Food and Control
Food gives us a sense of control over our own illusions. The key to allowing our food to work for our body’s use is to understand the choices we are making with our food.
First of all, the idea of control is an illusion in and of itself. As beings on this planet, we need to develop an ease of adaptation to changing circumstances. The more “controlling” we try to be to “make” things how we want them, the less actual control we have, and worse yet, we fall even further backwards because attempting to achieve “control” we lose the skill of “adaptation”.
Adaptation with the use of food is moving through the flow of the day, without preconvceived notions of how it “should” be, and listening intently to what our body needs when making our food choices. It means nourishing our body according to what it needs for functioning. By using our time wisely to take the time to enjoy the cultivating, preparation, and consuming of the food we chose can actually make us feel like we have more of the “control” we were originally setting out to achieve. The reason is because we have shown that we have self control over our own choices and desires. Food is a daily vote we make towards the desires of our life, health and happiness. As much time as food occupies the time in our lives, it would make sense that it would be a powerful anecdote to the feelings of lack and loss of control.
When you’re feeling “out of control” the key is NOT to put more restrictions and infringements upon yourself, but to decide that you do have control over your own decisions and make healthy choices for yourself.
Without this sense of control and confidence in ourselves, food truly can have one in shackles and chains, repeating the same vicious cycles.
Largely, any trouble we have with food comes down to our “self-control” and our self will. When we choose to be conscious of our choices in our daily vote, we prove that we have control over ourselves, no one and nothing else. But when we “lose” self control and binge due to any of the concepts we have stubbornly held onto, we prove to ourselves that we “can’t do it”, and that “life has control over us; we are victims and pawns”. Being healthy with food is more than making healthy choices in what we consume, it’s having healthy conscious decisions in how we FEEL in general. In fact, “Thayer (2001) cites feelings of increased tension and low-energy, “tense tiredness,” as the primary culprit in emotional eating, as it underlies many of the negative moods (for example, depression and anxiety) that have been found to be associated with overeating. Hence, food is used in an attempt to self-medicate and self-regulate mood.” “Researchers have also identified tiredness, boredom, loneliness, anxiety, tension, and stress as triggers to overeating in women and found that these feelings improved after eating (Popless-Vawter, Brandau, & Straub, 1998). Although women also ate when angry and depressed, these feelings did not improve after the eating episode; in obese participants, these feelings increased (the authors concluded this may have resulted from feelings of guilt and anger at self for overeating).”
No, healthy eating means to evaluate our thoughts and responses about ourselves, our diet choices, and our relationship to the food that we consume. In doing so, we build a strong connection to our selves once again and answer in recognition our body’s own call to desire health. We then start allowing food to work FOR us rather than AGAINST us.