28 August 2012
Divide and Conquer: 2,504 Diet Books
Divide and Conquer. A military metaphor: in order to rule [the self] don’t allow alliances of your enemies [unfulfilled or unspecified needs].
Truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is—Nadine Gordimer, South African Nobel Prize Novelist
The overweight epidemic continues to skyrocket, with more than 2/3rds of us overweight. Most of us are unhappy with unwanted pounds that have a profound deleterious effect on our health and wellbeing.
A recent Institute of Medicine report (made into an HBO movie series) suggests that in the US, unless a clear intention is set, you will become obese simply by the food environment by which we are all surrounded. So we turn to one of the more than 2,504 diet books on the market and spend more than $40 billion dollars a year on weight loss. The claims in these books are too numerous to count, and often fail us in weight loss.
What I have gleaned in working with people who want to lose weight is that each person’s reasons for being overweight are very different. The diet books don’t work for us because the diet book addresses the authors’ reasons for excess weight, not ours. What I know to be true is that if we are eating for ANY reason other than physical hunger, we will never be thin. We may be hungry for something else, and if this is the case, that hunger must be addressed first and foremost.
If we are using food as a proxy for an unspecified and unfulfilled need, that hunger is never due to gluttony or lack of willpower. Occasionally, it is due to habits that support overeating such as restricting calories during the day then bingeing at night, or not eating enough protein to create lasting satiety. If we divide and conquer ANY self-defeating behavior, and expose the truth of why we are engaging in it, we can begin to diagnose the problem and then develop a remedy to match it.
So, if you want to take pounds off, ask yourself why you are overweight. Finding a solution to this truth is how we apply the ‘divide and conquer’ technique to banishing self-defeating patterns.
If your heart is full, you don’t feel hungry —HH Sawmi Tejomayananda
PS: I strongly recommend watching the Four Part, Emmy-nominated HBO series (free on line) from the Institute of Medicine report, “The Weight of the Nation”, to anyone struggling with overweight, especially the feature on Children and Obesity, a must-see for kids.