“Eating is not a form of entertainment. We don’t find ourselves forcing fuel in the tank of your car when the tank is full. If there’s no need for nutrition, there should be no need to eat.” Hector Sectzer
Do you eat for “entertainment” or what?
The other day I heard the phrase “eating is not a form of entertainment” to which most people would respond with, “what? Are you kidding me?”. My friends love eating in new restaurants, exploring the sensory experiences of food, and savoring the tastes and smells of the culinary experience. While I also enjoy that, I only do it when I am hungry and my body needs nutrition. Food for me is really not entertainment; it’s a form of nourishment and sustenance. I eat to keep my body healthy; of course, I love to “eat out” with friends but that’s because of the social experience more than the food itself.
My relationship with my 54 year research on nutrition, “what is food and what is not” has changed dramatically over my life span. My research taught me to understand what the body needs as opposed to what my mind wants. Now I eat to fuel my body – with as healthy a fare as possible – but at one time about 40 years ago, my relationship to food and how to deal with it was not so healthy. I suffered from bulimia – an eating disorder characterized by binging and purging. When I was about 28 years old I became irritated, confused and angry about the food vs nutrition dilemma. Most nutritionists at that time either were hiding from the population or didn’t have a clue on nutrition. I couldn’t get a decent working answer on what I needed to do to stay healthy. Everything I tried, failed, and food became my enemy. I feared having to put food in my mouth, for it made me fall into a deep degree of anxiety and panic. After a couple of years of battling with what to do, I started to eat small portions slowly, without drinking any water and waiting for the results. I gradually stopped the binging and replaced it with listening to my body instead of unconsciously eating to sooth my pressures. I slowed down my fitness program and payed attention to the results of what every meal did to my body. I listened and followed my body signs. I began to relate differently to food the needed nutrition and the way I dealt with it. I compared my fuel intake to the needs of other ‘machines’ such as automobiles, airplanes, even lawn motors. And they all had one thing in common, “they only got fuel when it was needed to perform and survive a task.” My relationship changed from an unconscious to conscious self-awareness. Even eating right with absolutely no chemicals, if we eat for the wrong reasons, the result can be catastrophic.
Instead of eating when I was upset, angry, or wanting to avoid a problem, I learned to catch early signs of such emotions and not use food to bring me peace and/or as a reward. Food no longer plays a part in any aspect of my life except to put nutrients in my body. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy eating, I just do it right. No eating mindlessly – no eating while watching television or performing other sedentary activities. I pay attention to the experience of eating with open curiosity and the foremost goal in mind…to eat to live, not live to eat.
© Copyright – Hector Sectzer