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On staying with the program

Over the years I have met others who are vegetarians or who used to be vegetarians. Early on, because my own vegetarianism was more ethical- than diet-oriented, I posited that those who turned vegetarian for health reasons were less likely to stay vegetarian than those who went that way for ethical, moral reasons. For the animals. Vegetarianism for those of us in this camp resembles, in this sense, a religion.

One more interesting tidbit from Rethinking Thin is what one of the dieters in the book says. He is Jewish and he made a decision to eat Kosher, based on his religion. He immediately removed all foods from his diet that were not Kosher and knew that he would not eat them again. When he attends parties or other food events and he isn't certain that the food is Kosher he simply does not eat it. He said that he has absolutely no problem avoiding foods that don't fit into this diet. He knows he will simply not eat them.

But he does not have the same will, if that's what it is, when it comes to foods that his weight-loss diet says are bad for him. He slips. He has trouble not eating his favorites, or satisfying his sweet tooth when it beats down his defenses. He wonders if getting thin is less important to him than his religion.

So it appears that my hypothesis is probably correct. Following a diet for health reasons, whatever the diet, is damnably difficult. Yet choosing not to eat foods because we are morally opposed to eating them is an entirely different ball game.

Oh, and an aside about this man wondering if he just "doesn't care enough" about getting thin. There is no statistical difference in the psychological makeup of fat and thin persons. In fact, both fat and thin persons have similar cravings. And resolving childhood issues does not make the fat go away.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 13th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
I think you're right and I'm going to quote you in Vegan Soapbox.

-Elaine
judith
Dec. 13th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Cool!
wingraclaire
Dec. 16th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
Ethical Vegetarianism
Dear Judith,

I read this post on your daughter's blog and am in total agreement. Many years ago (35?) when I had just become a vegetarian, I noticed that I didn't crave meat because I had simply decided that I didn't want to eat it. Later on, becoming vegan went the same way. Sometimes I hear a vegetarian tell a host or waiter, "I can't eat that." It makes them sound as if they have a medical condition and would if they could. Much easier to decide that there are things you don't choose to eat, and be fine without having them. Thanks for your post!
judith
Dec. 16th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
Re: Ethical Vegetarianism
I know what you mean about saying "I can't eat that". I don't say that either.

Years ago I went on a 7-day bike trek for the lung association, as part of a small group. The group leaders provided all the food, and they assured me they would make vegetarian options. Toward the end of the trek they told me I was the first vegetarian who actually stayed vegetarian through the trek. It surprised me to hear that because it would never have occurred to me to eat meat. Clearly the others were health-based vegetarians.

Thank you for commenting!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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