Monday, July 15, 2013

hearing what we want to hear

I've been re-reading Adele Hite's "As the Calories Churn" series -- and it's time for another episode, dear!  ;-)  ... SO many quotable moments here!  I was tempted to take a chunk out of her first article, which talked about how our dietary guidelines don't just ignore the science, but virtually put their fingers in their ears and say "lalalalala" to drown out the truth of our problem....

But continuing on through the first and into the second installment, i was inspired by a whole 'nother idea:  that when people read studies or the articles, discussions and twitter-storms that follow, how often their personal predilections cause them to zero in on PARTS of the message that jibe with their very own desires!

It's human nature.  The previously-fat-deprived individual hears the Good News a la Atkins, and the immediate take-away is, "i can eat all the bacon i want!!!  :-D" -- except Atkins never told us to stuff ourselves with ANYTHING.  He said to eat till we're satisfied, and pay attention to our bodies' cues so that we'll get ENOUGH, but not overload.  Conversely, the carb-addicted individual will read the voices of reason in the paleo-blogosphere and hear, "carbs are GOOD for you -- you just burn them off, and they aren't stored as fat", whereas if they were paying attention to the fine print, they'd have noticed that the caveat that causes their interpetation to be true is IF THE CARB-EATER IS BURNING GAZILLIONS OF ENERGY UNITS while in serious athletic training ... and even then candy is not an appropriate source of carbohydrate.  Sedentary individuals need not apply (this factoid to their personal experience).

The Oscar Wilde's maxim, "nothing succeeds like excess" is a very popular concept when it comes to indulging our hedonistic whims, but it really isn't as good a personal motto as "discretion is the better part of speeding valor" (oops, i was telling you my DRIVING motto, not my LIVING one).  I've always been fond of "procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday," too, and other Archie-isms....

"Truth" is likely to lie somewhere between what we HATE and what we want to hear.

On a more Ernest note -- doggone it, once i start down that Wilde road it's hard to turn back -- on an EARNEST note, once we have hit that midlife speedbump, the time for manic abandon is pretty much over!  The bacon or sweet-potato (or beer) orgies that we used to be able to indulge in our twenties with NO repercussions, and which we were able to recover from pretty quickly in our thirties, can now cause a lot more lasting damage.  A wheat, lettuce or cheese binge can make me miserable for a week.

I've digressed, which easily happens when i get in a whimsical mood.  ;-)  But yeah -- it's a temptation to read what we want to, when ambiguous research reports come within our radar.  If the message tends toward ANY extreme, we should look on it with much more cynicism than may come naturally.  Any GOOD study is likely to tell us nothing that's entirely new or revolutionary;  people HAVE been doing "good science" for a long time, even if the media pass it along very poorly, and bloggers do marginally better/worse.  The best we can hope for are refinements of what we already know.


  1. Anytime somebody asks me about LC or paleo diets now, I suggest they get a good book on the subject, with a plan they can live with, and follow it to the letter. There are so many misconceptions out there to begin with, when we look for things we want to be true, we can miss the mark by a mile.

    1. I think that's wise! my husband seems to want to just let me tell him what to eat, and that's causing a bit of confusion, because the tweaks I've worked out for myself are not the tweaks that are best for him.... :-P I can't get him to read the books himself, and when I try to teach him a little theory, his eyes tend to glaze over!

  2. Are we not all be guilty at times of hearing what we want to hear, and in some cases reading what we want to see. We have to see through this and be honest, at least try to be honest with ourselves (some people find this difficult) but what do we want and what is the best way forward for us.

    All the best Jan

    1. no doubt about it, Jan! ...incidentally, i think it's great that you've embraced low-carbing (and are thriving on it), given that you don't "have to" like some people! a lot of the negative press around LC dietary measures carries on about the fact that ALL low-carbers are overweight and unhealthy, and it's SO difficult to stick to, that people without an overwhelming health reason to limit themselves just CAN'T.... YOU are a splendid poster-girl proving that it just isn't true!