Sometimes a number of different ideas and messages come to me over the course of a few weeks. And sometimes my mind churns all these around, like a mini washing machine, and comes out with some fundamental questions or challenges for the way we are doing things. This is one of these washing machine moments.
I’ve been thinking about what comes first. Do we eat to feel good, choosing ingredients that will make us feel better as we are having a bad day. Or do we feel good, knowing that life is ok and whatever happens we can deal with it, and then make choices that we know will nourish and support us?
Its a subtle difference, I’ll grant you that. But to me its so glaringly obvious. Have we placed food on some kind of mood pedestal, elevated it to a place where it can determine how we feel about life?
Does the internal conversation go something like this: “Well my day really isn’t going great. Too busy at work, unwell child in childcare, row with a friend, haven’t exercised for weeks, etc. Why should I bother choosing a wholesome, nutritious lunch. I mean.. what is the point? I’m sick of being “good”, I’ll just go get a take out “x” and that will make me feel better.”
As I go the supermarket or cafe, I notice a food industry telling me I’m right to feel this way. I look at messages like “try our guilt free dessert”, “treat yourself to a pick me up”, “indulge yourself with this” or “take a break with that”. The messages I’m receiving me are kindly pointing out that food is there to be a treat, a saviour in times of stress, and a way of fast tracking feeling awful straight to feeling great.
How did we end up here? Anyone who knows me and knows my work, realises that I feel food and love go hand in hand. When we are caring and loving ourselves, we have a natural tendency to choose healthier items. We don’t depend on the food we eat to make us feel better, but we enjoy our food as we share it with loved ones and friends and feel a sense of satisfaction after a meal.
My work each day is to do everything I can to support, love and care for myself, so I can mange and handle all the chaos that will come my way over the course of the day. Food is an essential part of that, along with moving my body, stilling my mind and interacting with people in the best way possible.
To depend on anything to get me through the average day is placing just a little less responsibility on me, and a little more responsibility on the outside world. So as I go to choose my next meal, I’ll gently ask myself the question and explore which one is coming first.