God. These blogs are letters to him as well as to myself and whoever else out there is reading them. Essentially, I'm looking at every aspect of my life that contributes to the addiction problem and laying it out before him. Its a way for me to work the 12 steps of any good addiction recovery program.

The band is a tool to control the outward sign of this addiction. But real recovery comes with God's help, working the steps.

1. I'm admitting that I'm powerless over food and its making my life unmanageable.
2 I believe that only a power greater than myself (God) can restore me to sanity.
3. I turn my will and my life over to the care of that higher power.
4. I'm making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
5. I'm admitting to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.
6. I'm becoming entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. I'm humbly asking him to remove my shortcomings.
8. I've made a list of all the people I've harmed, and am becoming willing to make amends to them all.
9. I'm making dirct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
10 I continue to take personal inventory and when I'm wrong promptly admit it.
11 I seek through prayer and meditation (and Bible reading) to improve my conscious contact with God and seek only knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, I try to carry this message to other food addicts and to practice these principles in all my affairs.