- 0.1 Here's how, an exercise formulated nearly 2000 years ago could help you develop food self-control that you don't currently have yet ...
- 1 THE UNKNOWN LINK BETWEEN STOIC PHILOSOPHERS AND THE FATHER OF COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
- 2 A SERIOUS METHOD FOR SELF-HELP
- 3 A 5-STEP STOIC EXERCISE TO INCREASE SELF-CONTROL DURING MEALS
- 4 POINT BY POINT STOIC EXERCISE ANALYSIS
- 5 SCHEMATIC TABLE OF THE STOIC EXERCISE IN 5 STEPS
Here's how, an exercise formulated nearly 2000 years ago could help you develop food self-control that you don't currently have yet ...
For the Stoic philosophers theself control it has always been the key to accessing true happiness.
This type of self-control has always been understood as an expression of reasonableness and balance, excluding the self-centered component.
The focus of the Stoic philosophers is always on what falls under our control. On this component of life they urge us to actively work to change the things we can change.
Otherwise, anything that does not fall directly under our control makes no sense to become nervous or anxious.
The things we cannot change will still change by themselves as time goes on in the meantime keep calm it represents the best possible antidote to an uncomfortable situation that we may encounter in life.
The range of practical exercises proposed over time by the Stoic masters is extraordinarily varied and perfectly suited to the current needs of psycho-emotional reorganization of our neurotic times.
THE UNKNOWN LINK BETWEEN STOIC PHILOSOPHERS AND THE FATHER OF COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
To emphasize the self-healing power of Stoic philosophy, bear in mind that the father of cognitive-behavioral therapy Albert Ellis he took ample inspiration from the exercises and the self-correcting attitude of the Stoic philosophers for the elaboration of the famous psychotherapeutic method he conceived.
Also thanks to those notions, he developed his own method called cognitive behavioral therapy, which today almost invariably proves to have greater efficacy in the treatment of psychological and behavioral disorders than other methods of psychotherapeutic intervention.
In all these difficult cases, and not only, cognitive-behavioral therapy is often the most effective treatment according to clinical studies.
A SERIOUS METHOD FOR SELF-HELP
Precisely because of its deep connection with the Stoic philosophy, this type of approach is one of the best suited to theself-help. That is, you acquire the information, you apply it to yourself and you begin to benefit from the changes it produces in your life, without necessarily spending years of sessions in therapy.
You could assimilate these principles from a book or an article like this, then by practicing the ways proposed for each type of condition, with a little perseverance, you would probably be able to take great steps forward in total autonomy.
Of course, treatments at an accredited expert may sometimes be desirable or necessary. But in general, the greater the number of high-quality inner self-management tools an individual can tap into, the more effective, rapid, and definitive the change they set out to achieve.
To start practicing with the stoic exercises, today I propose an exercise that applies to the management of one's nutrition consisting of 5 steps.
You are about to connect with a wisdom that has the potential to transform your life forever. Today we start from the sphere of nutrition. But instead of addressing it from the external point of view of calories and the proportion of nutrients, we will tackle it starting from your internal experience (where your behaviors are born).
A 5-STEP STOIC EXERCISE TO INCREASE SELF-CONTROL DURING MEALS
The stoic exercise in 5 steps that I propose comes from one of the writings of the Roman philosopher Gaius Musonio Rufus (30-100 AD).
So that the more often we feel the pleasure that comes from food, the greater are the dangers inherent in it. And indeed, with every food intake there is not only the danger of sinning, but many.
In fact, both those who eat more than necessary, and - and no less - those who hasten to eat, and those who get dirty with dipping more than they should, both those who prefer the most succulent foods to the healthiest ones, and those who do not distribute portions equal to the diners.
There is also another kind of sin that concerns food: when you take it at the wrong time and, while you should be doing something else, leave it pending and eat. — Gaius Musonio Rufus
First, if it all seems too big to you, let's start by considering the fact that it's not there NOTHING outside of self-discipline that can lead you to a better condition. Whatever area of change you should work on, it is always YOU who ultimately have to carry out the repeated actions that get you out of trouble.
There is no magic pill out there, and every time someone offers you one, a warning signal should go off in your brain immediately, because that someone is trying to sell you an illusion and you are about to buy it only to find yourself. some time later with the same problems and less money in your pocket.
So don't be afraid of what tastes like self-discipline, rather start learning about it and enjoying the rewards. Self-discipline is an act of true freedom, because it is you who decide to apply it freely on yourself to improve your life and overcoming the destructive lures of instant gratification.
Well, having clarified this, now let's move on to reworking the list of behaviors in the food sector that Musonio Rufo left us in a more current sense.
POINT BY POINT STOIC EXERCISE ANALYSIS
1. Eating excessively
There is no doubt that all overweight and obesity problems, as well as 90% of health problems of any kind, have a direct or indirect correlation with the overeating we have access to every day in developed countries.
Virtually every pathology acquires a pejorative prognosis in case of overweight or even worse obesity. Losing weight is imperative and committing to doing so while staying focused on health benefits - even before aesthetic ones - drastically increases the chances of succeeding permanently.
2. Eat quickly
Eating quickly increases the number of calories consumed at each meal, because the sense of satiety arrives on average with a delay of 15-20 minutes compared to the beginning of the meal. So the faster you eat, the more calories you can gulp down before the first warning of satiety occurs.
Furthermore, the digestive process starts from the mouth, so the assimilation and use of food is also optimal following a slow and complete chewing.
