image via Shutterstock / ESB Professional
About two years ago, a friend and I were sitting in class when our teacher posed what seemed to be an easy enough question: ‘Why do we eat?’ There was a range of shouted answers – reasons like boredom, stress, taste, fun, social situations and emotional turmoil. Surprisingly, not one of the thirty students in my class (including myself) answered with the most obvious one – to live. We eat because if we don’t, we die. Simple as that.
Or is it? It seems like half the trouble with staying fit and healthy in this day and age lies in the food we eat and why we eat it. Not only is it a matter of the types of food we eat; their fat content, calorie count and added sugars, but it is also a matter of when and why we eat them.
I myself am a boredom eater. It has taken me a while to admit it, but after close monitoring of my eating habits (including keeping a week-long ‘food log’, where I wrote down every piece of food I ate and when/why I ate it), I realised that half the time I was scoffing food, I wasn’t at all hungry. I was eating because there was simply nothing else to do! And that really can’t be too healthy.
Then there are those that have the mindset of a ‘bad day’. As in, ‘Well, I’ve already put on 2 kilos, what’s an extra cookie going to do?’. Or those who are stressed at work or uni and find the only thing that keeps them sane is a trip to McDonalds. These mindsets are just as unhealthy as ‘bad’ foods! In order to truly be able to tackle your weight and health, you first have to tackle how you think. Keep a food log like I did, and jot down every single thing you put into your mouth, when you do, and whether you really were hungry when you did. You will be shocked at just how much food you’re eating that really is better off left on your plate.