Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Dieting Gets You Nowhere"

So says Amitai Etzioni in a recent article about his own experience of dieting. Link here.

Etzioni is certainly correct to say that dieting is more of a national obsession than a way to maintain a healthy weight.

Caught on the pendulum of following and breaking diets, more and more people are wasting too much time obsessing about their weight and body shape.

Some even see dieting as a form of body sculpting. They are not really struggling with their appetites; they are artists.

Of course, many people would do well to restrict their consumption of certain kinds of food. Others would also do well to eat a more balanced diet with fewer calories.

Somehow or other, once people start dieting they get consumed by the adventure of dieting, to the detriment of their diet and their health.

Why does this happen? First, few dieting regimens emphasize the fact that food consumption is a social ritual, best undertaken in a group.

You will probably eat less and eat better if you eat with other people.

If it’s just your mind struggling with your appetite in front of the refrigerator, at some point you are going to lose.

Why is the nation obsessed with this mind/body or mind/appetite problem?

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that it is the other side of the culture’s attitude toward sexual experience.

In our culture everyone believes that sexual impulses should never be repressed, lest you end up with cancer. Thus, people are too free with the way they express their sexuality. It makes sense that this excess would be counterbalanced by excessive constraint toward alimentary appetite.

The solution is balance and temperance. You need merely to indulge both appetites in moderation.

I hope that that clears up the problem.

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