It is a common experience for binge sufferers to gulp down a large amount of high-calorie foods in a very short period of time, and then literally feel their tummy burst over the next few hours. This sometimes leads to self-induced vomiting.
The exercise that I will explain in detail shortly represents an opportunity to start regulating according to a healthy speed of introduction of food during every meal and snack.
3. Get dirty with the sauce more than you should
Getting dirty with dipping more than necessary means indulging in pleasant but unhealthy eating habits. It is very interesting that Musonio Rufo also added the phrase "more than necessary".
This means pleasures at the table DON'T they are strictly excluded. It also shows you that the Stoics always tend to a healthy balance, for which however we need our active participation that prefers healthy self-control over letting go completely (to then count the damage and give ourselves to crocodile tears).
4. Eat foods that are more succulent than healthy
This trend often has cultural roots. Of course, as human beings, we all tend at a lower instinctive level to feel attraction to the most succulent foods rather than the healthiest ones.
Wherever we are born, we must appropriately correct this harmful view of nutrition. If our focus remains on the most succulent foods, sooner or later we will get very hurt.
On the contrary, if we manage to shift our attention towards healthy foods - which also do not exclude tasty and satisfying options - then we will be on the right path to better management of our diet.
The exercise we're about to see will show you how to make wiser food choices that will pay dividends to your health right away.
5. Serving ourselves better and larger portions than we serve our guests
One of the healthiest mental operations we can do is to acquire an objective point of view about ourselves. Much of the positive transformation we can aspire to comes from downsizing one's EGO.
Whenever you make choices where you voluntarily decide to put your ego aside, you also take a step outside of yourself and this makes you more capable of self-control in any situation.
Most human suffering comes from the mind, particularly that part that expresses itself as the EGO that identifies itself in words like "I" and "mine". Start treating yourself as you would a stranger to whom you are not totally indifferent but are also not morbidly attached and you will have unexpected advantages.
6. Eating at the inadequate time, when we should be doing something else
This is probably the easiest opportunity to take if you want to practice food self-control. It is always better to start with the "little" and then progress gradually, so as to stabilize the results.
If you find yourself immersed in some activity (for example work) and you feel a certain appetite, it will be relatively easy to bring the focus back to the current activity and quickly forget - at least for a while - the stomach calls.
This conscious self-control operation repeated over time will show you that you have the strength to decide when to eat, what and in what quantity. The general principle of focus, that is attention, in fact says: "wherever you place your focus, your energies will go there as well."
Furthermore, the physiology of hunger teaches that hunger signals - and even more so those of mere appetite - are not continuous, but intermittent. That is, they are heard for 15-20 minutes maximum, then if they are not satisfied they become silent for a couple of hours, and so on.
Hence the required resistance is short-lived. It is not a long marathon, but a small, repeated sprint.
Merger of point 3 and 4
Well. Musonio Rufo's original list ends here. For the practical purposes of our exercise we will combine point 3 with point 4 because they are completely similar to each other. So we will get a new list with 5 points to follow.
SCHEMATIC TABLE OF THE STOIC EXERCISE IN 5 STEPS
|Exercise name||What's it about||Implementation intention (when and how will you implement it)|
|1. Eating too much||Reduce your daily portions by a fair amount||Example: when dining in the canteen I will avoid adding potatoes to the side dish|
|2. Eat quickly||Eat more slowly and with greater awareness||Example: chew each bite at least 20 times before swallowing|
|3. Eat for pleasure||When you are in company choose the popular and at the same time healthier reach||Example: at the aperitif with friends I will avoid french fries and mayonnaise and instead I will use vegetables, fruit and wholemeal crackers|
|4. Serve us better or larger portions||When eating together, try to offer at least some of your favorite food to other diners||Example: at dinner with relatives I will deprive myself of a part of the puree that I like so much by sharing my portion with someone else|
|5. Postpone eating commitments||Postpone the meal until you finish the workload you set||Example: If I get hungry in the middle of an ongoing work activity, I will finish that activity sooner by enduring the natural urge of hunger|
We can schematize the exercise in order to obtain 3 columns:
- In the FIRST COLUMN we will put the specific exercise:
1. Eating too much
2. Eat quickly
3. Eat for pleasure
4. Serve us better or larger portions
5. Postpone eating commitments
- In the SECOND COLUMN we will put what the exercise consists of
- Finally, in the THIRD COLUMN put how you will put it into practice (ie your "implementation intention")
Implementation intent is an extremely important element of this approach. In fact, if you don't black on white in advance the when and how you will implement the specific exercise in your daily reality, within 3 seconds the initial good intentions will be lost among the thousand things to do and you will never put into practice what you set out to do.
So it is critically important to write down when and how you will implement each exercise in your daily experience. I have created a table for you, with integrated examples of how it should be used, and that you can download and print. You can find it at the end of the article.
This exercise is a way to start taking the first steps on the road to greater food self-control. Somewhere you have to start and as the Taoist sage Lao Tze said:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
To conclude with the admonition of another great Stoic philosopher, namely Epictetus:
And if you are presented with a fatigue, a pleasure, an honor or a dishonor, remember that proof it is already underway, that the Olympics are these, and it is no longer possible to postpone, and that moral progress is lost or saved in a single day and in a single action.
I leave you the exercise sheet in PDF format that I created for your practice and that you can download for free by clicking on the links below:
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The information provided by the manuelcasadei.com website is not intended to diagnose, treat and prevent any discomfort or disease. The user of this website is always responsible for his health and Manuel Casadei encourages you to follow these advice with the approval and supervision of a trusted doctor and disclaims any responsibility for actions taken following what is written in these pages.
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