I can remember sitting on the floor of the school nurse’s office, Mrs. Dombrowski, listening to a “health lesson” about food, back in third grade. I remember the food pyramid slide she put up on the cement block wall, and those simplistic pictures of eggs, a glass of milk and an apple, floating in their assigned boxes. It wasn’t a difficult or complicated lesson to grasp; you’ve got your food groups and you’ve got your recommended daily allowances. Funny to think about it now…my intro to healthy eating gave me only the nutritional facts about food…as if that’s all it takes to eating a healthy diet.
Mrs. Dobrowski’s food lesson didn’t address the alluring and gratifying nature of eating. Food, unlike its cousins, water and air, touches a visceral nerve in us and here’s the main reason why I think that’s so:
It’s the taste thing. The pleasure principle. Eating is fun.
It’s those foods on Mrs. Dombroski’s slide, the ones that reside in the teeny, tiny triangle at the top of the pyramid that dance on our taste buds and makes us happy. Our connection to food is intimate; we have a “relationship” with a life sustaining property! You don’t hear the U.S. Surgeon General advising us to reduce the amount of air or water we take in, there’s’ no need. We have no problem listening to our internal ques when it comes to breathing or addressing our thirst, but food is a complicated and different animal. We don’t see food like we do air and water. We’ve been “educated” about eating by advertisers, magazine cover, and movie stars who write books about nutrition and weight loss. The thought of answering our bodies request for food the same way we do for oxygen and water, sounds like a ludicrous notion.
Dear Reader, eating something when you’re hungry is no different then taking a deep breath when you’re out of breath or relieving yourself when you need to go to the bathroom. Think about it: When you have the urge to go, you acknowledge it, find a bathroom, and move on. I wager you’ve never tried to figure out ways to fool your body into peeing less, asked friends what their secret to less urination is, or read books like, “Ten Quick and Easy Ways to Less Pee.” I would also venture to guess that you’ve never counted the amount of times you’ve gone in a day or berated yourself for not holding it longer? Silly, right?
Food is like urine. The desire to eat when you are hungry is an internal indicator just like the urge to “go;” it has nothing to do with willpower, internal fortitude or character. Listen to your body and trust it more. It knows way more about what you need then the newest celebrity diet endorser.
Until next time,
Peace, pee pee, and listen to your body!