Updated: Mar 9
Eating is an essential part of life. We cannot sustain life for long without food and water. It is important that we take the time to learn how to eat well in order to have the best life possible. Our views and practices will affect our lives and our health in significant ways in the months and years ahead. Eating well can literally change everything, particularly how we feel about ourselves, which affects the quality of relationships we form with others.
Eating can be both a blessing and a curse. There are many reasons people struggle with eating. One that comes to mind is difficulty understanding the proper balance of nutrients to feel full and satisfied. We eat too little or too much and do not live healthy lives. Some of us end up with eating disorders.
It is likely that you have a friend or loved one, or two, who struggles with an eating disorder of some kind. They think or talks about food almost constantly. They just cannot seem to get a grip on their eating patterns and they are unhealthy as result. They may avoid food in any way, shape or form, then binge when their body starts to shut down, or no one is around. Unfortunately, some just really don’t know where to start because nutrition isn’t covered in any great detail in most schools.
Maybe they bought into the hype that “salads are healthy” or “fat and carbs are bad”, and that is the extent of their nutrition knowledge. In reality, you can’t get all your nutrients from salads (or any one food or food group) alone, and you will quickly grow to hate the otherwise healthy food if you force foods on yourself. Your body needs proteins, fats and carbs presented in a nutritionally balanced “healthy plate”. Fat provides energy to your body and helps maintain body temperature. Carbs often get a bad rap, but they are important because they provide energy and regulate blood sugar. Your brain prefers the energy from the carbs than the fat. Proteins are the building blocks that provide structure and strength.
All things in moderation. There are good carbs such as those in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and bad carbs such as the refined grains in white rice, bread and other foods. There are good fats such as the fats in olive oil, avocados, nuts and more, and bad fat such as the saturated fat found in red meat.
Eating more food than we need to live is something that many people struggle with. Eating is associated with most kinds of social activities and events. People learn to eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger or prolong their health. Eating becomes a way to experience pleasure or to numb the pains of life.
The bottom line is that whether people struggle with eating too little or with indulging on food too much, they are not using food in ways that are healthy and life-promoting. Eating, while it is definitely meant to bring people pleasure and satisfaction, is primarily to be a means of sustaining a healthy life. Our problems begin anytime we neglect nutrition or indulge beyond what is necessary.
Take a look at your eating patterns. You may be surprised to see that you have established unhealthy eating habits over the years. Perhaps your schedule for each day is centered around when you can have meals or a snack. If so, there is a high chance that food has become a bit too high of a priority. Anytime that your thoughts are consumed with food, whether with restraining yourself from it or with consuming more of it, you are thinking of eating and of food in unhealthy ways.
Giving eating a rightful place in our lives without allowing it to become consuming is the key. Make an effort to keep your perspective about eating balanced and healthy. Your life will be better and longer because of it.