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Okay, so the title of this entry, given these posts are about weight control, would imply what comes next is a dissertation about the nutritional content of turkey.  Nope.  I want to focus on the concept of quitting behavioral activities immediately, i.e. stopping “cold turkey”.  

Before we begin the discussion, the question arises:  Where did the expression “cold turkey” come from, in referencing the stoppage of certain behavioral patterns?  This apparently dates back to 1921 when a Canadian article referred to an addiction doctor:  “Perhaps the most pitiful figures who have appeared before Dr. Carleton Simon are those who voluntarily surrender themselves. When they go before him, they [drug addicts] are given what is called the ‘cold turkey’ treatment.”  At that time “cold turkey” referred to plain speak, and it is thought that Dr. Simon used very simple/plain techniques in his approach to patients.  Another thought was the drug addict withdrawing is cold, gray and sort of fits the look/concept of “cold turkey”.

When we hear the expression “Quitting cold turkey” our first thoughts go to people stopping cigarette smoking, drugs or alcohol usage.  For those people addicted to these activities, trying to get them off of these often requires abrupt/immediate cessation.   If the addict is allowed to continue even to a lesser extent their deleterious activities the chances are slim to none that complete success will ever occur.

I have often heard the thought process that “food is different”.  Yes, we do need food for sustenance so we cannot quit eating “cold turkey”.  BUT, we do NOT have to eat, for sustenance, chips, fries, cookies, ice cream OR drink alcohol.  These, and many more derailing food and drink sources CAN be quit “cold turkey”.  I have had numerous patients tell me that if they get the taste of a small amount of their derailing foods/drinks, they cannot stop.  Therefore, they do need to quit “cold turkey” because similar to the cigarette smoker “cutting back”, they will continue to indulge in these behavioral patterns that will ultimately sabotage their long-term weight control efforts.

Try to identify the “usual suspects”, i.e. the food and drink sources that are derailing your weight control efforts and consider stopping these “cold turkey”.  If you need the help of medications temporarily to help, hop back into our program as you adjust to the “withdrawal”.

And as for real “cold turkey”…an excellent Phase One choice for weight control!