Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

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Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Letha.. » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:53 am

Hello McDougallers,
I just saw the thread about starting a Christian Weight Loss Group on the McDougall board and I think it’s a great idea. I think that giving and receiving support from like minded individuals who share your core beliefs and world view is so helpful and motivating.

So I thought it might also be helpful to start a weight loss thread for non-Christians like myself. I like to refer to myself as an eclectic non-dualist type Buddhist evolutionist agnostic with pagan tendencies. Kind of a mouthful I know. :)

I find that the evolutionist part of my belief system comes up most often when discussing weight loss. It’s probably the reason I connected so strongly with the book “The Pleasure Trap” by Douglas J. Lisle & Alan Goldhamer. Here is a brief quote from page 48 of the book that I think really speaks to the association between our evolutionary preferences and the obesity epidemic in our modern world.


“For all of history humans had struggled, often barely meeting their minimum requirements for survival. Then, with the development of agriculture, our species began the most aggressive and successful expansion that our planet has ever seen. In the space of just a few thousand years, a mere moment in the book of life, humans went from a struggling population of perhaps 10,000 individuals in 65,000 B.C., to a horde of 150 million by the time of Christ. Thus, in a span of perhaps 65,000 years, our population grew by a factor of 15,000 to one. While our population had grown steadily as hunter-gatherers, it was agriculture that ignited the most extraordinary portion of this population explosion.

There have been many twists, turns, and surprises over the past few thousand years of human history. But one of the most puzzling has been the emergence of the Diseases of Kings. Few suspected that eating too much pleasurable food could be the cause of disease. After all, eating as much as possible of the most pleasurable foods available feels only natural and right. And it is, in a natural setting. But with the advent of agriculture, unnaturally high quantities of animal products as well as unnaturally concentrated processed foods became available and led to our ancestors’ natural preferences astray. Their senses were fooled, as ours are today. These changes have led us into the dietary pleasure trap, where excesses can be, and often are, deadly.”


As someone who values logic, reason, & science, I find Dr. Lisle’s hypothesis regarding our evolutionary tendency to prefer calorie dense food to be almost comforting. My seemingly irrational desire for rich food was not the result of lack of moral character or mental/emotional illness. No, it’s part of my survival mechanism that evolved to consume a diet that is much different from the processed foods we eat in a modern society. So I don’t need to feel guilty about it – I just need to find a logical strategy for navigating this unnatural world.

So, if you are interested in discussing how your non-Christian beliefs have impacted your weight loss please share your thoughts. I’d love to read them.
Letha


"Faith is believing something you know ain't true." - Mark Twain

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Gweithgar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:58 am

Letha,
Merry meet! I thought about doing something like this, but chickened (maybe that should be "seitaned") out. I like the inclusiveness of your topic title, not to even mention the general inclusiveness of this board.
Blessings,
Cyn-Gweithgar
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby joseph » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:26 am

Can we Taoists post here?

:-)
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Gweithgar » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:31 am

joseph wrote:Can we Taoists post here?

:-)


Well, personally, I'm feeling very much like an uncarved block today, so why not!? Seriously, a couple of the pounds I have released found their way home over the weekend, so maybe I should say "blob" instead of "block". Grrrrrrr
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Letha.. » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:35 am

joseph wrote:Can we Taoists post here?

:-)

Absolutely! Image
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby AnnaS » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:07 am

Well, that is interesting because I was just reading something about the Dalai Lama with regard to science. He feels that Buddhism and science share a value in that they are both seeking the truth. If science shows something to be true that conflicts with Buddhist tradition, then Buddhism should change, he says. And likewise, apparently science, or at least neuroscience, is learning something from the Buddhists about the ability we have to change our brains.

I was reading about this because my husband is having some neurological problems (hands shaking) as a lingering side effect of a drug treatment he had to take. It's possible something like that can be cured through physical therapy, exercises, left-brain/right-brain activities that will re-stimulate the neurons to grow and form new connections.

In regard to your weight-loss point, I think that the kinds of foods and habits that we have are comfortable because that is the way we have trained our brain (through our upbringing) to respond. There is no reason this brain can't be re-trained to do things differently, though at first it may seem awkward or uncomfortable. Eventually you rebuild the connections that make it seem normal to eat this way. In other word, building new habits, except that there is a real physiological basis to the re-building, it's not just willpower or preferences alone that are changed. I think this is kind of exciting.

--Anna
p.s. My religious views are private; I do not believe in shouting them from streetcorners (a not-so-subtle reference to the book of Matthew). I respect all persons beliefs equally. "Be good to each other" is the basis of all human culture.
10th yr on program: age=58, BMI=18, b/p=110/70, tc=126, McD=100%.
diagnosed with lyme disease March 2010

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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Vegankit » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:30 am

:lol: Letha, wonderful post.

Have you read Hungering for America, Italian, Irish and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration by Hasia R. Diner? Great book - people, mostly the poor, marginal and peasants classes were still starving to death in Europe as recently as the 1900's. That is what drove them to imigrate to the Americas. They would work as hard here as back home, but they were not only guaranteed sufficient food, but food that was unavailable to them at home. It's interesting to read that the very foods that people here remember fondly as being their traditional foodways were actually not the food they ate in their original home but rather the foods that the very rich elite ate.
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby sksamboots » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:39 am

Hmm..Sounds good to me :lol:
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Tazi752000 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:03 am

Letha,

Thank you for starting this thread. I am an ecelctic pagan who loves the energy of the world and the people in it.

I find the eating natural foods makes me happier and more energetic. I enjoy growing foods and tasting the bright flavors of life. I've alos found that I tend to be more spiritual when I eat better. Maybe it makes it easier for my spirit to connect with the energy in the world.
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby healthyvegan » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:06 am

I thought everyone who understood The McDougall Diet was Atheist? :unibrow: :duh: :eek:
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Vanilla Orchid » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:04 pm

To be consistent, shouldn't this thread be moved to the new religious topic?

Blessed be.
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby afreespirit » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:03 pm

Letha and all, I am here to lend my support! Although I haven't been able to come up with a label to define my beliefs, or rather my UNbeliefs, I find myself in harmony with Letha's post. Love the quotes from Mark Twain and Ben Franklin, and thought "The Pleasure Trap" makes perfect sense and is a useful concept. It helped me see the world of food in a whole new way.

Great to meet all of you who are like-minded. And great to see Letha is still active on the board!

I might add that if this life is the only one we are ever going to know, then we had jolly well better make the most of it.

Take care of your health, everyone.
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby ncyg46 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:17 pm

Vanilla Orchid wrote:To be consistent, shouldn't this thread be moved to the new religious topic?

Blessed be.


yes definitely! what part of digesting things different does religion have to do with it? :D
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby NanTzu » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:43 am

Another Taoist here. If God is infinite and we are all one, doesn't that make us all every religion and no religion too? Oh, this is too confusing to think about!

Changing brains & things.....
I have read that meditation actually causes changes in the brain that can be seen with imaging. And I have read a couple articles that natural selection doesn't just happen by accident or over several generations. DNA can actually change to adapt to the environment. Science is fascinating.
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Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, & Pagan Weight Loss Thread.

Postby Letha.. » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:08 am

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