Friday, July 3, 2020

When feeling blue, don’t turn to food and drink

Without a doubt, we are always in some kind of mood at any time of day, be it happy or sad. As much as our mood affects how the day will turn out, it also affects the energy with which we eat.
When we are happy we eat heartily, but our appetite somehow fades when we are in a bad mood or emotionally disturbed.

Naturally, when we are upset we find a way of letting off steam or venting. Some release that negative energy by attacking other people, literally picking fights in the oddest of ways. Others suddenly get an urge to eat something sweet like chocolate while others just go out to drink like there is no tomorrow.

Some people tend to turn into themselves when things are not well. These are the kind of people who instead of venting or letting off steam, keep things to themselves and rarely show some emotion. Instead of screaming at others, they rather keep quiet, renew their gym membership and exercise like they are due for a wrestling match. Of course such people usually get a lot of help from endorphins. Others turn to yoga and meditating.

I will focus on those who turn to food for solace when they are hurt. Like breathing or bathing, eating is a daily occurrence that we do without thinking. For that reason I really believe we should give serious thought to what we eat and how we eat it. I came to understand the saying “we are what we eat” very late in my life, but the minute I grasped it for what it really meant, my eating habits changed forever. For example, chocolate used to be my comforter, my shoulder to cry on when I was hurt. But things changed after my epiphany.

I don’t need a professional to tell me that hunger and anger are not the same. What we need to curb hunger cannot be used to soothe the pain of a broken spirit. Do we eat because we are hungry anymore? It’s okay to have a slice of cake, but there is something wrong if one goes on to eat the whole cake at one go.

Then there is the pregnant woman. That one is special when it comes to eating. I truly believe the taste buds of a pregnant woman should never be relied upon. Try asking a pregnant woman to taste your food while you are cooking and tell you whether or not you need to put in more of anything. Just don’t go there. You will end up either putting too much or too little of everything.
I also believe the hormones of a pregnant woman are far from balanced throughout the whole nine months.

Everything gets magnified ten times! The last person you need to talk to when you are in emotional distress is a pregnant woman. A normal person would pull out a box of tissues and allow you the space to vent. A pregnant woman will see this as an opportunity to eat. She is more likely to pull out a box of biscuits and name each one after your misery while you both aimlessly eat your way to sugar addiction.

Food is supposed to joyfully satisfy hunger and keep us healthy. It is not supposed to make us fat or anorexic. Food is a beautiful thing. There is no reason why we should have terms like obese, anorexic and bulimic. No amount of cake, burgers, chocolate and alcohol will ever take the pain away when that pain has nothing to do with hunger.

It is a bad situation for one to find him or herself without anyone to turn to, but nobody should turn to food for solace.

The first solution for all our problems is to avoid denial. Sometimes help can stare us in the face and even pass us by because we don’t own up to the problems we are facing and deal with them accordingly.

Food is readily available, in all varieties in our shops. We have easy access to comfort foods and fast foods, but we shouldn’t go there. It does not take much anymore to walk into a bar after a rough day at work and find people who share our sentiments and end up drinking until the wee hours of the morning. Digging ourselves a hole while thinking we are drowning our sorrows.
Why not go to the gym or take up yoga?

There are many alternatives that are just available to. Let’s not take the worst of them like a bar of chocolate or that can of beer. Those ones have proven over and over again that they are unrealisable and they won’t leave us feeling better.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.