A person’s body weight has a setpoint that each individual body tries to maintain. But this setpoint changes throughout life depending on controllable factors. Other things are probably controlled by the body’s natural hormonal system besides body weight. Unfortunately, the ways to change the body weight setpoint haven’t been understood properly because of some errors made back in the 1970s. The idea at that time was that it was necessary to lower the amount of sugar in a diabetic person’s blood. To lower that blood sugar level, doctors began having people inject synthetic insulin into their veins. This does work to lower blood glucose, but the obesity problem was greatly worsened because the way it did this was to dump the sugar into the cells instead of eliminating it from even entering the blood vessels in the first place. The problem with moving the glucose into the cell is that the cells slowly convert the sugar resident in them to fat. It usually takes years to create an obese person but if enough sugar is consistently resident in the cells of the body, the body eventually becomes obese.
This type of excess fat is easily eliminated if people return to the way of eating that was common before the invasion of cheap sugar and insulin into their bodies. The typical way to eat before 1970 was breakfast, lunch and dinner and no other calories at other times. That simple method of eating gave the body twelve or more hours to allow the body’s cells to reset the sugars and insulin to a stable base level. Overnight the body returned to its natural setpoint. That style of eating is now known as intermittent fasting, and if a person is modestly overweight and not converted to being a type two diabetic by excess consumption of sugar and being given artificial insulin, they can easily lower their setpoint by intermittent fasting. The easiest way to change the setpoint is to narrow the hours of eating to about six hours per day. That is, to only eat from 12 noon to 6 pm until the body adjusts to its natural weight and then return to the old way of breakfast, lunch and dinner and no snacks. My personal experience was that I lost about one and a half pounds per month for fourteen months and then stopped losing weight. I am now near my ideal weight and if I get hungry before eating time I drink a glass of water and go for a fifteen-minute walk and then eat normally until I’m full. It’s that simple and it works.
The new idea I’ve been exploring is that this same setpoint idea might work on other important components of a person’s hormonal life. Emotional fasting might reset the need for a particular type of hormonal level. There are probably specific hormones associated with various kinds of chronic emotions. Some for depression, others for anxiety, others for addictions in general, and others for specific addictions. If that assumption is accurate, then it would seem reasonable that to return the associated hormone to a normal level would normalize the person’s emotional state. That is now done rather clumsily with psychoactive drugs because if the hormone is unknown then what is needed to measure isn’t known and the dosage can’t be knowable either.
Perhaps we don’t need to know the exact hormones or measure them or create synthetic ones either to get them stabilized. The body already has ways of adjusting these things or we would already be totally crazy. We may be able to do a parallel hormone control that would be similar to our controlling our food processing hormones. If, for example, depression was like a hormonally caused obesity from an insulin overdose, then the control of the depression wouldn’t be by injecting an unknown-insulin-like-substitute; it would be to do a fast of the thing that stimulates the stabilization of these emotions.
Victor Frankl discusses how some people totally lost their emotional resiliency when put into work camps during the first weeks of internment, but those who made the right mental adaptations did much better.
Emotional fasting is the self-directed depriving of one’s self of a desired feeling.