There are many reasons why we should learn to meet life without useless resistance, and the health of our stomachs is not the least.
It would surprise most people if they could know how much unnecessary strain they put on their stomachs by eating too much. A nervous invalid had a very large appetite. She was helped twice, sometimes three times, to meat and vegetables at dinner. She thought that what she deemed her very healthy appetite was a great blessing to her, and often remarked upon it, as also upon her idea that so much good, nourishing food must be helping to make her well. And yet she wondered why she did not gain faster.
Now the truth of the matter was that this invalid had a nervous appetite. Not only did she not need one third of the food she ate, but indeed the other two thirds was doing her positive harm. The tax which she put upon her stomach to digest so much food drained her nerves every day, and of course robbed her brain, so that she ate and ate and wept and wept with nervous depression. When it was suggested to her by a friend who understood nerves that she would get better very much faster if she would eat very much less she made a rule to take only one helping of anything, no matter how much she might feel that she wanted another. Very soon she began to gain enough to see for herself that she had been keeping herself ill with overeating, and it was not many days before she did not want a second helping.
Nervous appetites are not uncommon even among women who consider themselves pretty well. Probably there are not five in a hundred among all the well-fed men and women in this country who would not be more healthy if they ate less.
Then there are food notions to be looked out for and out of which any one can relax by giving a little intelligent attention to the task.
“I do not like eggs. I am tired of them.” “Dear, dear me! I ate so much ice cream that it made me ill, and it has made me ill to think of it ever since.”
Relax, drop the contraction, pretend you had never tasted ice cream before, and try to eat a little—not for the sake of the ice cream, but for the sake of getting that knot out of your stomach.
“But,” you will say, “can every one eat everything?”
“Yes,” the answer is, “everything that is really good, wholesome food is all right for anybody to eat.”