A feast plumps up the fat reserves. When dieters begin to over eat and fall off their diets, they generally know. But they don’t understand and they can’t help it. Really. They may find excuses: It was that cruise, or my mother’s illness, or I got sick, or I had surgery or I sprained my foot and couldn’t work out. Ofen, there is some good reason they point to. But the truth is, they just begin the feast phase because their bodies won’t put up with too little food.
So, what does a feast look like? It may start rather suddenly with binge eating: bigger portions, comfort food, sweets and high fat foods. This is obvious and pretty alarming to a dieter trying to hold on to weight loss. But a feast can be more subtle and gradual—desserts slip in more often, food quality suffers, exercise is rare. The types of foods that usually make up a feast are the classic fattening foods you never see on a weight loss diet: Ice cream, cookies, pastries, chips, candy, chocolate and fried anything—any form of concentrated calories in the form of sugar, fat, and processed carbohydrates. For example, look at the ingredients in a chocolate cake: Sugar, butter, flour, chocolate, (sugar, butter, sugar, butter, etc.). How does your body instinctively know about these ingredients? Clearly it does know, and through calculated cravings, has the power to drive you, even against your will, to eat fat producers like these. It’s what a feast is all about.
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Feasting Just Isn’t What It Used to Be
Let’s go back to the nomadic people in the past. When feasting followed a famine, the types and amounts of food they ate to recover from the famine were restricted to the natural environmental food supply. In other words, tribal peoples of the distant past could only feast on very limited types and amounts of food.
We have come a long way since those times. Unfortunately, the foods available to us for feasting are artificially packed with fat-producing ingredients. Now we know that when we diet we experience the same famines that the people who lived off the land did. The difference is that we have access to the most notoriously fattening foods for our famine recovery. This accounts for the degree of obesity and morbid obesity in our society. Are the sugar and fat-laden foods entirely to blame? Many believe that eliminating these potent fat-producers will solve the obesity problem This is naive. These foods are available to everyone and yet do not “produce” obesity in all. Even thin people eat sweets, desserts and rich foods. So, it is not the foods per se, but the role they play in dysfunctional eating patterns which make them significant contributors to weight gain. These foods interact with the feast or famine cycle to produce a perfect set up for bingeing on an epic scale.
Adaptive potential is the capacity of the individual to meet the present and future requirements of any stimulus situation. The stimulus we’re addressing is the famine experience—an intermittent limitation in the food supply. The capacity to adapt to a restricted food supply is related to famine sensitivity but also to other physical and psychological variables.
The focus of adaptive potential may be either currently based or projected into the future. Fat accumulation in bodies exposed to famine is a positive adaptation because it prepares the body for survival during future famines. Again, this suggests that your weight problem, however painful for you, is a very good thing for your body.
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