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                                      Lesson 8

                    Should We Diet in Order to Keep Fit?

                                        Text

                        How Does It Feel to Lose Weight?
Here is a conversation between a heart specialist and a heart patient.

Vic:   I've been feeling very lonely. I can't explain it, I'm in a crowd but I  
  feel lonely. And so today, .I tried to get in touch with it . The
  loneliness and sadness are there because several things are going on.
  One, I don't like my body. Two, I am very angry with my body for having
  heart disease.

 

Dean:   Do you want to do an imagery exercisel?
Vic:   Yes.
Dean:   Okay, Please close your eyes and put yourself in a meditative
  state. If at any time you feel like this is not something you want to
  do, I'11 rely on you to tell me that. Begin by visualizing your
  body. What kind of image do you get?
Vic:   Just mounds of flesh. A wall of fat.
Dean:   Imagine that your body has a voice of its own. Tell it hello.
  Ask it to just say hello to you, just to identify itself. Does it?
Vic:   [pause] it says "hello" back. I'm amazedl Its voice is different from
  mine.

 

Dean:   Ask it if it has a name.
Vic:   It says, "Fat ."
Dean:   Ask "Fat" what is its purpose in your life.
Vic:   [pause] It says, "To give me support. To shield me. To protect me."
Dean:   Ask it what it is shielding you from.
Vic:   It says, "From everyone. I'm your best friend."
Dean:   In what way is it your friend?
Vic:   It says, "I've been protecting you."
Dean:   Ask it what it has been protecting you from.
Vic:   It says, "You don't have to do a lot of things because you're fat. "
Dean:   Ask it if it's protecting you from anything else?
Vic:   [pause] Yes, it says it's been protecting me from my feelings.
Dean:   Okay-ask it if it's protecting you from any feelings in particular.
Vic:   [pause] It says, "From loneliness."
Dean:    When it says that, do any other images or feelings come to your
  awareness?

 

Vic:   Somehow I remember getting fat when I was seven. I see myself going      
  into a room feeling like I was all right, and finding out I was not
  all right . So my life has been about justification. Justification
  about being all right. Being accepted. So I used food as a friend.
  My fat says it protects me from feeling bad. I have a lot of
  resistance to change. I have a lot invested in this fat. And to give
  it up is like giving up a friend. It's been a barrier but it's also
  a friend. It's a friend that gets in the way sometimes, but it
  also serves me really well. But my size limits me in what I want to
  do now.

 

  Dean:   Stay with those feelings now. Ask "Fat" what it needs from you now.
Vic:   [pause] It says that it needs to be told it's all right the way it is.
Dean:   Maybe you could start by thanking it for shielding, protecting you from
  loneliness all these years.
Vic:   [pause] All right.
Dean:   Does the wall say anything in reply?
Vic:   It agrees. It says, "It's about time."
Dean:   Good. Now ask if it would be willing to open up, to stop shielding you
  all the time. If you could find a different way to shield yourself
  when you need it-one that is easier to open and close.

 

Vic:   A replacement-is that what you are saying?
Dean   Yes. Something that you could use to shield yourself when you need it, 
  but isn' t there all the time when you want to open up. See what it says.
Vic:   [pause] It says, "Yes."
Dean:   Ask it what you need to do f or it to begin opening up.
Vic:   [pause] To get massaged. To be, perhaps, more vulnerable. To allow myself
  to be touched.
Dean:   What images or feelings come to mind of your body in that way?
Vic:   I'd feel freer.
Dean:   How would you look? Ask "Fat", the one that protects you and shields you,
  if it would give you a different image of your body. How your body
  would look if you were more open and less shielded all the time.

 

Vic:   Okay.
Dean:   What does it say?
Vic:   [pause] If I'm willing, it's willing.
Dean:   Good . W hat image do you see? You can always go back to the fat image if
  you need it.
Vic:   I see a thinner body.
Dean:   What does it look like?
Vic:   It looks thinner. But it looks disfigured The fat is very disfigured.
Dean:   How so?
Vic:   It's full of stretch marks. Saggy skin.
Dean:    Okay. What does that body have to say?
Vic:   [pause] To try and attain it anyway. To try to achieve it. That it's okay
  to have a thinner body that' s not perfect.
Dean:   Do any other images or feelings come to your awareness?
Vic:   I feel uncomfortable and sad...


II. Read
    Read the following passages. Underline the important viewpoints while reading.

                     1. We Should All Grow Fat and Be Happy

    Here's a familiar version of the boy-meets-girl situation. A young man has at last plucked up courage to invite a dazzling young lady out to dinner. She has accepted his invitation and he is overjoyed. He is determined to take her to the best restaurant in town, even if it means that he will have to live on memories and hopes during the month to come. When they get to the restaurant, he discovers that this etherial creature is on a diet. She mustn't eat this and she mustn't drink that. Oh, but of course, she doesn' t want to spoil his enjoyment. Lct him by all means eat as much fattening food as he wants: it's the surest way to an early grave. They spend a truly memorable even:ng together and never see each other again.


    What a miserable lot dieters arel You can always recognize them from the sour expression on their faces. They spend most of their tixne turning their noses up at food. 'They are forever consulting calorie charts; gazing at themselves in mirrors; and leaping on to weighing-machines in the bathroom. They spend a lifetime fighting a losing battle against spreading hips, protruding tummies and double chins Some wage all-out war on fat . Mere dieting is not enough.

