Have you ever considered that both “Food” and “Diet” are four-letter words? They are words that are both revered and hated. It seems that many are looking for the “perfect” food or diet to help them lose weight, and are totally discouraged when it doesn’t seem to exist.
Why Do We Eat?
Part of the problem with food in our culture stems from society’s expectations for food. Consider — what are some of the reasons for eating? If you can take time, stop reading for a minute and make a list of all the reasons you eat. Perhaps your list will look something like this one created by the folks at one of my recent workshops.
Reasons for Eating Food
• It’s there
• Something to do
• It’s pretty (nice to look at)
• To socialize
• It’s expected
• We always eat at the movies
• It smelled good
• For fuel
• I was cooking
• I was stressed
• It would hurt someone’s feelings if I don’t eat
• Because it was time to eat (whether hungry or not)
It is interesting to note that most of the reasons have nothing to do with actually needing food. Food fulfills many functions in our society, and eating because we are hungry or need fuel are not the main reasons many people eat (the term is Emotional Eating). In fact, it is fair to say that many people in our society have no idea what it really feels like to eat because they are hungry. We have a nation of malnourished citizens. The prefix “mal-” means bad, and in our country malnourished means “over” nourished more than it means “under” nourished.
Out of Balance — Out of Tune
As a nation, we are out of touch with our bodies. We push beyond our physical capacities and are told this is a good thing. Many of our modern technologies are mixed blessings because they have encouraged us to be out of balance and out of attunement. This includes such inventions as the electric light which allows us to ignore the natural boundaries of day and night, and electronic media that allow us to view happenings around the world within minutes of actual events as if this was a natural and normal phenomenon, and that we should be able to keep up with all of the world’s events on any given day. These complexities have resulted in high levels of stress and our willing participation in “sensory overload.”
And so we comfort ourselves with food and the wisdom of a recent billboard seen on the way driving into Nashville, Tennessee: “Life is short — Snack often!”
So is there anything we can actually do to help ourselves eat better and more sensibly. There absolutely is, but it may mean learning some new behaviors and trying out some new attitudes about food.
Let’s begin next time with a better understanding of our wonderful eating mechanism.
Remember to be good to you!
Copyright © 2013 by Gary L. Flegal, Ph.D.
•Dr. Gary Flegal is a Behavioral Medicine and Health Specialist with a doctorate in “Health Education and Human Performance” from Michigan State University. He is an exciting and accomplished presenter and keynote speaker, presenting seminars for groups and companies on location and at conventions. His advanced training in stress management came to him while working in affiliation with the original Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. and his staff. In addition to corporate presentations, Dr. Flegal keeps a busy schedule working with individual clients for a variety of stress-related issues, including anger management, quitting smoking, learning to relax and manage stress, and learning self-hypnosis.
Dr. Flegal’s other passion is magic. He has been a professional magician for over 30 years and continues practicing his art at every opportunity. These two passions work together beautifully as he illustrates stress management concepts with fun, visual, and “magical” demonstrations in his stress management workshops and seminars. It also allows him to share stress management with his magic audiences wherever he goes because “Laughter is the Best Medicine!” Gary is a Reiki Master and a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists.
Dr. Flegal’s specialties include stress management, anger management, positive behavior change, insomnia, smoking cessation, and exercise physiology. For individual appointments, speaking engagements, or more information, contact Gary at Professional Stress Management Services in Nashville, Tennessee, at (615)812-7280 or through his Web site: www.GaryFlegal.com.