Why People Get Fat

For the same reason people get hooked on meds and/or heroin.  From an NIH study:

 And yet there is substantial experimental evidence that refined sugar can promote addictive behaviours by activating the brain’s rewards centres in much the same way as addictive drugs…These connections have led to questions of whether excessive consumption of refined sugar may affect vulnerability to opioid addiction.

So sugar could be a gate-way drug to heroin.  Kevin Cann on the similarities between sugar and heroin:

High sugar foods can cause similar reactions as what we see with heroin.  Excessive amounts of sugar (as well as fat) can lead to the release of increased amounts of dopamine.

Sugar works like an opiate.  Like heroin, it reduces emotional suffering (anxiety and/or depression), and makes physical pain tolerable.

Obesity Rate and Mental Illness
Obesity rate in the US has tripled since 1980.  Same with mental illness.  Not claiming there’s a link.  Just saying.

Emotional Eaters
Self-control isn’t the problem, there’s something else going on. The person who spends more time fantasizing about carbs than does a 17 year old boy about genitals is emotionally similar to the 20 year old who can’t get it up anymore when the real deal happens because of his porn addiction. You can’t truly enjoy food when you’re obsessed with it, just as you can’t enjoy sex when it’s all you think about.

Who are Emotional Eaters?
They’re comparable to those who get PTSD.  University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson on who gets PTSD:

 

Summary for those of you who don’t want to watch it:

  • The naive get PTSD because they’re not emotionally ready to face monsters, especially the monster within.
  • The naive aren’t virtuous.  They’re emotionally corrupt infantalized adults who want a life they don’t deserve and will never happen.
  • Monsters are everywhere.  When the circumstances are right, they appear.
  • Those who don’t get PTSD recognize the monster within and in others. They’ve spent their lives preparing to face monsters.
  • The ones who blame the Monsters for their trauma will never recover.
  • Become virtuous by recognizing the monster within — “become dangerous” — and taming it to serve the greater good.

Similarly, emotional eating is an infantile reaction to “Fear and Trembling” (Kierkegaard), the anxiety and depression that sets in when life doesn’t happen as expected.  Food addiction is just a socially more acceptable version of heroin addiction — both make pain tolerable and are premised on living life as a series of escapes from, instead of engagement with, the harsh realities of life.

How to Lose Weight

What do you tell a fat person to help her lose weight?
a) Exercise more self- control
b) Stop trying to be happy
c) Start eating at Alive Juice Bar

Correct answer is B.  Jordan Peterson on why trying to be happy *all the time* makes people fat and/or batshit crazy:

Summary: The addicted are those who believe that one’s “natural” state should be one of happiness. When you think you’re supposed to be happy most of the time, an idea reinforced by much of American society — consider the moronic “Hi, how are you…I’m fine, how are you?  I’m fine too, thank you…” babble that the emotionally corrupt exchange with each other everyday — you’ll do whatever it takes to make what you think is “normal” a reality.  This is the mindset behind our addictions.

That it’s bad for you to try to make happiness our default state of mind isn’t a new idea, Peterson’s advice is based on readings of Classical philosophy and theology.  From the Bible to Plato to Buddhism to Kierkegaard to Nietzsche, there isn’t one significant philosopher and religion that tells people that life is supposed to be mostly happy.  All the great philosophers, all the great religions remind us that life is supposed to be cruel, lonely, and filled with random acts of violence.

The NFL player who is elated after winning a championship isn’t happy 99 percent of the time he’s playing and training.  He’s in pain, more pain than most people will ever experience.  Neither is the Olympic gymnast who wins a gold medal. Or Taylor Swift.  Or Madonna. Or the Nobel Laureate. Or the marathon runner.  The good life is supposed to be mostly pain and frustration and suffering with a few moments of happiness and even fewer ones of euphoria.  Those who understand how life is supposed to be will make something out of it, while the rest become addicts.

An employee who was on depression meds was missing work 3-4 times a month because of migraines (a symptom of depression).  She stopped getting migraines after I told her that “we’re all playing in pain.” How we understand our pain and suffering, not the pain and suffering itself, is what matters.

Nihilism
If life is supposed to be varying degrees pain with fleeting moment of pleasure, what’s the point? Albert Camus asked this question and he answered with a reading of the Myth of Sisyphus, the dumbass (that’s us!) who pushed a rock up a mountain only to watch it roll back to the bottom time over and over.  Summary of his reading:

You can either watch other people’s rocks roll down or be pushing yours up and up, despite knowing that someday and often it too will roll down the hill.

In the end, we die. The rock wins, we lose.  Unless you believe in God’s grace.

How to Love Monsters
Not that hard.  Imagine you get the cutest puppy in the world.

Which one of the Monsters do you pick?

First week she pisses and shits on your new rug.  Second week she chews up your Bottega Venetta bag and Zanotti sandals. Third week she chews the passenger seat of your new car.  Fourth week she steals your steak dinner while you take a piss.  Fifth week she sneaks off and brings back a dead chicken, likely from a house three blocks away.  Hate your Monster yet?

Yet it’s possible to love her.  You house-train her.  You teach her to chew on her toys and not your fashion.  You build a yard that includes a six foot fence and chicken wire underground so she doesn’t sneak off to wreck havoc. You run with her and take her to dog parks so she unleashes her energy constructively. And you learn to never, ever leave your food unattended while she’s around.

Point is, you learn to love by working with human nature and not by trusting anyone 100 percent.  You don’t let your boyfriend go on vacation to Bangkok with his buddies because you know what they’re going to do there.  You don’t marry the stripper half your age without making her sign a prenup agreement.  You don’t let your husband drive your drunk sister home. You’re not surprised to find barely legal porn in your just deceased grandfather’s collection.  You just keep pushing the rock up and up and start over when you lose grip and it falls back to the bottom, which is going to happen a lot.  So don’t take it personally when your wife fucks your best friend, just as you shouldn’t kick your dog for eating your dinner.

How do you build a child’s immune system so she doesn’t become a sickly adult?

Pick:

a) Protect her from germs and bacteria
b) Expose her to germs and bacteria
c) Educate her about germs and bacteria so she can make her own decisions

Correct answer is B.  How resilient an immune system a person has is determined by the range of germs and bacteria he’s exposed to in the first 5 years of life.  That’s why babies who grow up in homes with dogs and cats become healthier adults than counterparts without pets.  So how do you build a child’s tolerance for stress and trauma so she doesn’t end up an addict?

Final Thought

Philosopher Theodor Adorno, living in the US after fleeing Nazi Germany, called Walt Disney the most dangerous man in America.  Why would he say that?

Walt-Disney-disney-35619887-492-492

Was Walt Disney as dangerous as Hitler?

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