Archives for addiction

Matter and Mind

Discovering the cause of a problem leads us towards its solution, so with any health issue we may ask ourselves, "is this a physical problem with my body or a psychological one created by my mind?" This is especially true in the field of addiction: is it created by a physical dysfunction of hormones or deficiency in neurotransmitters, for example, or the result of the ways in which I think, my beliefs and attitudes?
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Q&A: Full of excuses

The Question: I love your book Eating Less, I’ve underlined or highlighted most lines on most pages. There’s one sub-heading that stands out more than anything else, and it is “Full of Excuses” in Chapter Five. I think of that so often because that’s exactly me, full of excuses. Any excuse to eat something.
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Ancient Brain in a Modern World

One thing I hear often, and am always a little surprised by, is that my clients think they’re the only ones who struggle so much with food. Are you one of those who see your overeating as a personal shortcoming, a private torment, unique to you? Surely it's self-evident that the overwhelming majority of the so-called developed world is overeating, given the problem of weight in our culture and the massive (pun intended!) dieting industry.
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Creating Desire

In my last blog I wrote that we live with a continuous, largely automatic and unconscious, two-way communication, in that our bodies have an effect on our minds and our minds have an effect on our bodies. The ‘White Coat Effect’ is a well-known example, where concern about having blood pressure checked by a doctor actually causes a rise in blood pressure. This happens so automatically it can be tough, if not impossible, to know what is creating any particular problem we may encounter.
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Desire, Craving and Preference

Whenever you eat any food you don’t really need, what you’ve done is to satisfy your addictive desire to eat. No blame intended here; it’s just that when we name it we can make progress. As you may know from my books, taking control of overeating is the process of releasing and healing this desire for excess food. To some extent, it’s likely you’ll always satisfy some addictive desire. But if you can satisfy it less often (maybe a lot less often), that would deliver the results you want. Assuming, of course, it lasts long term.
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Invisible Addiction

The next time you've got a few moments (this won't take a second) climb into your time machine, transport yourself back to 1954, and observe the people there who are smoking cigarettes. You'll see that almost all men are smoking, and they smoke in any place, at any time. You'll see that they smoke in railway stations and in trains in any carriage.
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The Calorie Myth

I’ve always been suspicious of the “calories-in-calories-out” theory of weight loss, as I just wouldn’t accept that 400 calories of Sugar Puffs could have the same effect on my body as 400 calories of kale. So I was especially interested to see a book published recently titled "The Calorie Myth". Written by Jonathan Bailor, it’s the result of more than 10 years of investigation, and contains a very satisfying collection of references to research papers. Bailor proposes that the amount of fat we carry on our bodies doesn’t depend on the quantity of calories we eat as much as the quality of the food those calories came from.
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The Reason I Think

I read the bestseller, “Love Is Letting Go Of Fear” when it first came out, way back in 1979. Its strength is in the clear and direct way it’s written, and one chapter title stayed with me: “I am never upset for the reason I think.” I’m not going to pretend that I’m always on board with this idea. When I’m upset I feel sure I know exactly why - but I find that simply being curious about it has always paid off.
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Q&A: “Sweet Poison”

The Times "Body and Soul" section last weekend had a two-page feature about sugar addiction, all about a new book called "The Sweet Poison Quit Plan". Do you know the book and what do you think of it?
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The Elephant of Addiction

Do you know the fable about four blind men who discover an elephant? Each of them grabs hold of a different part, and proceeds to describe the animal from that perspective. The man with his arms around a leg declares that an elephant is like a tree trunk. The man who holds an ear disagrees because he's sure an elephant is a flat piece of leather, while a third holds the tail, saying an elephant is something like a length of rope.
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