Recent headlines have focused on the report that 42% of all Americans will be obese by 2030. High profile people have campaigned for years against obesity. There appear to be severe consequences, if the trend is not reversed. But there are solutions.
Attendant physical maladies, soaring health costs (half a trillion dollars for starters) to address those physical symptoms, and arguable psychological impacts, including self-loathing are predicted. There is the obvious issue of impairment of mobility and agility. So, finding solutions is critical in many dimensions. We all own this challenge without excuse.
Why are individuals seeking satisfaction in food? How does one fall into the habit of being out of control? Has the notion of an economy built on consumption reached a point of absurdity? Have we been educated to believe that quantity is more important than quality?
Physical remedies, and they are legion, have not reversed the trend. Ever-changing fad diets, stapled body parts, surgery, do not correct the mental picture that leads to the problem of eating more than one needs to live an active life. Therefore, the trend has not reversed, in spite of these interventions to the human body.
It seems accepted that the image of one’s self is a factor in how we make choices, including those about eating. How do we develop that image? Do we look at family members, friends, magazines and other media to obtain a view of what we ought to be? Are any of those really the truth about us as an individual? Those impressions are, by definition, not us but someone else.
I have found by turning to gain a more spiritual view of mankind and of me in particular, that I achieve a better sense of what character traits and ways of living feel right for strengthening my sense of true self. I find that I have to forget personal self to find a better idea of me…a me that is less body and more spiritual identity. That is satisfying and does not require excess of food for validation.
The habit of turning to this more spiritual depict of mankind, including myself, defeats the old uncontrolled habits that have no ideal model beyond physique. Of course, I can’t re-order my thinking about me this way unless I am doing the same in my thoughts about others. It takes an unselfish approach to free ourselves and gain more of a sense of dominion. This dominion lessens our unnecessary consumption and focus on quantity and replaces it with balance and quality of life.
There is long-standing wisdom to help guide us in reversing this trend. I have always found the following verse from the book of Isaiah (30:21) in the Bible to be of great use in governing eating habits, along with many other aspects of life: “…thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”. That sense of intuitive presence is there at each decision point, if we pay attention. When facing the choice of eating or drinking something, which we truly do not need, we can find the strength to naturally reject it in the more perfect view of ourselves and others, as we listen to the spiritual intuitions that come from a greater Love than the love of food and body. Then there is nothing to loathe, only to appreciate.