People do stop smoking, you know, and often they are people who for decades firmly thought of themselves as smokers. I’ve often heard smokers say, “But I was born smoking!” By quitting, they discovered that they can have a life apart from smoking and that ‘smoker’ isn’t who they really are. It’s the same with many of those who formerly identified themselves as ‘drinkers’. And the same can be applied to overeating.
One of the most important skills any human being can enjoy is adaptability. Your ability to adapt is your ability to survive.
While writing this piece, I’ve been searching around for some figures for the incidence of diabetes in the UK. I’ve found it difficult to find these figures because they are increasing so rapidly that even surveys conducted two years ago are now out of date. You may know that diabetes is being referred to as an epidemic, and this means it’s becoming normal in our culture, just as being overweight has become normal. We begin to think that this is just what happens as you get older; you become a lot heavier, you become diabetic and your bones disintegrate. One piece of information I did come across is that we here in the UK are developing diabetes at a faster rate than those in the US.
I’ve been reading four recently published books on nutrition, jumping from one to another to get a sense of the themes they have in common and where they contradict each other. The one thing that comes across overwhelmingly is their united position on all the starchy carbohydrates: wheat-based products, most grains, most forms of sugar and sweeteners. It’s easy to be confused by conflicting advice on what to eat, but there really isn’t anybody these days who is promoting these kinds of foods.
We are often given the advice ‘everything in moderation’, but ‘moderation’ is entirely relative. In particular it’s relative to what is generally regarded to be moderate in a culture. The consumption of sugar, for example, increased from around 10 pounds per person per year in the mid-18th century, to the average today of 150 pounds per person per year. So eating sugar in 18th century moderation is going to be very different from eating it in 21st century moderation. Which one are you going to do?
In choosing the former, you may well find yourself out of step with your 21st century friends, family and society at large. That’s a tough place to be, but how else is this situation ever going to change if it isn’t individual by individual, each one of us taking a stand for our own well-being?