An old Italian proverb says, ‘He who is master of his stomach is master of his health’.
Unbalanced nutrition, which sooner or later leads to health issues or a shorter life span, is the result of treating our stomach with no care. The most common recklessness is trying to fill it with as much food as possible. Meanwhile, according to the worldwide statistics, obesity is a clear number one among diseases of dietary excess.
Obesity is a condition caused by improper diet that results in metabolic disorders. People struggling with this condition have a deformed body shape, suffer from bad posture, experience changes in gait, and quickly lose their ease of movement. This is followed by moral discomfort, which leads to changes in lifestyle and a desire to be left alone. Obesity is a tricky condition. It’s tricky in that, besides their friends and relatives, obese people deny the problem themselves and make no attempt to resolve it. This carefree period lasts for quite a long time. Such people usually visit a doctor when the problem reaches the stage where serious health issues have developed. Obesity contributes to cardiovascular diseases and disorders of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
Before sitting down to a meal, you should be absolutely positive you are hungry and not driven by your false appetite.
Horace Fletcher (an American dietitian and mastication method advocate, also known as “The Great Masticator”) suggests we should recognize hunger the following way:
‘Don’t eat until you have a true hunger, which can be relieved by simple bread. Wait for this hunger!’
In one of his books, academician N.M. Amosov states that he eats only when a couple of slices of rye bread start looking like a delicacy.
Unlike malnourishment, excessive food consumption is usually accompanied by physiological adaptation when, regardless of the person’s consciousness, the absorption and utilization of nutrients decrease. The absorption and digestion of food become less effective than on a healthy diet, and more nutrients are excreted in feces. Decreased absorption is due to nutrients being oxidized to low-molecular compounds in the liver, which are delivered to the kidneys and then excreted with urine.
As we see, our adaptation to excessive food consumption plays a favorable role and regulates our nutritional disorders, i.e. overeating. The trouble is, though, that the adaptation process significantly varies in different people, depending on individual factors. There are people, of a relatively young age, who have very weak adaptive capabilities or lack them altogether, so that any case of overeating triggers an increase in the body mass. In addition, as we age, adaptation typically decreases. Sometimes, it decreases so fast a person may start rapidly gaining weight ‘overnight’.
So overloading your stomach with an abundance of food, not very clean ecologically and badly chewed, is irrational for a number of reasons, the most important one being it may lead to unexpected consequences. When we have a full stomach, all physiological processes in our body become painful and abnormal. This necessarily affects the well-being and causes the constant feeling of heaviness and discomfort, provoking anxiety and fear, especially during sleep. Naturally, such a state of mind doesn’t leave much room for creative work.
Professor Freinberg from the University of Hamburg offers a curious classification of overweight people. He distinguishes between the following types:
The feeling of hunger overwhelms them completely and suddenly. They throw themselves on food as if obsessed and never ‘come unstuck’ until they cannot swallow another piece.
They’re always hungry. As soon as chewers open their eyes, they begin to eat. They can’t eat like normal people (at certain hours) and chew ceaselessly.
They don’t feel hunger but, when offered food to their taste, will devour it non-stop and in unspeakable amounts.
They feel hungry at night and don’t feel full no matter how much they eat. They have trouble sleeping and rush back to eat right after waking up. In the morning, they have no appetite, which doesn’t seem as much of a surprise. But come evening, everything starts all over again.
Of course, we must take our hunger into account, but what we should remember as well is that, when it comes to food intake, it can fail us. It’s quite useful to adjust our appetite by regularly controlling our body mass.
There is an English proverb telling us that one-third of health problems comes from bad cooks and two-thirds of them come from good ones.
It’s hard to argue with Luigi Cornaro, who said, ‘Moderation in food purifies our feelings, lends lightness to the body, makes our moves quicker and our actions correct. Refraining from the excesses of food is the best way to avoid suffering from other excesses. The excesses of food are deadly’.
The prominent thinkers of the past, who considered restraint from food the greatest virtue of a rational individual, claimed its direct relationship not only with human health, but also with one’s integrity and outlook.
What Can Be Done for Prevention and Treatment of Obesity?
The scientific basis for the modern approach to the prevention and treatment of obesity is the balanced nutrition theory, which has the following essential requirements:
– Achieving energy balance.
– Following the correct ratio of basic nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
– Following the correct ratio of plant and animal proteins.
– Establishing a ratio of sugar and starch.
– Establishing a ratio of plant and animal fats.
– Balancing minerals. Since obesity is the result of energy imbalance and energy comes from carbohydrates and fats, controlling the consumption of these nutrients is especially important.
One of the necessary conditions for treating obesity is limiting salt consumption and water intake (up to 1-1.5 liters a day).
Another factor contributing to obesity is low physical activity, which causes excess energy to accumulate in the body and provokes weight gain.
A significant role in the development of obesity is also played by genetics.
Lovers of fad diets which require starving your organism should know the following:
– children have a lower ability to resist starvation and, if starved completely, may not survive.
– older people, whose metabolism is at a lower level, may starve for longer periods than young people.
– women resist starvation better than men. The more fat the body has, the longer it can resist being starved.
Starving people experience a sudden decrease in or a complete loss of sex drive, interest in life, the instinct of self-preservation, behavior control and the feeling of tact or shame, all while becoming more selfish and aggressive towards others.
Particularly harmful and dangerous are fad diets that recommend treating some health issues with insufficient food intake. This entails giving up or significantly curbing the consumption of products containing the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutritional elements. The modern nutrition science holds that a human body is quite limited in its capacity to adapt to deficiency in certain nutrients. Indeed, to function properly, the human body requires that all its processes not deviate substantially.
As research suggests, the key to living a long life and retaining many of our abilities into old age is moderate diet combining both animal source and plant products, especially fruits, vegetables and dairy. Long-livers usually don’t eat much meat and do it rarely, though not refraining from it altogether. They eat products that are natural and organic. As a rule, they are non-smokers and abstain from strong alcoholic drinks; dry wine, however, has a prominent place in their diet. Long-livers have a sound mind, avoid any stress and over many decades are engaged in active work without too much strain.
Another solution to fighting obesity has been proposed by combined diet theorists, who offer a number of measures to achieve this goal.
Here is what they suggest:
- Eat only when hungry (Hippocrates, Avicenna, Socrates and others, as well as the theory of rational and balanced nutrition).
- Before main meals, eat some salad made of raw plant products. It will relieve the initial hunger, and you will eat less afterwards. In our opinion, this is quite arguable: some people eat salad to boost their appetite, so they can eat more.
- When having a mild ‘hunger attack’ between meals, have a drink (for instance, mineral water, fruit tea or herbal infusion) or eat some fresh fruit.
4.Make a daily habit of doing something for your fitness (Hippocrates, Avicenna, Plato and many others).
5.Try to find out why you tend to experience uncontrollable hunger.