The Psychology of Eating
By Braxton Crosby
Right before you take a bite out of that ham and cheese sandwich, or dive into that mouthwatering slice of chocolate cake, ask yourself these questions. Why do you eat what you eat? Why did you eat when you ate? And more importantly, why did you eat that? If you feel just a little daunted by the questions, don’t feel bad about it. You’re not alone. Most people have never asked themselves the same questions. You know why?–Because eating has become an activity that is more innate than conscious. We no longer just eat because we feel hungry; we do it for a plethora of varying reasons. Some people eat because food is available, while some people are more social eaters. Others (like me) eat because of the time of day. Our normal circadian rhythms dictate that is it time to eat, especially to provide the energy sources I need to function efficiently for another day of exercise and training. Then there’s the group of folks that just eat because they love to eat. Nothing’s wrong with any of these reasons, except for when they begin to overwhelm us, creating people that are obese and struggling to keep their weight, BMI, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol at normal values. I like to ask people why they eat or want to eat right when they are in the midst of taking a bite just to see how they respond. They look at me with an expression that reeks of something less flattering. Needless to say, I’m not the most popular guy at a cookout.
But this is the place where we can make the most profound impact on our health; at the level of the mind. If we are to take control of our health, we can no longer live as slaves to mindless routine and action. We have to cognitively take control of our thoughts and follow through with actions that reflect our focus. If we are trying to live healthy, we need to think healthy. It starts with re-programming. Look at your full day schedule and try to imagine re-configurating your daily meals. You need to look at the number of times you eat during the day. It should consist of three meals and two snacks (which are scattered in between meals 1 and 2 and 2 and 3). This will allow you to ignite your metabolism by making your stomach and digestive system work throughout the day. Eating only twice a day or three times a day makes the digestive system inactive for a large portion of the day. It goes dormant, and awakens only when called for. Using the digestive system to breakdown food and supply the body takes energy. Therefore, the more you use the system, the more energy you expend which can potentially increase your metabolism. But don’t get it twisted. Don’t decide to gorge yourself just because I said eat more times. It’s all about what you eat my friend that makes the metabolism spike occur. Meals which are appropriately portioned between meats, carbohydrate and vegetables are key. Foods that are high in fiber and take longer to breakdown are fantastic as snacks because they make you feel more full throughout the day, eliminating the chance of you binge eating.