Today I’m talking about why we eat instead of doing what we say we want to do.
Doing what we actually want usually requires us making a substantial change that involves discomfort. Eating is easy. It’s familiar and requires practically zero effort (especially when you’re just sticking your hand in a bag).
We say we want to be more present with our kids. But that would include the discomfort of being present through tantrums and moments where our babies just won’t sleep.
We say we want to move ahead in our career but that would mean doing new things, putting ourselves out there and taking risks (and failing along the way).
We say we want to find a partner. But that would include dating, meeting the wrong people, and expending energy that we already feel is spread thin.
Think about the moments in your life where you reach for food, and just want to eat.
By the way, I separate the two (“food” and “eat”) because they’re different.
Food is a thing, a noun.
To eat is an action, a verb.
Let’s add in the definitions just for fun. To help you see which it is that you’re actually attached to.
Food: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.
Eat: put (food) into the mouth and chew and swallow it.
So which is it that you feel more tied to? Which is more stuck in your mind?
My guess is that you more often think about eating.
You might think about food in terms of what sounds good to eat, or what would be fun to eat… or what you’re going to eat… but it’s still “eating” that consumes your mind. Is that right? The act of eating?
You’re not sitting there thinking about hummus and pita but not thinking about eating it, right?
My next question for you to get curious about is why you’re thinking about eating.
Are you hungry?
Or does the act of eating sound more familiar or pleasant than what you’re doing right now? Would it make what you’re doing more tolerable?
Is what you’re doing right now not what you want to be doing? Do you not know what you want to be doing? Is your expectation that everything should feel good, fun, and easy?
You see, we say that we want to stop thinking about food… but I think what we mean (most of the time) is that we want to stop leaning on eating.
It feels good in the moment, but we don’t like knowing that we go to food when our kids are being extra loud. We don’t like knowing that we eat after a stressful meeting. We don’t like knowing that whenever we’re stressed we go to wine.
Why? Why don’t we like knowing those things? (It’s a question worth reflecting on.)
To give you a parallel example, it’s like when we say we’re bad with money we’re probably saying we have a problem with spending. We love to spend and we have a hard time saving (because, as you’re learning in this post, we just love the act of spending). It’s doing something for us. It’s fulfilling something in us.
So if you want to move away from thinking about food and having it be a thing that consumes much of your mind… what does that tell you? What comes up for you as you process through this post?
Is it eating that you’re attached to? Or thinking about food?
Once you know, what’s your next step?
In just a few weeks, on February 17th, I’ll be leading a free masterclass called Stop Thinking About Food. It’s free, and I’ll do my best to help you figure out the answers to these questions in it. I’d love to invite you to join me. Sign-up here.