Reading is Sexy: The End of Overeating

I mentioned this book a few weeks ago, and lucky me! My photographer/big-hearted/new runner/world-traveler friend Richard gave it to me as a birthday gift.

The book has created a stir in the smarty-pants/geek world; boingboing has included multiple mentions recently.

I just finished reading this great interview with Dr. Kessler in the Washington Post (“Crave Man: David Kessler Knew That Some Foods Are Hard to Resist; Now He Knows Why”), and it’s got me really excited to start the book. Just need to finish my new Jack Reacher novel first.

Striking quotes from Dr. Kessler in the Washington Post that I haven’t read elsewhere:

Kessler, 57, sees parallels between the tobacco and food industries. Both are manipulating consumer behavior to sell products that can harm health, he said.

Whether government ought to exercise tougher controls over the food industry is going to be the next great debate, especially since much of the advertising is aimed at children, Kessler said.

“The food the industry is selling is much more powerful than we realized,” he said. “I used to think I ate to feel full. Now I know, we have the science that shows, we’re eating to stimulate ourselves. And so the question is what are we going to do about it?”

… and…

What’s needed is a perceptual shift, Kessler said. “We did this with cigarettes,” he said. “It used to be sexy and glamorous but now people look at it and say, ‘That’s not my friend, that’s not something I want.’ We need to make a cognitive shift as a country and change the way we look at food. Instead of viewing that huge plate of nachos and fries as a guilty pleasure, we have to . . . look at it and say, ‘That’s not going to make me feel good. In fact, that’s disgusting.’ ”

Man! I couldn’t agree more. I, personally, need to move beyond the idea that eating food that’s bad for me is “fun” and “a treat.” It’s not. It’s abusive and unproductive and unkind. But even knowing that, the allure of pepperoni pizza and deep-fried anything is hard to resist.

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