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Weight Loss Basics -- Eat To Live

Many of us, unfortunately, live to eat rather than eat to live. The distinction between the two may on its surface look like clever wordplay, but few differences are more profound. Eating to live brings long-term survival and pleasure; living to eat brings heartburn, bad conscience, and premature death.

(Ninth in a Series)

In his book, Mindfulness with Breathing, Buddhadasa Bhikku, a rather famous Buddhist monk—at least in Theravada circles—had these very wise words to say about food: “We should eat food that is food. Do not eat food that is ‘bait.’ We eat food for the proper nourishment of life. We eat bait for the sake of deliciousness. Bait makes us unwise and causes us to eat foolishly, just like the bait on the hook that snags foolish fish. We must eat the kinds of food that are genuinely beneficial for the body, and we must eat in moderation.”

That is probably the best statement on the subject of “Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat” that I have come across.

In the same book, he goes on to say: “Eating bait means eating for the sake of deliciousness and fun. It is also usually expensive. We must stop swallowing bait and learn to eat only food that is proper and wholesome.

“If you are eating bait, you will be constantly hungry all day and night. You will always be sneaking off to eat yet more bait. Eating bait impairs our mental abilities. The mind surrenders to the bait.”

Live to Eat

It is a sad testament to our western culture—especially here in America—that living to eat is a predominant philosophy, if not a religion.

Most of us, deep down, know this. We know that fruit is better than grease-dripping French fries. We know that greens and rice is healthier for the body than a thick, juicy (as in bloody) steak with baked potatoes (and scoops of sour cream).

Quite apart from the fact that we could feed seven persons with the soy beans we feed the pig that slaughtered will feed only one person—which is just bad economy—the human body does not run well on salty, greasy, high-cholesterol, high-calorie food. Yet this is the daily menu for a majority of our citizens today.

A Pact

In fact, this is so much the case that it makes one wonder: Could there be a secret pact between the Fast Food and Medical Industries? A pact that goes something like this:

Medical Industry: “As long as you keep sending them to us for expensive and very profitable treatment, we will not expose how terribly bad your foods actually are for them.”

A nodding-head Fast Food Industry: “Deal.”

This is not to say that such a conspiracy is afoot; it is to say that by the statistics alone, one is justified in wondering.

Pleasure and Taste

For many the battle comes down to taste, and the pleasure it gives.

We can go a whole day—if not a whole week, and with great anticipation—looking forward to a particular dinner course, one which in the past has given us great pleasure (enter your favorite food here). The quiet voice that tries to point out that this sumptuous meal, strictly speaking, is not at all good for us—and that afterwards we will wake up in the night with heartburn and a bad conscience—eventually goes all silent, and as comes the day, we sit down to dig in.

Short Term vs. Long Term

It may be that true pleasures are few and far between. It certainly is true that pleasure is far preferable to pain. But it is also true that long-term pleasure, say a rejuvenated body that will allow you to make that twenty mile hike to the top of Mount so-and-so—and with it that most fantastic view and feeling you’ve ever experienced—is far stronger, and far preferable to the short-term pleasure of an indulging meal.

But short term is much easier to confront than long term, and that’s the crux. Working toward long-term pleasure, and survival, takes effort, will power, and time. Even though we know the rewards outweigh the short-term pleasure by a huge factor, we would rather go with the burger in hand than the long-term survival in the woods.

Eat to Live

It takes less effort to start the car than to walk. It takes less effort to turn on the television than to read a book. It takes less effort to drive to the fast food restaurant than to cook a healthy meal.

It takes less effort to be unhealthy than healthy. It takes less effort not to live than live.

Living life to the fullest takes effort. It takes dedication and will power. It takes knowing what fuel makes your body function the best and to choose that fuel, no matter how much work is involved. It takes sticking to that resolve every day of every week, month, year.

Eating to live is not a short-term project; it’s a philosophy and a lifestyle that in the end brings far, far more happiness to those who make it, than any amount of bait ever can.

The multiTRIM Diet

All diet plans—except for the outright fraudulent onesComputer Technology Articles, and be warned: they abound—have only one goal: for you to burn more calories than you consume.

Possibly the most sensible plan we have seen in recent years is the multiTRIM diet which supplies all needed nutrients to maintain health while easing hunger in a fifteen calories meal-replacement drink.

A multiTRIM Journal

A friend recently set out to shed 143 pounds over 18 months with the help of the multiTRIM diet. The blog-record of her journey can be found here.

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho based Ulf Wolf writes about health and weight loss for various clients and publications.

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