04 Jan Review: What Are You Hungry For? by Deepak Chopra
In the United States, obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Our fast-paced society sends us racing for drive-thru meals and microwaveable, sugar-laden, processed foods. Many frustrated individuals are on perpetual diets, always reaching for the next quick-fix miracle cure for excess fat.
We know all the potential risks that come with being overweight or obese: cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few. With such a chronic and deadly problem facing us, why do Americans continue to struggle with finding a solution? If eating healthy and exercising is such a simple remedy, then why isn’t it working for us?
In What Are You Hungry For? The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul, world-renowned spiritual guru Deepak Chopra shares his own insight into issues plaguing the American diet. Chopra advocates for a more simplistic, back-to-basics diet.
He begins by sharing his own experience with an unhealthy lifestyle in the early days of his medical career. His hectic doctor’s schedule left him about 20 pounds overweight, even after eliminating drinking and smoking from his diet. Referencing his studies as an endocrinologist, he began to develop his own theories as to why people are prone to rationalizing an unhealthy lifestyle.
He encourages the practitioner to do a bit of psychoanalysis to determine the root problems causing the person to adopt a poor diet. He suggests that being unfulfilled emotionally, mentally, or spiritually is the main source of bad eating habits, as we attempt to fill invisible holes in our psyche.
Chopra doesn’t just offer an explanation for our risky behavior, but provides a plan for overcoming it. He provides exercises to allow the individual to begin replacing the negative self-talk that leaves us unfulfilled with a more positive thought pattern. The exercises include breathing, meditation, mantras, and simply recognizing the negativity for what it is, as it arises. Chopra encourages a full consciousness shift to overcome issues of weight, which allows the reader to find out the psychological motivations behind poor eating habits.
He offers an introduction to the Indian healing system of Ayurveda, which is a key practice at the Chopra Institute. They employ Ayurveda in cooking practices, and Chopra explains the methods and reasoning behind their meal plans. He also supplies a full list of holistic recipes from the institute’s own menu.
While I fully support Mr. Chopra’s whole-foods, natural diet, I think the main obstacle he and other health and wellness practitioners repeatedly neglect to bring to light is that it can be cost-prohibitive to some. That is another reason Americans are so quick to choose fast food and microwave meals — they tend to be cheaper than their green counterparts. A drive-thru dollar menu sounds pretty good to someone living paycheck to paycheck. Not only is it cheaper, but it requires no preparation for tired, overworked individuals. Eating healthy is not cheap. Not all Americans have access to farmer’s markets and food cooperatives where healthy, organic whole food can be procured.
With that in mind, if someone is scraping bottom and can barely afford the unhealthy food, wouldn’t that also add even more momentum to the negative self-talk that’s keeping them from choosing a healthy snack when they actually have the option? It seems that just makes overcoming bad habits even that more difficult, not necessarily through the fault of the individual. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy solution to this problem, so it’s unrealistic to expect to be able to heal absolutely everyone eager to face their own psychological demons and purge excess weight. One has to has the means to undertake this transformation in the first place.
Overall, Chopra provides sound reasoning for taking a consciousness approach to weight loss. Choosing to eat mindfully doesn’t cost a cent, so it’s a universal solution. As humans, we definitely use food as a form of drug that numbs us to daily stress. Forcing ourselves to identify the triggers and begin directing our actions in a healthier manner is an important step to living a more balanced overall life. His gentle exercises for developing a greater sense of self and connection with the external world would be beneficial to anyone, whether suffering from weight problems or not.
What Are You Hungry For?
By Deepak Chopra
November 12, 2013
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.