Thursday, December 17, 2009
Eating Operationalizes Motives, Emotion, Reason and Spiritual State
Eating as an extension of activity. Often enough, when talking with family, close friends, colleagues or clients I am amazed by their skepticism on my philosophy of eating and my disinterest in many 'sweets'. They dismiss even the possibility of food not having some kind of 'hold' on me that I am not preoccupied in the least with what, when or how much I consume. They fail to truly accept my understanding about the practicality of eating. There is the nutritional necessity of course and I will not explore that here further. Eating habits are dictated by availability of variety and that too will not be discussed in any detail. What is up for discussion is how food is a strong indicator of our interests, ceremony, causes, activity level, socialization to include of course emotional and mental states. These dynamics or parameters for eating are real and become cyclical but I believe by large our eating is controlled by our level of functioning and mental focus. Individuals stuck in a mental state of depression where their life is riddled with inactivity, procrastination, self loathing and regret will have a very specific pattern of eating or 'relationship' with food. While an athlete's eating is driven by their cause, their dedication to the activity of one type of movement or another, their personal ambition and level of competitiveness. A monastics eating rules are predicated on the mandates of monastic life. They reflect the discipline and the tools necessary to wage war against temptation. Food is celebratory as in a wedding reception or reflected in the bounty. It is a sacremental instrument. My position is not based on self restraint or willfulness or an extraordinary will power and abstination. Rather my eating is driven by pleasure and by my necessity to feed my body the locomotive for my running. Others as a matter of necessity eat to their health. I do not understand the irrationality of young women and even men living in the land of plenty starving themselves unless I take into account their psychological dysfunction the emotional side of eating and dysfunction. The need to have control beyond good measure or sense when feeling out of control. The need to stuff feelings, add protective blubber and even failed attempts to vomit out the pain and undo the excess the gorging. Fasting in the church is a tool which leads us not only to contemplate our return to God but is indicative of it.There is a reciprocal experience between the foods we eat and how we demonstrate our hospitality. So to those skeptics friends all; my decisiveness is merely the result of my lifestyle. As therapeutic perspective we have turned our attention to the wrong side of eating. We are treating the symptoms not addressing the cause or how the lifestyle and mindset is a set up for defeat. Amazingly when talking with individuals who self identify as having an eating issue or concern they perpetually dismiss and correlation between eating and the rest of their lives. Cleaving on to the dysfunction the 'yeah but' responses are the impediment to normalized eating and ultimately weight and body image. These behaviors and beliefs are not incidental irrelevancies they are the root cause and our eating is the actual fruit. It is about how we relate to our bodies as vehicles. It the acknowledgement that the body is the receptacle the outward outcome of the inner reality.