Feelings for dinner? It’s that time of the day when you can’t help yourself but "eat your feelings" in the form of a super-sized burger. You want to feel better, or feel something, or feel nothing. Confusing?
Yeah, that’s how strange our relationship with food can get. Food has long superseded its basic function of ensuring our survival, it has evolved into one of the most important cultural acts of our kind. It is a celebration of living. Today, food is about pleasure and indulgence. And like all things that can be enjoyed, food can also be abused. It can serve as a powerful drug, a narcotic, that brings with it a host of negative side effects, as well as the potential for addiction.
I have identified a few factors that impact the effects of food on body and mind. The interesting thing is that there is no simple answer, these aren’t guidelines or best practices, these are regulators that allow me to better control the emotional and physical impact of a meal. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. The choice is yours.
This feeds into a larger conversation about the state of mind we are in when our most basic needs are not met. The primitive part of our mind will always lead us towards instant gratification of an urge, disregarding the long term impact and cost.
This is of course true for food as well. On the most basic level, that voice in your head telling you to binge-eat a triple-decker, is doing so to make absolutely sure you won’t be hungry. Yet this part of you does not have the capacity to understand that a deep-fried burger patty does not contain enough nutrients, and that in the long term, it will not serve you.
This is because overeating, or overworking, or overstimulating in general, often leads you to adopt a temporary, more pessimistic world view, resulting in questionable decision-making.
I feel we have to be watchful, to stop and take a breath, and at the very least try to understand where certain urges for change are coming from. And to only make important decisions when all biological needs are met. When that primitive part of our brain is quiet, that’s when the fog clears.
Of course, in practice, it doesn’t always work like that. We are creatures driven by instinct. In all likelihood, you will eat that burger. The odds are staked against you, and that’s okay. Just make sure you clear your schedule, enjoy the ride, and postpone any meaningful decision-making to a later time.