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How to Curb Gluttony

Tackling one of the deadlier of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Marta Cuesta, Pixabay, Public Domain
Source: Marta Cuesta, Pixabay, Public Domain

Gluttony is understandable. Even though it’s unhealthy and hurts appearance, it’s a pleasure that's available to all and on-demand.

Yet few gluttons feel good about their habit. The problem is that curbing it is simple but not easy. Some of the following might help:

An approach based on why you overeat

Boredom. Make a list of activities that could fill your time without negative side effects. Possible examples: music, sports, writing, art, acting, watching TV, playing video games, talking with friends or family.

You feel you deserve a reward. Of course, overeating ends up being less a reward and more a punishment. Any of the above might feel at least as rewarding as overeating.

You don’t care if you’re obese. That’s easy to think in the abstract but not when suffering from cancer, diabetes, or having had a heart attack or stroke, and are on a stretcher being carried into the ambulance and then onto a gurney into the operating room.

Less dramatic, if you’re not gluttonous, you’ll probably have more energy, and can walk and climb stairs more easily. If that doesn’t matter to you, might you care if, when walking with others, they see you out of breath?

Do you lose track? That is, before you know it, you’ve overeaten. Should you get into the habit of eating more slowly and noting not when you’re busting but when you're no longer hungry and then asking yourself if additional calories are worth it?

Other motivators and tactics

Would it help to keep in mind that the people who care about you will suffer if you get an overweight-related disease?

Would it concern you that many people will think less of you for being obese or gluttonous, or that when you're eating with them, they notice you're consuming more calories than they do?

If you claim to be socially conscious, you don’t want to be a hypocrite. Because gluttony leads to obesity, you’ll likely be taxing the already overtaxed health care system. Also, over-consumption is environmentally bad. Of course, your actions will have only a tiny impact on the planet but that’s true of all social-consciousness exhortations, from recycling to voting to thinking globally but acting locally. Regarding your food consumption, do you want to walk your environmentalist talk?

Rewards. For example, would it motivate you to give yourself a point for every meal or snack time when you ate appropriately? When you accumulate enough points, you could trade them for something you’d really want: some bauble, tickets to some event, whatever.

Remove temptation. Would it help to remove temptations from your home? Common danger items: ice cream, bread, cheese, nuts, chips, alcohol, and marijuana. The latter increases appetite and lowers inhibition.

Accountability. Every night, a client of mine emails me his weight.

Team up. How about a daily check-in with a friend? Or join a formal program such as Weight-Watchers?

The takeaway

Everyone likes food and an occasional indulgence won’t (ahem) kill you unless you’re an all-or-nothing person: One or two cheats and you’d start porking out regularly. But gluttony is indeed one of the seven deadly sins. Might one or more of these ideas help you sin no more?

I read this aloud on YouTube.