Eating with feeling is not the same as eating because of a feeling.
There are dozens of books out there about the emotional connections we make with food. I’ve read quite a few of them myself in an effort to understand how I became such an ’emotional’ eater (per one of my many Weight Watcher leaders).
Emotional eating is, of course, when you eat to feed a feeling instead of eating to manage your hunger. But as Geneen Roth taught me, food is not love…
Or is it?
When you are a baby and you’re hungry you don’t get that the pain in your stomach is just your body signaling dinner time. Because when you are a baby all you live in is the right now so a pain in your stomach is pain and you just want it to go away. So when the beautiful giants come and they feed you and the pain goes away you start to learn what love is and love is most definitely associated with a full stomach.
So I want to amend that…food is love.
Feeding is nurture. Feeding is security. Feeding is kindness. But in this world of corn syrup, trans fats and sodium overload, feeding is not always nutritious. Our feeding began as the cyclical pattern of 1. sow the food, 2. reap the food, 3. prepare the food, 4. eat the food 5. repeat has now become 1. I’m hungry 2. go the frig/store 3. pick something out 4. its not what I want 5. dial an order in.
Food is love. But the way we prepare it and use it, has made it toxic.
What would happen if the food we ate was actually nutritious and whole? What if we played a bigger role in how it is prepared and shared? What if we actually second guessed labels and asked questions about how our food is processed? What are all these preservatives that seem to be cropping up everywhere? And what about the additives and artificial flavoring? What if we only ate what was locally grown?
I am not a dog but I still celebrate with food. Food is part of my life. And food is how I commune with others. When I feel sick I will still serve up a cup comfort a la bowl to give my weary bones a lift. If I am stressed I will ease my stress with a hot cup of tea and a sugar cookie. When my mind runs rampant with thoughts an apple or sliced cucumbers do the trick. If my blood sugar enters the danger zone and I start to get woozy I will serve myself up a shot of organic whole milk or yogurt to ease the symptoms. Food is love and it is also medicine.
When used properly and appropriately, food provides you with all the vitamins, minerals and proteins your body needs. Food is not our enemy. It is our fuel.
This week I commit to remind myself:
- Food is love. However, love is in the details. It’s time I treat my meals with respect and care. I will set a place from myself and enjoy my meal.
- Minimize the additives and eliminate the artificial. It’s high time my cabinets had a make over. I don’t like overly salty, sugary things. I prefer food that tastes like it just came off a vine, or tree…I love fresh food. This week I’m putting more fresh on the table.
- Watch what I use as fuel. When the sugar gets down I have been known to take the easy way out and use crackers with or without cheese to bring myself back into balance. This week I want to use the right fuel at the right time to give myself the natural pick me up’s I need.
- Cut out as many middle men as possible. This week I want to prepare my son and my meals as much from scratch as possible. I want to try out this 100 Days of Real Food. The recipes seem easy even if they aren’t quick. I agree that processed foods make poor fuel.
- Drink water. I admit that I don’t always get my 8 glasses in. My skin and the rest of me feel the difference when I don’t too. This week I recommit myself to get in more water. Period.
I am pleased to report that my plan seems to working for me. My jeans are getting roomier and now require a belt (remind me to buy a belt). For now I believe that I am pleased.