I was listening to an audio book yesterday (called Outliers) and I heard talk about a town in rural Pennsylvania where the heart attack rate was dramatically lower than the national average. People under 65 years of age in towns just two miles away were dying of heart attacks at a rate 3 times higher. Even though all the people had migrated from the same town in Italy years ago, researches tracked down relatives not living in the town and found that their heart attack rate was the same as the national average. And when they looked at that their diet, it was very high in fat and all the other things that dieticians say you shouldn’t eat if you want to avoid heart attacks and other diseases.
It turns out that the reason for their health was a lack of stress. The community just lived in a way that lowered their stress a lot. But over the years, the community started to live more like other Americans, and over those years their health rate has deteriorated. I found an article here if you want to read about it. But I found this quote interesting:
We now know that people’s reactions to the same stressful experience vary widely and those who have a greater sense of control, support and satisfaction in their lives are less at risk of illness. Those who get sick most seem to view the world and their lives as unmanageable while those who stay healthy have a greater sense of coherence and control through faced with the same problems.
Those who stay healthy have a “greater sense of coherence and control”. Wow. I like that. That’s one of the things I like about being strict with my eating plan that I need to follow to lose weight. By making the wrong foods taboo in my life, and knowing I can never cross the lines I have set or cheat, the more I feel I am now in control of my eating — something that has long evaded me. And that sense of control – by itself – makes me feel a whole lot better.