They exhaust themselves doing exercises, sweating in sauna baths, being pummelled and massaged by weird machines. The really wealthy diet-mongers pay vast sums for "health cures? For two weeks they can enter a "nature clinic" and be starved to death for a hundred guineas a week. Don't think it's only the middle-aged who go in for these fads either. Many of these bright young things you see are suffering from chronic malnutrition: they are living on. nothing but air, water and the goodwill of God.


    Dieters undertake to starve themselves of their own free will so why are they so miserable? Well, for one thing, they're always bungry. You can't be hungry and happy at the same time. All the horrible concoctions they eat instead of food leave, them permanenily dissatisfied. "Wonderfood is a complete food,'~ the advertisement says. "Just dissolve a teaspoonful in water..."

A complete food it may.be, but not quite as complete as a juicy steak. And, of course, they're always miserable because they feel so guilty. Hunger just proves too much for them and in the end they lash out and devour five huge guilt-inducing cream cakes at a sitting. And who can blame them? At least three times a day they are exposed to temptation. What utter torture it is always watching others tucking into piles of mouth-watering food while you munch a water biscuit and sip unsweetened lemon juice!


    What's all this self-inflicted torture for? Saintly people deprive themselves of food to attain a state of grace. Unsaintly people do so to attain a state of misery. It will be a great day when all the dieters in the world abandon their slimming courses; when they hold out their plates and demand second helpings!


                      2. I Feel Better with Vegetarian Food

    I grew up in Texas on double cheeseburgers with hickory sauce, chili, fried. chicken, T-bone steaks, and eggs. Many people report that they lose the taste for animal foods after eating a vegetarian diet for a while, but it hasn't fully happened to me. I still enjoy the way animal foods taste and smell, but I usually don't eat them.
    Why not? Because I like the way I feel when I don't eat these foods so much more than the pleasure I used to get from eating them. I have much more energy, I need less sleep, I feel calmer, I can maintain an ideal body weight without worrying about how much I eat, and I can think more clearly (although some might debate the last point).


    I began making some dietary and lifestyle changes during my second year of college and have been eating this way ever since. I wasn't worried about coronary heart disease at age nineteen-my cholesterol levelthen was only 125 (and it still is). I began feeling better after I started eating this way, so I continue to do so. Eating this diet probably will help me to live longer, but it,s not my primary motivation. Feeling better is.


    In my clinical experience, I often find that fear may be enough motivation
for some people to begin a diet, but it's usually not enough to sustain it. As I've said earlier, who wants to live longer if you're not enjoying life?
    Since I began making these dietary changes in 1972, eating this way has become increasingly accepted. Beans and grains are becoming, believe it or not, high-status foods.


                      3. High-fat Diet, Little Strength

    You bring one of our football players in and put them on a stationary exercise bicycle and tell them to work as hard as they can for as long as they can, and you'll time them. Say the guy lasts for eight minutes, and then he's just exhausted. Then for three days you put him on a high-fat diet. He comes back in, goes on the bike and he'll last probably only six minutes. He's lost that much strength.
    Then put him on a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet for only three days, and he' 11 probably go up to 12 minutes. It makes that much difference.


            4. I Feel Great Because I've Lost All That Extra Weight!

    During my first year of college, I gained forty pounds when I began throwing the javelin. For the next twenty years, I carried all of this extra weight and kidded myself that I was in good shape since that's what I weighed in college. Now that I've lost all that extra weight, I feel great!
    People say all the time, "Well, how do you live without eating cheeseburgers or this or that?" and I say, "You just don't. It's not even an option." It's not that hard once you get on it.


    The most difficult parts for me are the social aspects of eating. For example, hamburgers were hard to do without at first because I identified eating them with fun times-sitting on the floor with the kids watching television, or in a fun place with people sitting around laughing, drinking beer and eating burgers.
    It's the same at a tailgate picnic at a football game. It was hard--not because of the foods there, but because of the social factors. But once you understand that, then you can say, "I can enjoy the social part without having to eat that food." It's more what you're doing than the food itself.



                            5. Weight Watchers

    Jean Nidetch was a professional dieter, a housewife who tried every conceivable .slimming fad, lost weight with each one, then regained it thanks to her habitually "promiscuous?eating habits. In 1961, when she sought help from the obesity clinic run by New York City's Dept. of Health, she was 38 years old and weighed 214 lb. The clinic put her on a diet by Dr. Norman Jolliffe, best known.for his "prudent diet". Convinced that she couldn't stick to it alone, Mrs.

Nidetch invited some fat friends to form a group and meet weekly to made horror stories (secret midnight binging in the bathroom) and helpful hints(put that doughnut in the freezer to cool temptation). Established in 1963, Weight Watchers expanded into an international network of clubs, with a product line of diet drinks, sugar substitutes,and publications-the McDonald's of the reducing industry. "My little private club has become an industry," wrote Mrs. Nidetch, amateur nutritionist, in The Story of Weight Watchers (1975). In 1978 the oiganization, with about $ 50 million in annual revenues and a cumulative membership of close to 2 million, was bought by Heinz Foods.