17. Special Problems
Some people cannot use fasting at all (of any type, frequently, or lengthy) as a tool for weight control, because all it does is to cause them to seesaw between "starving" and "gorging." This is, sadly, especially true of many grossly obese people. This may be because their metabolism is abnormal, because the problem is glandular or congenital in origin, or because of any of several other possible and complicated factors.
Many authorities believe that an important cause for lack of obesity control is too many fat cells. People who have been grossly obese, especially if they were fat children or teenagers, have a special problem. When there is weight gain, there is a multiplication in the number of fat cells, but when weight is lost, the number of fat cells does not decrease, the cells simply grow smaller.
The Hartbargers (Eating for the Eighties, pp. 155-156) say, "From the moment of conception through the first year, virtually all the organs and tissues undergo intensive growth, including cell division. During these early stages, the most elementary functions of each organ are determined. Malnutrition can have its most lasting effect on physical and mental development at this time. By the age often months, for example, the number of brain cells has been determined for life. There will not be another period of such rapid general growth until adolescence.
"Overnutrition, incidentally, can have effects similar, though opposite, to undernutrition. A good example is the fat cells. Too many fat cells are thought to be a major problem in obesity control (or the lack of it). The two critical periods for fat cell growth are, predictably, early childhood and adolescence.
"Once cell division has ceased (the third stage), the effects of deficiencies and overfeeding are usually more temporary. A particular organ may be smaller or larger for a time, but an appropriate adjustment in food intake will normalize things again."
Dr. Richard Lopez of Florida International University (St. Petersburg Independent, September 14, 1979, Bob Rabin, Knight-Ridder Newspapers) says that those who have been overweight since childhood have a far more serious problem, because the body's fat cell production is greatest in the early years. He says, "Fat cells are very closely related to appetite. When you lose weight, you don't lose fat cells, you lose fat stored in them."
Many people with large numbers of fat cells are almost like alcoholics. They are foodaholics. Even faithful Hygienists with large numbers of fat cells may fight a continual losing battle. I know one such Hygienist who once fasted down to considerably below one-hundred pounds, but the obesity returned, inexorably, in spite of dedication and moderate eating. She continues to take twice yearly fasts, and to eat moderately, with only minimal progress. It may well be that no more can be done in such a situation, but no one should accept an impasse unless every avenue has been explored. Most situations can be improved—sometimes, all it takes is the determination to succeed, even when the odds are against you.
People who seem to be able to eat a great deal and never gain weight have faster rates of metabolism, which is probably determined by their genes. All raw food diets usually make weight control easier for most people. Addictive eaters may still gorge on all raw foods, but it is simply not possible to eat as much food when it is in its natural form—the very bulk of it is so filling. All-day-long snackers can still become obese on raw food—one should eat no more than two or three times daily.
Actually, the only way to improve one's health, or eventually achieve normal weight, is by healthful living. The fast only expedites the process, especially in its initial phases.
In those cases of obesity where fasting seems only to complicate the problem, the solution lies in motivation, mind control, and strict, uncompromising planning of an eating program that will produce a slight, gradual, but steady weight loss.
This usually requires a powerful incentive and complete commitment. It also requires a vocation, avocation, or pursuit that will effectively fill the days with the most interesting and enjoyable means of satisfying one's need for feeling productive and useful, and thus improving one's self-image.
It is a great idea to become involved in some cause, to commit one's self to a few deadlines which must be met, and thus end the preoccupation with food as life's best reward.
Regular, adequate and vigorous exercise is of the utmost importance, whether one is seeking improved health or a new figure. And all the other principles of Hygienic living, which we have repeatedly enumerated and emphasized, must be part of the daily program of living.
Fasting fanaticism is never successful in the long run. It may even produce pathological anorexia—loss of appetite, or inability to eat.
Home > Lesson 44 - Overeating: Fasting Fanaticism And Diet Fanaticism
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