Hello and Aloha
This week’s “question of the week” is all about our eating habits:
You may think now: “What the heck? Of course I eat because I want to survive.” Before you click away from this post though, I’d like to invite you to take a closer look at the question why you eat. For most of us there are quite some things to discover.
Is eating a habit for you, because it’s lunch or dinner time and because your family is eating, too? Do you eat because you are bored? Because you’re craving certain foods? Because you are stressed, sad, or annoyed? Because you feel lost? Maybe you can also see yourself in my own story: Since I was a teenager I mainly ate because it was time for food according to my diet plan. For quite a while I had breakfast every morning because my doctor told me that this was the most important meal of the day. In another phase, I skipped breakfast and ate a hearty dinner every night, but not after 6pm. When someone told me about new scientific findings that supposedly had the solution for a crunchy body, I threw all previous plans overboard and tried out the recommended new diet. Over the past 15 years I’ve been experimenting with small meals five times a day, regular meals three times a day, and one large meal once a day. Sometimes I did not eat anything at all. And invariably every single diet I interrupted with binge eating, i.e. stuffing all the foods that I could find at home (or in the supermarket next door) in my tummy because I couldn’t stand the pressure any more. After that I ate because I didn’t stick to my diet and felt guilty. I munched chocolate bars while working out a new plan for the next few weeks to finally reach the weight of my dreams. And with the new plan, the vicious cycle started all over again.
Whether this sounds familiar and you’re also thinking about (not) eating all day long or you just don’t feel particularly connected to your body: did it ever occur to you to eat when you’re hungry? When your body is asking for food?
Sounds crazy in a time and society that grants us access to all kinds of food anytime and anywhere, while we’re trimmed to optimise our daily routine and eat while walking or standing. However, eating when we’re hungry is the only thing that really makes sense. Our body has its own incredible intelligence and knows exactly when we need to eat. We just forgot to listen to that and depend on our minds instead, which can obviously not know when we’re hungry and when we’re sated. Maybe eating is a mere habit for us, we eat because we’re bored, or we binge because we’re trying to find joy or to let go of control in an otherwise utterly controlled life. Maybe we’re also scared of gaining weight and don’t eat enough. As if we’d swallow the whole world like a bottomless pit if we listened to our bodies.
However, we find a thousand reasons to eat while there is only one good one: Hunger. But what does being hungry actually mean? Do you remember what that feels like? When were you hungry for the last time? And how did you react to that? Hunger is much more than just an empty stomach. Our stomachs can be trained by eating more or less and therewith rumble earlier or later. Hunger is the message from our body that it needs energy and certain nutritional values in order to stay fit and healthy. Linked closely to that is the feeling of satiety to which most of us listen equally rarely.
It can be more or less difficult to get in touch with and listen to our bodies, depending on the reasons why we eat. If we eat because we subconsciously believe that food is the only joy life will ever have to offer, it may be a bit harder to bring in some change than if we just need to let go of a habit. In any case, the journey starts with finding out why we eat and what it feels like to be hungry and full.
To eat when I’m hungry was revolutionary for me. It took me a while until I got the hang of it and I had to let go of many patterns and beliefs I had about myself, my body, and life. I also had to find out what and how to eat (I’ll write more about this later). Was it all worth it? Absolutely, 100 %, yes. Today I work with my body instead of deciding on it: I eat when I’m hungry until I’m full – at least most of the times. Hence, my body gets as much energy as it needs and I feel fitter, more balanced and healthier than I used to. I also lost a couple of pounds and reached my very natural weight with which I feel comfortable, attractive and happy. Plus: it’s simply salvation not to think about (not) eating, calories, or my shape all day long anymore. My quality of life has improved significantly and I found a great deal of inner peace – something I wish for every single being on this planet.
In this sense I’d like to invite you to think about the initial question: why do you eat? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or feel like talking. I wish you an amazing week.
Why do you eat? What does food mean to you? Do you have a good connection to your body?