Chocolate-flavored foods, as well as other sweet and fatty dessert foods, are designed to turn on appetite even when your hunger has been satisfied. When such foods appear, you begin to salivate, and your pancreas begins to secrete extra insulin in preparation for dealing with the sugar in the food. Both of these reactions actually make you feel hungry, even though you have already eaten. Indeed, every cell in your body seems to turn on all over again and scream, "Eat, eat!"

Candy and most other foods that fall into what is called the "junk-food" category are very hard to resist because of their "supernormal" status. If you have a choice of one of these foods (candy, cake, pie, cookies) or a more natural food, such as fruit, the supernormal food is almost certain to win out. Thus, it becomes very hard for an overweight person to exercise an appropriate choice of foods for weight control when "supernormal" foods are present to compete with normal foods at any given meal or at snack-time.

After I hand out the bar of chocolate to our group of weight-management participants, I ask them whether they can, even in their imagination, see themselves doing exactly what it will take to live with that candy (or whatever food tempts them the most to overeat) and not eat it when it is constantly present in their environments. You might take a moment and do the same thing: can you, in your imagination, see yourself in situations with all of the foods that tempt you the most doing exactly what you are going to need to do for the rest of your life to control your weight?

If you can't even imagine yourself doing what you need to do to deal with these situations effectively, how can you ever expect to do it in reality?

Because it is a natural physiological reaction to "turn on" in the presence of "supernormal" foods, the very best strategy for permanent weight management is to control their presence, that is, rarely allow yourself to be in their presence so that you do not have to battle constantly with temptation.

But such control over yourself or your environment is not always possible. I know many of you will have families that bring junk food in unexpectedly, and you may feel that the persons in your family who do not have a problem with their weight should not have to be inconvenienced by your desire to eliminate junk food in the home. Besides, wouldn't it feel great to know that you can control your "binging" without gaining weight? Although we normally do not keep quantities of high-calorie foods around the house, right now we have been celebrating the Christmas holidays with visiting house guests and dinner parties. We have one of my wife's incomparable chocolate cheesecakes in the refrigerator, one of my daughter's delicious pumpkin pies right out on the kitchen table, and a quart of my own homemade rum-raisin ice cream in the freezer. (The ice cream is pretty good, too.) Twenty-two years ago I might have overeaten and gained weight with all of these delicious desserts around the house, but not today. I am enjoying these creations - every single one of them - but in moderation.



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Dr. Benjamin Siegel, a research pathologist at the University of Oregon in Portland, found in experiments that vitamin Ñ not only "significantly increased… immune responses," but also raised the blood level of interferon, one of the body's most potent germ fighting chemicals.

In short, vitamin Ñ aids every part of your immune system: it strengthens the integrity of all the immune cells, makes them work more efficiently, and maintains the whole range of necessary helper chemicals.

Dr. Linus Pauling, the eminent biochemist and two-time Nobel Prize winner, has long been known for his research showing that vitamin Ñ helps cure and prevent the common cold. A recent study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports this, reporting that volunteers had 20 percent fewer cold symptoms when taking vitamin C, and that it prevented colds in a large number of subjects.

I have often seen this in my practice. Sally was a delightful, vivacious woman of about thirty-five who came to me last year. Her complaint was simple: she got sick all the time. Scarcely three weeks went by that she wasn't either coming down with a cold, in bed with one, or just recovering. For Sally, winter meant a steady progression of dreary, drippy, uncomfortable colds, throat infections, running nose and eyes. Summer was hardly any better.

"For a while I thought they came from Kenny," she said, referring to the eager four-year-old who sat on her lap. "You know how kids are always bringing bugs home, but none of the other mothers I know have it this bad. I feel like I must be keeping Kleenex in business, Doctor," she joked. "Isn't there something I can do?" Her tests showed she was free of any hidden problems that would explain her symptoms, but she was often under a lot of pressure, which can deplete vitamin C. Clearly, she needed an immune power boost, so I prescribed a program high in vitamin C.

I wondered how it had worked for Sally, because she hadn't been back into my office since she started the program. Then, over a year later, I ran into her at a local restaurant. "Well, Doctor, I wish I could report that I haven't had a cold all year, but I can't." She grinned mischievously. "I had one. Period. Considering that's about a dozen less than last year, I'd call your treatment a success!"


Weight Loss