Review: The End of Overeating by Dr. David Kessler

I finished the book over the weekend an it’s given me pause.  As I mentioned before it’s an easy read. I read most of it Saturday morning in bed and Sunday night. It’s also a lot of interesting information in the book.  Some if it is common sense – like eating a diet high in fat, salt, and sugar is linked the obesity epidemic seen in North America and that eating food high in these 3 makes you crave more high fat, high salt, high sugar food. 

At first I was worried it was focused primarily on blaming the food industry. I have serious issues with the general lack of personal responsibility today’s society promotes.  However, he does a good job at delving into the both the psychology and the science behind overeating, and that it’s not just a matter of willpower.

The main crux of  the book is that years of eating food that is high in fat, salt, and sugar has rewired the way our brain operates in relation to food and created what he calls conditioned hypereating and to overcome this we have to in effect re-condition ourselves. 

This is something that I’d always thought. Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we can teach ourselves to change our automated reactions to various stimuli. However, this isn’t easy, nor does it happen overnight. Kessler draws many similarities between conditioned hypereating and substance abuse.  His treatment suggestions share many similiarities as well –  just like a recovering addict the key is to become aware and make conscious changes to our responses to reverse our habits; and reversing habits is more complicated than just a matter of willpower.

The book provides some valuable tools to overcoming overeating. It has reinforced my current views and shaped new ones on weight loss and how important it is to include exercise – not only because you build muscles and shed fat, but because of its effects on chemicals in the brain.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to truly change their relationship with food. Without a real change in our relationship and approach to food, sustained weight loss cannot happen.

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