An encouraging feature of the whole problem is that some kids realize how urgently they need help, and will ask for it. This is an audio-visual presentation in which one quotation from a young person talks about how the immediate presence of food, in front of you and within reach, just banishes any shred of motivation to develop more useful habits. The issue might be encapsulated in three words: “Can’t say no.”
In other words, the instant gratification of eating right now erases any thought of waiting for delayed gratification, which would be the weight loss they so desperately crave.
A youth is heard saying, “I just really like the way food tastes.” That might be a clue about one of the overall structural, institutionalized causes of obesity for everyone, everywhere. Processed foods can be interfered with in probably a dozen ways, and the one that has an enormous impact is the creation of hyperpalatable groceries.
The easy availability of unnaturally tasty foods is a con game and a terrible cheat. Even more sadly, almost no one realizes it. The film business will make a movie about the terrible price of messing around with atomic energy, but where is the cinematic drama about weird chemicals in the cupcakes?
Can’t say no
Kids are not oblivious to the inner contradiction, and that just makes things even worse, because then, along come a bunch of bad feelings. A teenage boy says, “After I eat, I feel horrible.” Dr. Pretlow quotes a statistic where “95% of binge eaters report regret, guilt, or anger with themselves.” This does not improve with age. Adult binge eaters regularly (and psychologically) beat themselves up for their wayward behavior.
A girl speaks, who does not even offer the excuse of being captivated by an irresistible, delicious flavor, but just eats anything that happens to be around, because it is there. “I would overeat just to eat whatever was available.”
Anyone who has ever experienced the dangerous lure of binge eating will attest that this is a bad bargain and a cold, malicious twist of fate. You get all the unattractive results, the extra pounds, and everything that comes along with them — and it wasn’t even fun. You ate two-week-old leftover lasagna without even warming it up! You might as well have long COVID, with its concomitant anosmia and ageusia — loss of the senses of smell and taste.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!