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The war is against gluttony and dullness


In this book I take for granted that you checked thoroughly and you are sure you don't suffer from a biological disease making you gain weight. If your problem is not that you eat too much without reason, you don't need this book. I suffer from gluttony. When I realized the problem, I began to form also a clear understanding of what I had to do, even to avoid gaining back the weight I would hopefully lose. Gluttony is the urge to satisfy palate and belly, an illness that has been considered even a deadly sin: gluttony is to surrender oneself to the pleasure of taste, when you are always ready to think of food, eager to eat what you like and to fill yourself completely...


The majority are glutted like beasts”, says the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, showing that we refer to a reality that surpasses a simple fitness issue: gluttony can subordinate our mind, and this devotion to a lower object underestimates us, is a betrayal of our better self.



The power of gluttony is great, because its cause is internal and not easily realized. Self-enslavement, this most important consequence of gluttony is described vividly in a story about the ancient philosopher Diogenes. One day, Diogenes ate a dish of lentils while sitting on the threshold of a random house. In ancient Greece, if someone ate lentils for a meal, a very cheap and common food, it meant that he was in a state of destitution. An emissary from the prince's entourage passing by said: “Ah! Diogenes, if only you tried not to be so contumacious towards our prince, but more of a flatterer, you would not be forced to eat lentils all the time.” Diogenes looked up into the eyes of his rich interlocutor, and responded: “Oh, my poor brother! If only you learnt to eat a few lentils, you would not be forced to obey and flatter the prince all the time.


This story reminded me of movies like The Firm, where a company spoils its lawyers, offering a life of pleasure for them and their families. Their love for luxury made them ready to succumb to crime in order to support what became for them an irresistible addiction. Tom Cruise resisted this temptation, and you can do the same. Does this mean we should give up all pleasure and be satisfied with what we like less? On the contrary!


Especially if seen as a psychological problem, fighting gluttony is about gaining freedom: food or lack of it should not determine our will. We cannot let a dependence on unpleasant food become necessary for controlling our appetite. The problem in gluttony is not with pleasure, but with addiction. You can have pleasure and be ready to give it up when you need to, or you can sacrifice for pleasure your health, your freedom, your dignity...


Ancient Greeks emphasize measure, and this became a key concept in my fat and gluttony problem. I knew that, especially if I wanted my freedom back, I should find a way to combine pleasure with measure — eat whatever I like, and stop before I was glutted like beasts...


One thing is to understand that you need to eat less; it is different, stronger and more important, to do it as a way to be free. Gluttony is not another name for the pleasure of taste and fulfilment; it is the eagerness to obtain this pleasure and the readiness to sacrifice for it things more significant, such as your health. As you can see, gluttony resembles smoke addiction, both habits enslave but there is also a great difference.


Smoking offers an illusory pleasure, actually being nothing more than complying with the addiction to a harmful drug; food offers a real pleasure and is even useful. Food with a lot of calories, such as nuts or dark chocolate, contribute to a healthy life, requiring only a little caution. Alcohol itself is beneficial if consumed moderately. Being a source of health and of real pleasure, food can become steadily alluring even more than smoke. Awareness of this ‘mechanism' helps to develop a stronger sense of what it takes to eat less, lose weight and be free. I just quit and forgot about smoking once and for all, but how can I fight eating, when each and every day I taste and enjoy and my desire grows? Realizing this I concluded that most of all I should not allow myself to feel hungry or to stop enjoying food. Thus I arrived to the problem of negativity.


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