The holiday weekend has started. July 4th is a time for friends and family, fireworks, and food. You remember this day as the day our country declared independence from Great Britain, but have you declared our independence from the lifestyle that keeps you bound to less than optimal health?
Many Pritikin guests welcome the freedom from compulsive and unhealthy eating that they developed after a visit here. But some guests feel that adopting a healthy eating plan is limiting rather than freeing.
Use this July 4th to break away from the urges that destroy your ability to improve your health and avoid the diseases of affluence. Instead of seeing giving up salt, for example, as a sacrifice, view it as a vote for normal blood pressure, insurance against strokes, and a gift to your cardiovascular system.
When you have an urge for salt, break free from the tyranny of craving. Adopt the philosophy of an American icon, Clint Eastwood, and ride the wave of the urge, thinking, "Make my day. I’m stronger than you". Apply this to sugar cravings or second helpings too.
If food rules you, you aren’t free. Talk back to the child inside yourself that’s rebelling against the parent’s request, to "eat your vegetables". Instead, realize that you’re an adult and you’re choosing to eat healthfully. There’s no parent to "punish" you for not "obeying"; guilt, low self-esteem, over-weight and poor health are the price you pay for indulgence.
Resist each urge, one at a time, and take pride in your strength. The self-respect and health benefits you gain last longer than a burger and fries.
Celebrate the holiday by enjoying your loved ones and our country’s history; festivities are a lot richer than food. Ands declare your own independence from compulsive behavior. Self-determination is a gift on an individual as well as national level.
Susan E. Grober, Ph.D.