The pleasures of eating sumptuous food cannot be put into words. Food is perhaps our favorite pastime, and if there is one thing that will never go out of business, it is the food industry. Food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. Whatever the type of food, from whichever corner of the world, of all the activities, eating needs to be done with a certain level of freedom. That is where the balance lies. Children eat food without much thought to the quantity of food. When they are satisfied and full they stop eating, no matter what the health experts say about how much they need to eat.
However, as we reach adulthood, we lose the good eating habits that were instilled into us as children. We begin to think freedom means eating whatever we want, when we want, without regard to the body’s need. This works for a period of time because when we are young, the body is able to withstand erratic eating habits. But as we get older, metabolism slows down, weight become an issue, and we go on crazy diets to get back to normal weight.
What we forget is that these diets are standard guidelines for what to eat. They work for some people and do not for others. The reason is each person’s body type and genetic content is unique and so the body’s response to the various diets differs from person to person. But because we are trying hard to stay healthy, lose weight, get muscle definition, etc, calorie counting gets ingrained in our heads. As soon as we see food we start counting calories, and we are robbed of the joy of eating. As a result, we also tend to binge on our favorite foods after frequently depriving ourselves of them. This is even worse as it confuses the body, because we have stopped listening to it. So at this point neither the diet, nor the calorie counting, nor the binging makes us happy about eating. After all, the reason we eat is to feel good. If the diet plans and calorie counting is not fulfilling, then it is time to explore a different approach, one that was successfully used by previous generations, where they enjoyed eating without worrying about weight gain or other food related ailments.
Granted they did not have social media and were not inundated by attractive advertisements to lure them into bad eating habits. However, exercising control and taking charge of our wellbeing rests entirely with us. We need to start adopting sensible eating habits. Food is about what works for the body and not what the tongue desires. So paying attention to the needs of the body and eating accordingly brings more involvement in the process of eating, which also means we will savor what we eat and stop eating when full. It also brings a certain intuition to the process of eating, which in itself liberates us from the constant mental chatter of calories, good food, bad food and other bad habits. We will start to explore the freedom of making all foods emotionally equivalent (there will no longer be any “good” or “bad” foods). Intuitive eating can create satisfying, sensory eating experiences by staying present to the pleasure of the meals. It teaches us to stop eating when that pleasure diminishes because we are full.
Good food is one of the gifts of life. Gifting ourselves the deep level of joy brings home this fundamental life experience. Everyone deserves it.
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