The past week I have been working my way through The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. I enjoy non-fiction but usually pick memoirs which have a more story-like quality to them. This book was a bit drier than a memoir, but also covered a topic I am interested in. Before becoming a teacher librarian, before becoming a classroom teacher, I worked in a health club and also have a degree in Fitness Management. The college classes I took were in nutrition, kinesiology, physiology of exercise....so this book is one that really interested me. Plus, I am probably an overeater myself. I am the type of person who thinks about food and then is not really satisfied or able to put that food out of my mind until I get it. According to Kessler a large portion of the population has this problem. Some people are overweight because of it, while others compensate for this by exercising vigorously (that would be me). Kessler goes on to explain how many foods we have available to us are created with the idea of the food being the stimulus for a reward (the feeling we get while eating them). Restaurants and other food manufacturers create foods with that in mind. Over time America's waistlines are expanding but so are the portion sizes. Kessler is able to show how America has reached the status of being a nation of excess (probably in more ways than their eating). While I wish merely reading this book would take away my desire to eat certain foods when I hear their name or when I drive by certain restaurants, Kessler also gives some advice for trying to end this behavior. Basically, there is not an easy fix. Part of the battle is finding a way to avoid places that may trigger the desire for a much loved food. And developing a series of times when you are successful at resisting temptation will also help because you are building a pattern of good responses. As Kessler points out, overeating is like an addiction. Other addicts have to quit their vice completely and have support groups such as AA. Eating is something you can't stop doing, so you are confronted with the temptation to fall back into bad behaviors numerous times a day.
While I wish simply reading this book could end my own fascination with some foods, Kessler's research is interesting and his points for dealing with this problem are helpful. I will have to see how able I am to take his advice and apply it to my own life.