I’m not perfect by any means, but I am aware enough of my body at this point to know that there is a distinct difference between the mindset of eating to live or living to eat. If you’ve ever been on a diet before, as most of us have, you’ve heard this saying before. Have you really taken the opportunity to think about what it actually means though? I feel that food is used in our culture in a lot of ways to promote the live to eat philosophy. Food is used in almost every celebration, big or small, in our culture, and not just as a way to sustain our body.
Let’s take a look. At a child’s first birthday, the child is traditionally given a cake to eat until they pass out from a sugar coma. Subsequent birthdays yield the same type of cake and other food is offered in celebration. At weddings, there is a cake and other food offered in celebration of the marriage. At funerals, the family of the lost loved one is given gifts of food. Anniversaries, engagements, and divorce parties are usually celebrated with food and drink.
Business networking usually involves a breakfast, lunch or dinner meeting, or getting together for coffee, tea or some type of snack. Companies offer incentives of food to employees – usually bagels, doughnuts, coffee, gift cards to restaurants, etc. Coupons for restaurants are abundant in newspapers, magazines and online offered incentives for people to eat out. Any business function that is held at a corporate level typically includes lunch, dinner, cocktails, etc.
People are running around and are so busy these days that take-out is a way of life. After all, to cook at home, you have to plan a meal, go to the store to get the food, bring it home, cook it and then clean up the mess. People, including myself, get caught up in the rat race. They get caught up in this food cycle. They are stressed out and trying to create more time and food is one of the top things that people try to save time with. If you are eating in your car, are you consciously aware of what you are shoving in your mouth? If you are working while you are eating your lunch, is your body really being nourished?
So many people get caught up in having a microwave dinner, or heating up leftovers from last night’s restaurant meal, or eating junk when they get home from a stressful day because that’s all they have the energy to do. I’m not judging here, trust me. I have been caught up in this unhealthy cycle many times, pulled myself out, got back in, and now I am trying to get out again.
A new connection I just made who specializes in counseling people with eating disorders recently said “you are always going to have your body, and you are always going to need to eat food…..you might as well start getting comfortable with both because they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon”. That sure made a lot of sense to me. What I took from that is that as long as we keep trying to break unhealthy patterns, and try and eat better foods and take care of our bodies that we are on the right track. Nobody is perfect, but the key to a healthier life is to be aware of what we are eating, why we are eating it, what food makes us feel good, what food makes us feel bad, and so on. Are we eating to live or living to eat…..that truly is the question.