Meal-time is a very important part of our daily routine. Yet we are so casual about what it implies in terms of our overall well-being. The questions below affect your life, your emotional well-being and your relationship with the world in general. The findings would be very interesting. It would simply surprise you that they also give an insight to who you are, and what you think and worry about.
Our articles are not meant to judge, diagnose or to form opinions. Nor are they meant to advise you. They are simply to generate a higher degree of awareness for living better lives. If this article sparks your interest in your eating pattern, we request you to pursue the topic in even greater depth.
Take a few minutes and read the questions:
• Do you eat while watching television?
• Do you eat when bored?
• Do you eat when upset?
• Do you eat when lonely?
• Do you become conscious when eating in front of others?
• Do you think about the food in your refrigerator?
• Do you diet every now and then, only to return to the abandoned plan every now and then?
• Do you feel guilty of what you eat?
• Do you think of food as a means to celebrate?
• Do you eat so that something is not wasted?
• Do you eat on a full tummy just because someone has made an emotional request?
• Do you find yourself eating what you have been advised not to?
• Do you go for hours without food?
• Do you starve because you have to eat later in the day?
• Do you make endless resolutions about what not to eat?
• Do you often eat packed or re-heated food?
If your response for any of them is ‘yes’ , then it makes sense for you to read on:
Each of these questions stem from a complex psychological situation. Behind them lies a whole world. Let us discuss them in general, as a very specific discussion is beyond the present scope of the article.
1. A family which gathers around the television at mealtime is not using their precious time to bond. Instead, it is invaded by sensational news items or the daily ‘melodramatic’ offering of the television. It not only reduces the pleasure of eating, it reduces the awareness of portion consumed. An occasional meal is harmless, when the World Cup Final is being broadcast, or any other event of such novelty and magnitude. One must consciously control the practice. And sadly, it is very common.
2. Eating when bored is the most common of the eating disorders, similar to eating under stress or depression, which are comparatively more critical issues. Yet the impact is same. When we look for solace in food, we must search for what our void is. It may be beyond us to fill the void, yet it is very important to become aware about what plagues our mind and heart for which we seek comfort.
3. The greater the emotional connection to food, the greater is its ability to harm you.
Emotional distress can be comforted by emotional support, not by food. Yes, not even by that favourite bar of chocolate. It is far better to face the situation and talk to a friend than to consume the empty calories.
4. Though eating is a community activity, and food is meant to be shared, but sometimes, it becomes the only way to celebrate. Watching a film or going for a live event can be just as fun to celebrate something in our lives. The concept of sharing food is to allow us to give to those who need, and be together in the experience while being grateful to the effort which went into preparing the food. The last one is the most critical of all social learning. Hardly do people think of the one who put in the labour to put together the meal.
5. Feeling guilty of what you eat is a vicious cycle. One should be aware of what one eats and how much, while serving himself. Not afterwards. It is something similar to the way we handle our impulses, we give in, only to regret afterwards. Then there is no way to deal with the guilt other than losing our peace or punishing ourselves with the feeling of guilt.
6. Denying food is yet another dysfunctional relationship people have with their food. Long hours of starvation are harmful, and inevitably results in binging afterwards – which is even more harmful. Suppressing desire never leads to a balanced state of mind. It is another extreme we push ourselves to. Just as short breaks are important to keep our spirits high, occasional indulgence even if not recommended explicitly by your nutritionist, is not a thing to feel guilty about.
7. If you have more than three meals a week which consists of packed or reheated ready-to-eat food, or take-away meal, you must take this seriously. Everyone who must eat, must learn the basics of cooking, or at least enough to survive. Packed food is handy when you work that deadline, or maybe once in a while, but it should not be a regular item in your pantry. The added chemicals in these food items, in order to increase their shelf life and to make it readily consumable is going to do great damage. This is similar to our behavior of seeking a readymade solution for matters we have not handled responsibly while there was still time!
8. If you feel conscious to choose healthier options when dining with others, perhaps you could follow it in your private meals as well. A sudden and forced healthy food will be rather dissatisfying, while a conscious change in eating habits and life-style would be more rewarding in the long run.
To conclude, one must eat mindfully and responsibly as what we put into out body is going to decide what we get from it.
“We must take care of our body, as our body is our only place to live in!” – Jim Rohn