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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat

Have you ever heard the saying "Eat to live, don't live to eat?"  I HATE this saying!  Well, I used to.  I always thought to myself "OF COURSE I am eating to live!  I don't LIVE just to eat!  That is stupid.  It's not like I sit around just WAITING until the next time that I can stuff my face with food!"


Recently, I have had a different outlook on this particular saying.  I think that some people (more than we know,) DO actually LIVE to eat!  I think that we use food as a solution to multiple situations in our lives.  I think that there are different types of people that LIVE to EAT.

1. Emotional Eater- These people tend to eat for "occasions."  Whether the occasion is happy or sad, these people include food.  They eat to celebrate or to mourn.  The problem is, these "occasions" are not "occasional."  Emotional eaters are also emotional people.  EVERYTHING is used as a "reason" to eat.

2. Lonely Eater- These people eat well in public, but tend to over eat in private.  Sometimes, just the excuse of a quiet house is good enough reason to have a big bowl of ice cream.

3. Social Eater- These people LOVE to eat out! EVERYTHING is a party and ANYTHING is a reason to have a party.  It's OK to eat a little more at THIS outing because they don't come HERE very often.

4. Lazy Eater- These people don't want to put the effort into cooking a healthier meal, so they often eat out or eat junk because it is more accessible. Cooking means chopping, mixing, cleaning up, and over all just too much work.

5. Busy Eater- These people don't even know that they are eating.  They are too busy to sit down and enjoy a full meal.  They will often do other things while eating such as watch TV, work on the computer, etc.  Although they probably don't eat huge amounts at once, they eat enough during the day to equal way more than they SHOULD be eating.

I am sure that there are more examples of different types of eaters.  These are the ones that I came up with off of the top of my head.  Some of us will find that we fit in to one or more of these groups which means that we might not LIVE to EAT, but we FOR SURE eat to the WAY that we LIVE.  We LIVE our EATING. (Not sure that makes sense in words, but it does in my head, so go with it.)  This concept has made me feel a little less hatred towards the common phrase "Live to eat, don't eat to live."


So if a lot of us live our eating,  then how do we change that?  How do we Eat to LIVE?  Well, I've put some thought into this and I think that the FIRST thing that we need to do is change our relationship with food. We need to realize that food is there to keep us alive.  Food, itself, really shouldn't be such a big part of our lives.  Now, you might say "WHAAAA??? CINDY!  HOW CAN YOU SAY SUCH THINGS??  Food is so....yummy, and savory, and perfect!  If I don't try it all before I die, I'll.....well, DIE!"   To that I say, yes, that is true, and THAT is EXACTLY why we need to change our relationship with it.

Food is meant to be savored.  I think that if we put more focus into the why, when, and how we are eating, then the WHAT we are eating might not be such a huge deal.  Let that sink in for a minute.....


There have been numerous studies showing that people eat less when they enjoy the EXPERIENCE of eating!  (Google it.  They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.) When people sit, relax, and eat a nice meal in a great atmosphere (not chaotic) they notice what their bodies are saying to them.  They pay attention to the little signals saying  "enough."  Because you are already satisfied and content, you don't look for food to satisfy you in the ways that you normally would if you are one of the above types of eater.

This brings me to the signals themselves.  When I was in Weight Watchers, they would often tell us that we "sigh" when we are ready to stop eating.  That was one of the signals to stop.  And, have you ever heard that it takes 20 minutes for you to FEEL full, so you should eat a little, then wait?  All of these things are true.  But I think it is MORE than that.  I think that we each have a built in monitor telling us when enough is enough.  See, when you feed a baby, they stop drinking when they are done.  They kick the bottle right out of their mouth... or at least MY kids did.  Animals are the same.  We have a food dispenser for our dog.  He eats what he wants and then leaves it alone.  I think that somewhere along the line, some of us lost the ability to recognize when we are done with food.


I'm not the only one that thinks this. I did my research (did you expect anything else from me?) Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, an award-winning dietitian with a counseling practice specializing in eating disorders, Intuitive Eating, and Celiac disease in Newport Beach, California and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD, Fiaedp,  a nutrition therapist in Beverly Hills, CA. have studied "Intuitive Eating"  for over 30 years.  THEY say that not only do our bodies have a natural "stop" button, but that we can be trained to be able to use it!

They have come up with 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating to help people re-set their bodies.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality: Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of  osing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

4. Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud "NO" to thoughts in your head that declare you're "good" for eating minimal calories or "bad" because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence--the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you've had "enough".

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won't fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won't solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You'll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It's hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

9. Exercise--Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it's usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

10 Honor Your Health--Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and taste buds while making you feel well. Remember that you don't have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It's what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

You can see that some of these I already thought of on my own (which makes me feel really smart,) and others just make sense to me.  They have written a book called "Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works!"  I think that the title sounds like something you would see on an infomercial, but the idea goes along the lines of some thoughts that I have had for awhile now. So, I am going to purchase a copy and read it!  When I'm done, I'll do a book review and a giveaway with it.  The book comes tomorrow, I'll read it this week and start the program on Monday.  I'm still going to focus on the THR Food Plan as my main source of WHAT to eat, but I'm going to let this program take the place of MyFitnessPal as to HOW MUCH to eat. Let's see how it works....

In the meantime, weigh in!  What are your thoughts about this topic?  Do you agree?  Do you feel like this is just a PART of what we have to do?  Where does nutrition fit in?  These are all thoughts that I have had just while writing this post!  So many questions to answer!  But, it's an interesting idea!  Well, at least, to ME it is! 

1 comment:

  1. I am currently reading that book! I am so with you on all of this! I just went to a group therapy after being diagnosed with BED (Binge Eating Disorder). I have a long way to go, but I'm starting to listen to my body.



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