I’ve been thinking a lot about Gestalt Psychology these days. We don’t hear very much about Gestalt anymore, although it was and is a major “school” in the area of human perception. There are tons of references on the web; just Google it.

The basic premise of Gestalt Psychology is that human beings are inseparable from the context in which they operate, i.e. we are holistic not just in ourselves, but within our very environment. The person and his/her environment are inseparable at any given moment.

Gestalt has often come to mind these days, as I try to explain my recent findings around losing weight to friends. The pounds continue to slough off rather effortlessly, a rather new experience for me (although I did have it once before in 1975 when I lost 50 pounds in two months when I spent a Summer in Greece – funny enough I did the same things back then).

My basic approach has been to drastically cut the salt in my diet, and to significantly reduce the intake of simple carbs such as sugar, white flour, etc. The first has the effect of taking the desire out of eating, and the second reduces the hypoglycemic spikes and resulting intense hunger that come with Metabolic Syndrome.

But I realize that none of this would have been possible without a living context (and partner) which supports such a major dietary change.

I’m responsible for most of the food shopping and preparation (a hobby rather than a necessity, since my wife is also a great cook). This gives me almost complete control of what comes into the house and how it’s prepared.

I also work from home most of the time, which means that I can eat (or not) when I want, and my choices aren’t influenced by what others want to do (e.g. which restaurant to go to). The kids are gone, so I no longer have to worry about pleasing others’ palates, nor put up with the grinding “There’s nothing good to eat in this place” whine of adolescents and teenagers. When the kids show up spontaneously these days and ask “What can I eat?”, I answer, “What are you making?”.

My time is very flexible and I often work at bizarre hours. OTOH, I can and do take off for a bike ride or kayak mid-morning or early afternoon, at a moment’s notice.

Above all, my wife has always had a preference for clean, simple food and has complained for many years that I work too hard at making everything “Taste too good”. In other words, she and I are completely aligned with my new eating style.

A conclusion that I have reached is that no plan can be successful without a consideration of the Gestalt of one’s life at any point in time.