Let’s face it. Humans are emotional beings. Emotions permeate every aspect of our lives, including eating. We eat to celebrate joyous occasions, such as weddings, birthdays and holidays. We also eat to stop the pain, when we’re depressed, sad, feeling lonely, or just bored.
To see eating as purely a form of energy intake is not seeing the complete picture, nor is it realistic.
Eating is pleasurable, brings us joy. As it should be. If a person is feeling low in the happiness department, it’s natural to turn to food for a quick boost.
So why deny yourself?
Why all the guilt?
What can be so bad that during difficult times in our lives, we make it even worse by creating more conflict between our body and mind?
I say when you are feeling down, take extra time to enjoy, and appreciate the act of having a meal. Take your mind off whatever it is that’s bothering you, at least while eating and instead focus on the wonderful flavor and texture of the food. Appreciate the number of people it took to grow the raw ingredients, and the distance it covered to bring it to where you are. Be grateful that despite your current predicament, you have plenty to eat, and therefore have plenty to be thankful for. Now enjoy the meal, truly enjoy it. Let it fill your stomach, and your mind, with pleasure.
Better yet, have a meal with someone you love, be it a family member, or a close friend. Spread the joy around. Chances are, you won’t feel nearly as bad after.
Have no friends or family around? Or just not the mood to talk to anyone? No problem, go to your favorite eatery. C’mon, you know the one. Or simply a busy pub or diner, or even a 24hr fast food place. Hey, I’m not here to judge. Once there, go find a seat by the window, where you can see people walk by, or sit in the middle of the place, where you are surrounded by others. Order your food, and observe the humanity around you. People talking, laughing, eating, arguing. Just let it all soak in. Now you have your company. It’s not such a lonely world after all. And whatever is bothering you, is it really as bad as you think? Isn’t your meal delicious? That’s right, things will get better.
To be clear, I’m not advocating binge eating here. Your meals should be a part of a well thought out eating plan. This isn’t about a 3 am impulsive snack attack. Having no plan and eating whenever and whatever you want is a sure way to gain weight. Don’t do it.
What I am saying, is to take full advantage of the nourishing nature of eating, both for the body and the soul. Embrace it.
At the minimum, it’s a nice distraction. When used properly, under the correct setting and the right frame of mind, it truly can be an act of healing.