Monday, April 28, 2008

Food Control is Difficult

Food control is difficult for many, if not most of us. At times we may feel possessed by urges to stuff ourselves full of excess calories. We are then listening to the voice of our “Chew”. We all have a “Chew”, also known as our “saboteur”. This is the part of each of us that says, “Go ahead, eat whatever you want. You deserve it! It is OK to dive right into that sugary, carbohydrate-laden snack. Life is tough! Enjoy it all! You can worry about your weight/health tomorrow, or Monday, or next week!” Do any of those messages sound familiar?

Certainly it is fine to indulge now and then. Life is to be enjoyed and so is food. For most of us, however, stopping our eating can be tricky at times. We crave. We overeat. We feel bad about doing it. We admonish ourselves which can lead to more craving and continued overeating and then, no matter how much we put into our mouths, we often don’t feel satiated. (This pattern can lead to serious eating disorders in some cases.)

We are not content because satisfying the “Chew” requires more than candy bars, sodas and pasta. Being truly satiated means attending to all of our needs, not simply our need for food. We have to fuel our bodies regularly to function and must make nutritious choices as often as we can. This does not mean eating perfectly at all times. We also require other things such as adequate rest, plenty of water, a fair amount of exercise, companionship and now and then laughter.

We are not simple or one-dimensional. We are complex beings with multiple needs and we have to nurture our emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves as well as care for our bodies. We may be doing our best to fulfill our physical needs for nourishment, rest sunshine and exercise but we may not be quite as tuned in to providing nourishment to our whole selves. We all have many needs and these are often neglected with today’s emphasis on glamour and perfection. We try to be perfect, to look perfect and to eat perfectly. This is not possible! We cannot do it. Most of us would never expect those around us to behave perfectly at all times, nor would we punish them if they occasionally overindulged.

As mentioned in earlier blogs and The Taming of the Chew, it is the human way to overeat sometimes and, at other times to eat less than our bodies need. It is the striving for perfection that repeatedly gets us into trouble. Because we are human, we set ourselves up to fail if we strive to be perfect. We set this impossible goal, fail to meet our expectations, and end up feeling like failures. We punish ourselves by heading for the nearest “fix” of chocolate, pasta or cookies to help us feel better.
Instead of dieting, bingeing, depriving yourself and beating yourself up, be gentle with yourself. Think of what you truly need and treat yourself with love. As always, I remind you, you are worth i

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