Your normal weight is dependent upon three factors: height, age and skeletal structure. Naturally the weight of the individual should alter through the several stages of life. And, quite as naturally, the amount and kind of food needed to maintain the proper weight will also vary, dependent upon the person’s occupation and general activity.
To say that overweight is the result of overeating is like saying that a fire is the result of a match. Who struck the match? What caused the overeating? Overeating is not a cause but rather a result. Have you noticed how your eating habits vary when you are occupied and when you are not occupied: when you are lonely and when you are not; when you are tense and when you are relaxed? The busy, satisfied and relaxed people of the world are rarely overweight. The idle, lonely and nervous people frequently are.
When you are not occupied and feel that you should be, you eat to excuse your idleness. (“I’ll do it after supper – after I have a sandwich – as soon as I’m through eating – one must eat, you know.”)
When you are lonely, you eat to replace the satisfaction of friendship. When you are nervous, you eat to forget the cause of that tension or despair. Here again is proof of the inseparability of mind and body.
The unfortunate result of unhappiness is not only overeating, but consuming worthless, fattening foods. The act of replacing some need of mind or soul with body food is a form of blackmail. You are “buying off” the mind through ransom paid the body. Naturally this ransom must be a luxurious one. That is why the unhappy people of the world dote on chocolates, ice-cream, rich cakes and the like. And here a ridiculous contradiction frequently takes place. The unhappy soul stuffs him or herself with appetite-murderers and frequently neglects the essential foods for health. Thus, contradictory as it may appear, many people are a stone and a half and two stone overweight and yet anaemic, undernourished, suffering the ravages of malnutrition!
I have long realized the truth in the words “Happiness is medicine.” You must come to realize this too, for it is an undeniable law of nature.
The underweight people of the world are also “frequently products of a mental rather than a physical condition. You have seen the “drivers” of our world, those who throw themselves into their work without a thought to their well-being. They are frequently the victims of the “success philosophy,” believing that only wealth and power bring happiness. They drive themselves and their fellow workers to the peak of production and creativity, but they usually have to be driven to the table to eat. What they eat does them little good, going through their bodies like mercury as they tear back into their dedicated labour. The man who thinks that life is all work and the one who believes it all play usually both lands on the scrap-heap years before their time.
I will not be foolish enough to claim that underweight and overweight are purely the result of a mind without peace; but I will maintain that anguish, nervousness, despair and disdain for fellow humans, one or all of these, are either the cause of, or a major contributing factor to underweight and overweight conditions as well as to much of the physical ills of the world.
In dieting to gain or lose weight, two dangers must be avoided. The underweight person must avoid increasing his intake of calories while ignoring the basic food requirements and the overweight must beware of haphazardly decreasing his food intake, thus depriving the body of minimal energy, bone, blood and nerve nutrients. The basic diet for all should contain some organically grown foods and a full share of all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy body and mind. Above all, beware of the fad diets which guarantee to build you up or tear you down in twenty-four hours. These “Seven Days to Health” and “Ten Days to Beauty” programmes are a fraud, at best, and a hazard to your very life, at worst.
There is no overnight diet to total health. More precisely, there is no diet to total health. The food you eat is but one element in the pattern of your life. The road to health does not begin with your stomach alone, or your skin or your feet or mind, but with all of these and more. The road to health is that which we pave with a life lived in complete harmony with nature.
“A Complete Guide To Healthy Eating,” an article in my online wellness journal outlines several food programmes which, when added to a life in total harmony with nature, will help to provide you with the sparkling health that should be yours. There you will find food programmes designed for the underweight, overweight, as well as others. These were carefully prepared with the aim of providing the healthiest, tastiest and most natural food programme for each person’s needs. In reading through these wisely chosen diets, recall the words of Socrates, “Some men live to eat. I eat to live.”