An Accountability from Antiquity

While in Italy this summer, it was impossible not to notice the local appreciation for the fine art of food preparation and consumption. A meal there is not only to be enjoyed; it is to be experienced.

While in Italy this summer, it was impossible not to notice the local appreciation for the fine art of food preparation and consumption. A meal there is not only to be enjoyed; it is to be experienced.


Italian culture is ingrained with a respect for food. Ancient Romans were so appreciative of their bounty that the goddess, Edesia, presided over feasts and banquets. They also had deities to care for the harvest (Ceres,) wine (Bacchus,) fruit (Frutesca,) and the list goes on...



It's hard to connect the dots between an early civilization's sacred connection with food to our own country's often unstable relationship with it. For the United States, choking on an obesity rate of over 30% makes it hard for us to embrace a celebration of food.


The way to correct this epidemic is to start thinking critically about our food choices. We need to stay aware and accountable while we stay full. Luckily, there are tools available to help us do just that.


A food log is one of the most effective agents of weight loss success. A member of my expert panel, Kristin Kirkpatrick, has provided a fantastic guide to help create a food log. While abroad, I employed this strategy to help moderate my portions and ensure that I was doing the best I could to maintain a healthy and balanced diet (you can view my results below).


It's always difficult to be removed from your normal routine, and vacation offers a multitude of opportunities to indulge or overeat. No one is perfect, and I am no exception, but you can still make healthy choices while appreciating a culturally authentic meal.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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