Eating is an activity that can be used to fill time. In fact, when eating goes beyond basic survival one must step back and take a hard look at the role of food in their life.
Eating to Fulfill
In this case, the person gorges them self in the extreme at every meal. They do not pay attention to the amount of food they eat and their only consideration for what they eat is how it fulfills their emotional cravings. In fact, when they are done eating this meal, they are already thinking about what the next meal will be.
While this sounds a bit crazy, it starts to make more sense when you realize that they are emotionally distraught, lack a formal job, and live in an environment that is both boring and toxic. With these conditions in place, the only security one has is food. Food goes from a survival need to one that fulfills the absence of everyday structure and emotional fulfillment.
My Personal Case
In my personal case, this all changed when I started my triathlon training. Not only did I start exercising, but I soon realized that the food I was eating was not supplying my body with the right fuel. I was also eating so much that my body was burdened with digestion constantly, my stomach was stuffed and stretched at each meal. Through baby steps, I eliminated fast food, sugar, and most other refined foods. Today, food is a tertiary thought since I eat to fuel and not eat to fulfill. As a triathlete today, I look back and can’t help but be bewildered by my previous relationship with food.
Family and Lack of Routine
Visiting my family this Thanksgiving, I see my old self in each of them, two years ago before I started training. They live in a small town where employment is difficult, they seldom exercise, and the only security in their life at the time is food. This epidemic is so prevalent, that even the cat is obese! Seeing them this way makes me very sad.
It is also very difficult to not get sucked into the emotional binge eating. I certainly have consumed more food than I typically do and my training has tapered off. My routine has been interrupted and I can’t let their routine substitute for my own. It has been tough and I am feeling the consequences for not being more disciplined with my eating habits.
Life Changing Event?
While I desperately want to help them, you can’t force someone to change when they can’t see the problem. I hope that they encounter a life changing event that makes them wake-up, deal with their emotions and become more fit and loose some weight.
When you begin your triathlon training, please take a conscious look at your relationship with food. It may not be as healthy as you think it is.