23. Questions & Answers
If we are to eat only when truly hungry, and should not eat late in the evening, how do we resolve a conflict between these two principles?
The principle preoccupation should be the correction of the habit of overeating (or of eating undesirable foods). If the day's program prevents taking meals at customary times, or if you are simply not hungry when the meals are served, and then find yourself with a compelling desire for food during the evening, it would seem best to satisfy your appetite with a fruit meal, which may leave the stomach in a half hour or an hour, depending on the varieties eaten. I sometimes do this when I am away from home during the day, do not wish to eat the food that is available, and prefer to wait to eat my good fruit meal at home.
Winston Churchill was a famous gourmand and cigar smoker, yet he lived past the age of 90. How do you explain this?
The first and more important fact that determines our longevity is our heredity—our genes. Winston Churchill's long life was not due to his gormandizing and cigar smoking—it was in spite of it. If a man with such genes were to live correctly, who knows how long he could have lived?
I would like more details about "homeostasis," so I may better understand its meaning.
Dr. Walter B. Cannon, renowned professor of physiology at Harvard University, wrote a book (The Wisdom of the Body) in 1932, summarizing and demonstrating the fixity of the internal environment. In this book, he coined the word now generally used to describe the state produced by the constant adjustments made by the healthy body: homeostasis, derived from the Greek words that mean staying the same. The dictionary definition of homeostasis is "a state of physiological equilibrium produced by a balance of functions and of chemical composition within an organism." Dr. Cannon described the intricate sequences by which the healthy body regulates and integrates its functions to maintain the stability of the internal environment within narrow limits of variation. Such vital matters as oxygen, blood pressure, mineral salts, body temperature, composition of body fluids and the blood sugar level all remain relatively constant. When all the homeostatic mechanisms are functioning efficiently, every challenge to the body is handled in such a fashion as to prevent disease and permit continuous functioning.
I have a good appetite, and I know I overeat. In fact, I usually have an uncomfortable feeling of being too full after a meal. Yet I don't gain an ounce. I would like to gain about ten pounds, as I am too thin.
Some people can eat a lot of food and not gain weight. It is a question of the rate of metabolism. However, in your case, the very fact that you are overeating may be what is preventing weight gain. The body is unable to cope with the large quantities of food, and, as a result, much of it is not converted by the digestive system into assimilable substances. If eating more rationally (stopping before you feel so full) does not result in the desired weight gain, you might try a short fast of three days or so, or even a seven- to ten-day supervised fast (if a professional Hygienist determines this is advisable). Oftentimes the fast improves the assimilation capabilities of the body, and the individual gains weight. Also, are you exercising? An adequate, vigorous exercise program is important in improving the efficiency of the metabolism of food.
Finally, perhaps you are trying to stuff yourself in an effort to gain weight. It may be that being ten pounds below what you consider your ideal weight is what your body has determined is the best weight for you at the present time. The important question is, how do you feel? Stop stuffing yourself, and then see what happens. If you do not lose weight, and feel well, stop worrying about it. Weight is an individual matter. If you stay on a Hygienic diet, and eat rationally, sometimes the problem adjusts itself.
After my 29-day fast, it took a year for me to get up to about 95 pounds (from my fasting low weight of 68 pounds), and then I stopped gaining. I stayed on a Hygienic Program, and tried to forget about my thin appearance. I really needed ten additional pounds to look my best. About two years later, my weight increased to around 100 pounds, for no apparent reason. Obviously, my assimilation has improved. About five years later, I experiehced another five-pound weight gain to around 105 pounds, my present weight, which I have maintained for years. If I fast, I lose some weight, but it comes back to around 105 when I get back to eating regularly. Sometimes, in periods of high stress, like meeting unrealistic deadlines, or American Natural Hygiene Society Conventions, my weight drops several pounds, but gets back to about 105 when things return to normal.
I have read that most adults need 1800 to 2500 calories (or some even more) per day to maintain their weight, and that it lakes 3500 accumulated calories to gain or lose a pound. How many calories per day do you recommend?
The effort to standardize calorie consumption is a fallacious notion. I can only say that these amounts are often much more than is needed; and the measurement of weight loss or gain in terms of 3500 calories per pound often proves to be inconsistent when put to the test. Even though many of the charts provide for differences in sex, height, size of frame, and rate of activity, there are other differences that influence food requirements. Since every person has his own rate of metabolism, efforts to standardize in terms of calories are frequently inaccurate. If one is trying to lose weight, it is useful to determine high-caloried foods, so that excessive quantities of those foods are not used. If we are discussing Hygienic eating programs only, there is usually no need to be concerned about calories. A diet of all raw or mostly raw foods would ordinarily not contain the number of calories listed in the charts as the daily requirements, unless inordinate amounts of food were taken at meals or unless the person were a habitual snacker. Hygienic eating and living produce gradual improvement in metabolism and assimilation. The initial result of changing to a Hygienic program is usually a weight loss, followed by a leveling off, which continues for varying periods of time, after which, due to improvement in assimilation, weight can be maintained on lesser quantities of food.
> Lesson 44 - Overeating: Fasting Fanaticism And Diet Fanaticism
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