How to Reduce Weight with Philosophy

Here’s how.

Stimulated by a friend’s question, we start with two quotes from Diogenes:

What’s the best time for dinner? “If one is rich, whenever he wants, if one is poor, when he can.”

If only it was easy to make hunger disappear by rubbing your belly as it is with sex.”

You are following a diet that has greatly reduced the amount of food you can eat, now you complain that you have to abstain from eating as much food as you like and that hunger torments you.

First, I ask you to look carefully at the reasons why you decided to go on a diet. If you already know them, ask yourself how much you believe in them, how good do you think they are, have you made them your own?

The value of reducing the amount of food. Then I would invite you to think about this; even “Epicurus, famous master of pleasure, had set days during which he barely fed, to see if this would fail to the full and perfect pleasure, and if this deserved to be paid with a great effort”. 

Essentially, it’s about putting your choice not to eat in a different light. Consider, for example, that water, polenta or a piece of bread are not very pleasant in themselves, “but the greatest pleasure is being able to get pleasure from these foods too…” and if you add the other consideration “how much greatness of mind shows those who spontaneously bend to a kind of life that not even those condemned to death must fear!”, you understand how those hunger bites are little and easily overcome.

At a time when you want to solve everything without personal effort, I realize that these suggestions might seem anachronistic, but they are not.

Take the case of a smoker who is in an environment where he is allowed to smoke. He firmly believes that he has the right to satisfy his need for nicotine and lights a cigarette freely and whenever he wishes. When it happens that he has nothing to smoke at hand, not finding a single butt, he gets nervous, gets agitated and can’t continue what he was doing. This is because the smoker believes that it is normal for him to satisfy his desire-need to smoke whenever he wants to.

If, on the other hand, he is at work, where one can not smoke absolutely, everything changes: every time he gets the urge he thinks about it for a moment but does not torment himself, he has no symptoms of abstinence and everything proceeds normally. In this case he knows and accepts that he should not smoke there. His body does not torment him, indeed he waits until the break to give the first signs of impatience. The same thing happens if he’s on a plane.

From this example, you can see how our mind is very powerful in governing our desires. If you put the stimulus of hunger in a different context, you see that the stimulus itself changes: You must change the point of view on it. If you think, for example, that you absolutely have to eat or else you get sick, you will go to eat right away. But if you look at it as a mental and corporal exercise, it changes everything. If you say, I don’t see why I shouldn’t eat, you give in straight away. But if you start evaluating a small amount of food in all its qualitative aspects, you will satisfied with little. Use for example the visual aspect: the colors, the texture of the food; then the smell, all the different smells that emanate from it; think about temperature. Press the fork slightly to test its resistance to it. In short, feed on it before it enters your mouth and you will see that you will be full with much less.

Finally, if you really want to block the stimulus of hunger mechanically, I give you a Chinese technique. Locate the point between the upper lip and the lower hairline of the nose, just below the separation between the nostrils. Press slightly to search for the point. When you find it, you’ll notice it. Massage it with your index finger for about thirty seconds with anti-hourly movements.

This is only a brief example of how how philosophy can effectively help you follow your diet. Of course, within the limits of a succinct article you cannot offer real advice. Things could develop interestingly, with the answers you would give in a live communication, so if you were interested, get in touch with me by email [], by phone+353 83 1368205, for Skype or Facebook.