The event with Dr. Doug Lisle today was truly eye-opening. I first heard Dr. Lisle speak when I was going through the process of getting my certification through Cornell and he was one of the Guest Professors. His lecture on the Pleasure Trap was absolutely engaging and one of the most interesting and insightful lectures I had heard to date. He presented that lecture again today and it was every bit as interesting the second time around.
Seeing as it is after midnight here as I type this (thus excuse any typos), I will give you the quick recap because I want you to have the information…it is that important. Having this background information is KEY to understanding WHY our nation is experiencing unprecedented weight / health problems. First and most importantly you need to understand this one piece of information:
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. IT IS NOT A WILLPOWER ISSUE. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.
THE PLEASURE TRAP
Why is it that once you know what to do it is so hard to do? Let’s get into some evolutionary psychology.
We run on instinct and all being’s instincts are to eat, survive, and reproduce (I think Dr. Lisle chose the right profession…he was not destined to be an artist, but I love the self-deprecating humor within which he shares his art!).
While each animal has their own nature, we all have the same Motivational Triad. We are all hard-wired to unconsciously make decisions using this triad. By nature we seek out pleasure, try to avoid pain, and attempt to do both by expending as little energy as possible (i.e. fish swim in schools to draft off one another and conserve energy).
The PLEASURE TRAP occurs when you take someone and put them into an environment they were not designed to handle. FOOD is now the #1 pleasure trap.
The slide above lists the most popular foods at present time. What do all of them have in common? Sugar, fat, and salt…foods that we were DESIGNED to seek out. These processed foods have a much higher caloric density than whole unrefined foods. These calorically dense foods are much more attractive to us biologically because they support the Motivational Triad by giving us pleasure, quickly eliminating the natural anxiety that accompanies hunger, and by being so calorically dense they give us the biggest bang for our buck which supports our biological need to conserve energy.
Obviously we all know that junk food is not good for us, but another detrimental effect of eating junk food is that we quickly become addicted to it. When we eat this food it definitely does trigger a pleasure response in our brain, however that pleasure response deafens with time and the same exact junk food does not taste as good to us as it originally did which makes us want/need a little bit more (i.e. During the holidays did you walk into a home with a fresh Xmas tree and notice how wonderful it smelled [stage II] and then notice that within 15 minutes you barely smelled it anymore [stage III]??? Your senses were dulled).
When it comes time to try and eliminate junk food aka the Evil Triad of fat, sugar, and salt from your diet, you are going to go through a painful withdrawal (stage IV)…whole unrefined foods are not going to taste very good to you initially since your senses were dulled.
Fortunately if you understand this process you can expect it and push through to stage V where your body has adjusted to the healthier food and truly likes it.
One of Dr. Lisle’s quotes was so powerful, “(When it comes to food) If you do the wrong thing it feels right and when you do the right thing (after having been doing the wrong thing) it feels wrong.”
Dr. Lisle did have a few suggestions to help you power through from stage IV to stage V:
- Go to jail
When he jokingly refers to jail, he is referring to going to a center such as True North or Dr. McDougall’s Health and Medical Center in Santa Rosa. These are medically supervised health centers that can really shock your systems into health in the most efficient ways.
All of the above three methods take your fat, salt, and sugar receptors offline and essentially resets them.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND
According to Dr. Lisle, there are only three species on the planet with weight problems:
It is troubling that all three of those species are primarily found within our homes and are fed by us.
Conversely, even in NATURE when food is abundant, animals still do not get fat.
Dr. Lisle made a point of debunking the slide above stating that weight problems are NOT because of psychological issues, but did emphasize that weight problems can CAUSE psychological issues.
Many people believe that we all got so heavy by eating large volumes of food, but Dr. Lisle basically broke it down to the fact that we are eating food that is too calorically dense (i.e. we could all easily eat four pieces of bread, but we could NOT as easily eat 4 cups of brown rice).
He believes that the leading cause of weight gain is oil. Apples are 300 calories a pound. Oil is 4000 calories a pound. They did a study and gave women 500 calorie plates of pasta and vegetables. There were two groups of women and both received the same plates of pasta and vegetables, however one of the groups had 300 calories of oil added to their plate for a total of 800 calories. BOTH groups of women reported the same amount of fullness after the meals! It was as if the oil went unnoticed!!!
Another interesting statistic is that between the ages of 20 and 40 women gain about 1 pound per year. NOT by massively overeating, but by systematically eating a LITTLE too much (see example above).
It has been some time since the developed world has eaten food in its natural habitat. We have been eating food that has been chewed by steel jaws (grain processed into flour) before it even gets into our mouths, processed oils instead of olives, and sugar instead of fruit.
The most powerful quote of the entire presentation in my opinion was this:
“If you are overweight you are eating foods that are too concentrated. Simple as that.”
Eat an appropriately calorie dense diet of whole unprocessed food and your body will take you where you need to be…you do not need to try and consciously eat less.
In fact, trying to deprive yourself of the proper volume of food will lead you to problems in that your biology will kick in and push you to seek those calorically dense (fat, sugar, salt) foods that we need to avoid. YOU MUST NOT GO HUNGRY or you will set yourself up for failure.
By eating less calorically dense food you are literally able to fill-up your stomach which will signal your brain that you are full and that your nutrient needs have been met.
There are strategies you can follow to assist yourself even further. Dr. Lisle suggests you eat in the following order:
You don’t need to be perfect to overcome your weight problems. Dr. Lisle coached a woman who was approx 350 pounds and the ONLY change she made was to have oatmeal for breakfast. In one year she lost 70 pounds!!!
While our biology means that we will always have to look over our shoulders a little bit, knowing WHY and understanding WHY helps us conquer those issues in today’s modern world of excess.
I wished you were all able to be there today to hear Dr. Lisle speak live…he is much more dynamic and engaging than my recap can ever be. Did any of you catch the Livestream of the lectures? What did you think?
Gretchen , Julieanna Hever, Chef AJ (Joking as usual!), The Event Planner, Dr. Doug Lisle
~I will post some of the Q and A from the event at a later date. Valuable stuff!!!