Where does your mind go when you eat?
I heard this question recently when listening to the Ten Percent Happier podcast interview with Evelyn Tribole, one of the developers of the intuitive eating. I have to admit, when I heard the question my first thought was, “huh, I’m not sure.”
How about you? Where does your mind go when you eat?
Let’s start with a story…
My low point in my relationship with food occurred just before my 15th birthday. I so badly wanted to fit in, to be popular. Somehow in my mind I began to believe that if I were only a bit skinnier I would get what I wanted.
From 125 pounds, I dropped roughly 20% of my body weight while trying to keep my food-restricting and purging behaviors hidden from my parents. Although I was never diagnosed, I clearly had an eating disorder. I bottomed out just under 100 pounds.
Fortunately I somehow “snapped out” of this phase after about 6 months. While my weight returned to normal, I’ve maintained a complex relationship with food throughout my life. It’s easy for judgement, shame, and guilt to overtake enjoyment of eating.
And I know it’s not just me. Why is something like eating, something that is so important to our health and should be such a normal thing, so difficult for so many people?
Could intuitive eating help you?
The principles of intuitive eating might be of interest to you if you find yourself struggling with any of these:
- Food rules. You have lots of rules about what you’re allowed to eat, what you’re not allowed to eat, and these rules keep you from enjoying eating or the company you’re with when you eat
- Judgement. You judge yourself as good or bad depending on which foods you’ve eaten or by your weight
- Shame. You feel weak or inferior because you struggle with your weight or with difficulty making what you believe are the “right” food choices
So, where does your mind go when you eat? Ideally it be present in the moment and will go to the experience of eating – the flavors, textures, aromas in your mouth – and the joy these provide. It might also go to the people you are with and how you are enjoying food together.
If you feel like you have an unhealthy relationship with food, check out the principles of intuitive eating. Perhaps there’s something there that will help you reconnect with food in a healthy way.
Dr. Topher Fox