The Pleasure Principle

Am I dating myself with that title? It’s not exactly a classic song, far from it, yet it evokes a certain era when things, at least to me, seemed more fun, easier, less pressured. I am off topic already and I haven’t even written the first paragraph. I have to tell you that I deliberately haven’t watched Glee yet this week because I didn’t want to reference it once again in this forum and as much as I want to………

Let’s instead talk about Jennifer Lopez. Did I ever tell you the story about the time when she was shooting a movie in my neighborhood – they are always shooting movies in my neighborhood; it’s often like a back lot but all this shooting clogs up the streets and generally inconveniences those of us who live there. Anyway, it was her last big movie, if you can call it that, The Back Up Plan and it was the final day of shooting and there were people everywhere – fans, paparazzi and me trying to walk my dog. Neither I nor Remington take too kindly to being told when to stop walking and Remington has particular places where he likes to attend to his duties and no where else will suffice.

So, we are walking down the street and the paparazzi are behind a barrier and J-Lo is behind another and the lights are on and the cameras are in place and wouldn’t you know it, Remington decides to stop right in front of Jennifer to take care of some business – if you know what I’m saying. The paps were in hysterics and there must have been millions of flash bulbs going off – it didn’t phase Rem in the least – he is destined for superstardom.

That is not my point however, I simply wanted to bring up the fact that on AI, after almost showing her cooch (should I be using that word –well I guess there are worse) last week, she returns this week looking like a Puerto Rican mama from the Bronx (all of which is true) with a big fake flower in her hair. Speaking of AI, Sheryl Crow as the mentor- really – can anyone out there say, “jump the shark.” Ok, one more thing about J-Lo and this is a compliment – she actually dances better than Britney Spears – not as well as Britney Pierce (ok, one little Glee reference – give me a break)

What I really wanted to discuss this week is pain. I sprained a muscle in my back on Easter weekend and have been in excruciating pain at times ever since. I have been getting physical therapy and Shane has been helping and today for the first time, I actually feel really good; but, these past two weeks has me thinking an awful lot about overeating or not as much overeating as about eating not so health foods.

I immediately wanted all of my comfort foods. I wanted pleasure from somewhere and as a recovering overweight person, I wanted it from food. Granted, I would never let that happen because I would never want to go back to being overweight again and like alcoholism or any other addiction, one cookie can soon escalate into an entire chocolate cake; and like the plus size models on ANTM – the large girl always gets thrown off the show, no matter how good her pictures are. Yes, there was one cycle in 16 where the plus size model actually won; but in this season, there was a segment where she couldn’t fit into any of the clothes – whether that is a statement on her or on the fashion industry is not for me to judge – who am I kidding? I am judging from my desk. Of course it’s her – who wants to be overweight?

The phenomenon of comfort eating is something that I see in patients probably on a daily basis and the biggest obstacle to a successful life time of healthy eating. Not that there aren’t a million other obstacles such as this vending machine in a gym no less. But, we have to be particularly sensitive to the ones over which we have complete control.

Although, I have to admit that Americans have gone out of control. These next group of photos are sent courtesy of my trainer, Shane who I have enlisted as my eyes and ears to America – he does live upstate – ok Westchester but really what’s the dif – and that is America, not Manhattan. The drive- through to the McDonald’s was causing a traffic jam. Check out the inside of the McDonalds – I almost wrote restaurant – it is packed, as is the parking lot and it is a beautiful day outside. What is wrong with these pictures? It is America being its most indulgent and laziest.



















We worry about where we are going to get our next meal; and we worry about what we are going to eat; and we feed out sorrows and sadness on food; yet, I would like to share with you an e-mail I received the other day from a friend in Japan – remember them – the country that almost had a nuclear meltdown and a tsunami in the same day. Here is what she wrote:

“I don’t know how to explain this anxiety. I heard that 534 children who are under 12 years old died for tsunami and around 100 children lost both parents for that. I am very sad the children who have bright future and prospect died. I think of the children who lost parents every day. How they are doing? What they there anyone they can consult with? Things over there became better but still confused. Everybody should have at least tiny little happiness, so called ordinary life. But when all the happiness are taken away, life must be so devastated. I learned again how human life is so fragile and frail”

Now, that is something to be in pain about. That circumstance is stressful. How can we allow my back pain, your “need” for pizza; or whatever tiny blip in our life to affect us to the point where we are willing to give up feeling well and being healthy – you can run a company but can’t say no to a jelly donut – are you kidding me????

Speaking of stressful, has anyone been watching the Vampire Diaries? It is truly one of the best acted and most suspenseful shows on television right now. The season finale is tonight and will Damon die from his werewolf bite? Will the originals kill everyone is Mystic Falls? Stay tuned.

And in all my talk about reality television, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to discuss the great HBO documentary – Cinema Verite. It tells the story of the making of the original reality TV show – long before people clamored to be cast in these shows, there was a time when no one ever did it. This is the story of the Loud family from the 1970’s. The original show is actually being shown on public television stations around the country now and to watch it – it’s no RHONJ (Hurray, they are back next week!) – boring but the show introduced such taboo television topics (at the time anyway) such as homosexuality and divorce to mainstream viewers. It helped to break down the barriers that we keep hidden from each other; the secrets we don’t want anyone else to know. The show, An American Family, showed honesty. And only by being honest, not only with ourselves, but with those around us, can we ever hope to achieve our goals, aspirations, and dreams. Being honest with your food desires is an important tool in overcoming them.

We all suffer from pain; our stress is felt more acutely than those around us; but, we don’t have to succumb with negative actions. It has taken a lifetime of bad habits to get us where we are and hopefully it won’t take that long to regroup and relearn everything we learned as a child. We are in control of the food we eat, the exercise we partake in (or not) and how dedicated we are to being healthy. Consider this your twelve step program. It is just like any other addiction; except eating does not have negative connotations about it – it would if I had my way. If Dr. Fred ran the world? Hmm – scary thought but everyone would be skinny (and by skinny, I mean healthy, and by healthy, I really mean skinny) Stress can be the great motivator. We have every opportunity to use these times to make a change; learn what makes us tick and reeducate ourselves about our priorities. And, as George Eliot said, via Brothers and Sisters, “it’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

Until next time…