Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Twig Obsession

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

The Brazilian philosopher and composer Tim Maia once said : “I decided to go into a draconian diet, cutting drinks, fat, and sugar. In two weeks, I lost 14 days”.

We are obsessed with the Elixir of Eternal Youth, and one of the ways we found to keep younger was being as skinny as a tree twig. In my new book, “The Witch of Portobello”, the main character discusses this obsession – and the waste of energy put into this. Of course you may say: a healthy food does no harm, and you are right. But this is not what Athena is discussing in the text below.

“Today, before we close, we’re going to talk about diet. Forget all about slimming regimes.”

“We have survived for all these millennia because we have been able to eat. And now that seems to have become a curse. Why? What is it that makes us, at forty years old, want to have the same body we had when we were young? Is it possible to stop time? Of course not. And why should we be thin?”

I heard a kind of murmuring in the crowd. They were probably expecting a more spiritual message.

“We don’t need to be thin. We buy books, we go to gyms, we expend a lot of brain power on trying to hold back time, when we should be celebrating the miracle of being here in this world. Instead of thinking about how to live better, we’re obsessed with weight.

“Forget all about that. You can read all the books you want, do all the exercise you want, punish yourself as much as you want, but you will still have only two choices – either stop living or get fat.

“Eat in moderation, but take pleasure in eating: it isn’t what enters a person’s mouth that’s evil, but what leaves it. Remember that for millennia we have struggled in order to keep from starving. Whose idea was it that we had to be thin all our lives?

“I’ll tell you: the vampires of the soul, those who are so afraid of the future that they think it’s possible to stop the wheel of time. Use the energy and effort you put into dieting to nourish yourself with spiritual bread. Know that the Great Mother gives generously and wisely. Respect that and you will get no fatter than passing time demands. Instead of artificially burning those calories, try to transform them into the energy required to fight for your dreams. No one ever stayed slim for very long just because of a diet.”

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