Question – BELOVED MASTER, I AM OBSESSED WITH FOOD. I EAT TOO MUCH AND HAVE GAINED ENORMOUS WEIGHT. CAN YOU HELP ME TO REDUCE MY WEIGHT?
Osho – Sangito, this is strange, coming to me from California just to reduce your weight. In California there are far more facilities available to reduce weight. I know it because I had to send Mulla Nasruddin to California. The problem was the same.
When Mulla Nasruddin reached California, he was directed by our sannyasins there to this ultimate weight-losing program. It took four days and was guaranteed to take off fifty pounds or your money would be refunded.
He entered the building and was told to enter the first door to his left and to undress there. He did so and then from a second door in the room entered a beautiful blonde woman, naked but for a sign around her neck. It read, “If you catch me, you can make love to me!”
Nasruddin felt the passion rise within him. The room was fairly small, but the lady was agile, and it took him twenty minutes to catch her. After his love-making, Nasruddin showered and left, eagerly awaiting the next day.
On the second day, he was directed to another room, a bit larger than the first. There a beautiful redhead, naked except for the sign, greeted him. The chase lasted for almost forty minutes. On the third day, it was another, larger room, and a beautiful brunette! After almost an hour, he caught her too.
Throughout the three days, Nasruddin had kept an account of his weight loss — twenty-eight pounds to date. On the fourth day, he envisioned perhaps a bevy of beauties. He was directed to the top floor. He climbed the stairs, removed his clothes and waited. There was a click behind him as the door was locked, and out of his left eye he caught sight of a huge gorilla coming his way with a sign around its neck which read, “If I catch you I’m going to make love to you!”
Sangito, you need not come from California to Poona! But one thing is certain: people become obsessed with food only when they lose the capacity to love. It is an indication that you have forgotten the language of love. If you are in love you never become obsessed with food. Obsession with food is a symptom that you don’t know how to love. How it happens has to be understood.
The first acquaintance of the child with the world is the mother’s breast. That is his first introduction to the world, his entry into the world — his first relationship is with the breast of the mother. And the breast becomes the symbol for him of two things: food and love.
Whenever the mother is loving, the breast is available; and whenever the mother is unloving, the breast is not available. Food and love become associated; a deep conditioned reflex happens. It becomes so unconsciously rooted that you repeat it your whole life. If the child knows that the mother loves him he will not drink too much, because he KNOWS, he is secure; whenever he needs the mother her breast will be available.
If the child is insecure and feels that next time the mother may not be available, he will start drinking too much, eating too much. Now, you can see the point: whenever love is there, there is security and a kind of fulfillment, and the child never becomes obsessed with food. If love is not there, there is insecurity, fear, and a kind of emptiness, and the child stuffs that emptiness with food.
In the West, weight is becoming more and more of a problem for the simple reason that mothers are not ready to give their breasts to their children. Of course the breast loses its shape; and the fear that the breasts will lose their shape and make the woman look old has gripped the mind of women in the West so deeply that they are afraid to give their breasts to their children. And they are creating an obsession about food in the child unknowingly, unconsciously.
The child will become obsessed with food, he will eat too much. Eating will become his substitute for love. Sangito, you will have to learn love. There is no other way to reduce your weight. All other programs can help you a little bit, but sooner or later you will gain weight again because the basic root cause remains the same. You can diet, you can run, swim, exercise, but how long can you diet? Sooner or later you will be fed up with dieting and your mind will become more and more obsessed with eating. Now you will eat in your fantasy, in your dreams, and your mind will convince you that this is not the right way to live. You can’t eat this, you can’t eat that, and somehow if you ask the doctors, all the good things have to be avoided.
A child was talking to his mother, “You say God is very wise. I don’t believe it.”
The mother said, “But why don’t you believe it?”
He said, “If he was wise, he would have put more vitamins in ice cream. He puts vitamins in things which are uneatable, and things which are really worth eating are dangerous.”
How long will you avoid ice cream? The temptation will be such that it will be unavoidable. So you can lose weight for a few days and then you will eat too much, you will take revenge. And you may gain more weight than you had lost by dieting. This is the pattern of millions of people, particularly in the West.
In the East people are starving. You can see a few fat people in Bombay, in Delhi, in Calcutta, but that’s all. If you go to the real India, eighty percent of the people in India are starving. There is no question of gaining more weight, they don’t have enough weight. They are suffering from malnutrition. Yes, sometimes you will find villagers with big bellies and thin bodies, because they are eating food which is not nourishing, unbalanced, and they eat only when it is available. So when it is available they eat too much.
There are millions of people in India who eat only once a day because they can’t afford to eat twice. So to keep their bodies together for twenty-four hours they eat anything, whatsoever is available; sometimes they have to eat the roots of trees. So the problem is not in the East, the problem is in the West where enough food is available and people have completely forgotten that food grows on trees. Children know that food grows in the fridges. You go to the fridge any time and food is available.
I have heard about a woman who must have been suffering like Sangito. She went to her psychiatrist and asked him his advice — what to do? He pondered over the problem and gave her a picture, a picture of a naked woman, such an ugly fat woman, disgusting, nauseating, sickening — just to see it was enough to become afraid of food. And he told the woman, “Stick it inside your fridge so that whenever you open it you will see this picture — this will remind you of what is going to happen to you.”
So she sticks in the picture of the naked woman. The psychiatrist has also given her another picture of a beautiful young woman with a very proportionate body, a world beauty, and has told her, “Stick this in too, so you can compare. If you don’t eat too much you will be like this woman, if you eat too much you will be like that one.”
Immediately, from the next day, the woman starts losing weight. But a miracle happens: her husband starts gaining weight. The woman is puzzled. She says, “What is the matter?”
He says, “Since you have put that beautiful naked woman inside the fridge, I go again and again to see the picture. And when I see the picture I see the food too, and the flavor and the smell… and I say, ‘Why not take a cake or some ice cream or something?’ I am eating too much because of your pictures.”
In the West the child grows with the idea that food is somehow miraculously produced by the fridges and it is always available, twenty-four hours a day; any time he can go and eat. And mothers have taken their breasts away and mothers are not available much either. The Husbands go to work and the mothers go to so many committees — they belong to the liberation movement, and consciousness-raising committees — and they have so many charity shows going on and they have to sell tickets and collect the charity funds… they are not available. The father is gone, the mother is gone; the child is left with the fridge and with no love.
Sangito, just understand the root cause of it: love is missing somewhere in your life. I will not take your obsession with food as a real problem, it is a symptom. Love is the real problem — love more. And if you love more, you will be loved more. And it is not yet too late; you can find a woman. And all women are mothers, and all men are always like children.
So any woman will do, because she will function like a mother. And each man needs a mother his whole life, he needs mothering, and each woman needs children. Even the husband is only the oldest child, that’s all. And if you cannot find one, you can come to me — I always have many applications with me; women searching for men, men searching for women. And I fix anybody with anybody! I don’t believe in astrology, I believe only in accidents.
Mulla Nasruddin awoke one morning and looked at the clock. It was five minutes to five. Unable to go back to sleep, he went to the front door to get his newspaper. On the front page he saw the date: May 5th.
“Oh, fifth day, fifth month, five minutes before five,” he thought. “Today will be my lucky day!”
He decided to go to the horse races, so he got dressed and went to the corner to wait for the bus. Soon it came — it had the number five, and Nasruddin noticed when he boarded that there were three other passengers, the driver and himself — five in all. He arrived at the track and waited for the fifth race. He bet five hundred rupees on number five to win — his horse came in fifth!
Enough for today.
Source: from Osho Book “Dhammapada Vol 5”