Eat With a Purpose

There is a time and season for everything, including food.

I was never small. I was born a 12 pound baby. My mom took me home from the hospital and immediately started feeding me cereal to try to get me to sleep through the night. So, my first purpose in eating was to achieve a full night sleep.

Five months ago my purpose in eating food was simply an obsession to deal with what my next meal would be. It was anxiety eating. It was stress eating. And it was all-I-wanted-to-do-so-I-could-fill-the-vast-emptiness eating.

Not too long ago I took my five-year-old daughter Rhaylee to a nearby nature museum:

Rhaylee: Daddy! Look at that cheetah!

Me: That is not a cheetah.

Rhaylee: Cheetahs are my favorite!

Me: Not a cheetah.

Rhaylee: What is it?

Me: Bobcat.

Rhaylee: Bobcats are my favorite!

Me: [at gift shop later, looking at stuffed animals]

Rhaylee: Daddy! Look! A bobcat!

Me: That’s a Lion cub.

Rhaylee: Bobcats are my favorite.

Me: That is a lion.

Rhaylee: I want to buy him. He’s my favorite. I love bobcats!

Me: Still a lion.

Rhaylee: I will name him Simba!

Me:

Rhaylee:

Me: That actually works.

Lion photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

We all have different reasons why we eat. And we label those reasons. Most of the time the label can be very deceiving. I have had days that started out on a vegan diet then ended on a low-carbohydrate diet, after a full Chinese buffet lunch, of course.

Sometimes we label things to justify our eating. “I’m big boned, therefore I need more calories.” “I need a lot of energy for today.” “I deserve this.” “I worked hard for this.” “I ate well all day.”

None of these reasons validated my poor choices.  I can call a lion a bobcat all day, but it was still a lion.

Hippocrates said, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine.” The first thing I do when prescribed a new medicine is research it. I look at the labels. I check out the side effects. And I look for drug interactions.

In the past 155 days I learned to treat food like medicine. Take what you need. Mind the side effects.  Read the labels! For example, I eat pizza from time to time. I do. But I remember that one slice of pizza generally is the same as two of my normal meals. So, pizza, as some medications, must be taken in small doses. Potential side effects include heartburn, high blood sugar, increased blood pressure and, of course, gluttony by eating the whole pie (my biggest downfall).

Before I eat anything I ask this question, “Why am I eating this?” If the reason is anything other than my body needs these particular nutrients in this quantity, then I am eating for the wrong reasons.

Choose to eat what you eat, on purpose.