Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eating to Live

Although I have never smoked or been addicted to alcohol or drugs, I have often overeaten, which could be viewed as a form of addiction - albeit a mild one, an addiction just the same.  Regardless of the type, addiction could be defined as a compulsive behavior which endangers your mental, emotional and physical health.  Often it is an emotional response to overwheming life issues or a traumatic occurence.

Overcoming an addiction requires time, patience, discipline and most of all, honesty.  You have to be honest with yourself as to why you overeat in the first place.  Certain reason don't count, such as: "Loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook, "loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook - you get my point.  It would be much easier to just say, "I'm overeating right now, and I"m unwilling to stop overeating right now."

If this is what you have chosen to say, you also must be willing to accept that overeating inhibits your spiritual development and your physical health.  More simply put, overeating puts a barrier between you and the higher power you say that you believe in, and it makes you gain weight - which can lead to illness and disease.

Having spent a great portion of my life as a thin person who became overweight following a traumatic, life- altering occurence, I have had to EXTREMELY SLOWLY deal with my feelings about how my body image relates to almost every aspect of my self, my spirit, my lifestyle and my LIFE.  Essentially, the choice to overeat is connected to almost everything else that we do - or don't do- with our lives.  KNOWING this is the easier part of letting go of overeating.  DOING something about it is the hardest part - HARD but NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

Food is pleasurable.  However, it is a fleeting pleasure that - when you really think about it - is different with each experience.  Each experience is sort of like a day - with the sensation of it being dependent on other factors, such as your mood, the environment, whether you're tired or not, the company you're around - and of course, the quality of the food.  This said, no matter how exquisite the taste, there are more enjoyable things in life.  Too much emphasis on the food means that there are deeper issues you need to deal with.

Here's how I'm dealing with food right now: Eating what I like in small portions only when I'm hungry.  Cooking for myself as a single person, which means cooking in small quantities (usually enough for 2 days).  Including fruits and vegetables in my meals.  Avoiding red meat, white flour, white sugar, fried foods, pastries, processed foods and coffee.  Not bringing into the house those foods that I simply cannot handle, such as gourmet cheeses, ice cream and chocolate candy.

Excluding these foods leaves an infinite variety of foods to choose from.  I enjoy eating, but do not like the experience of fullness and other problems that come from overeating.  While I realize that I am human, and will sometimes slip up, I also realize that nothing affects my health and well-being as much as what I choose to put in my body.  It's a day to day challenge, but it's worth my life.  It's worth quality of life.