Up until a few years ago, my mind was constantly spinning with the following questions: “am I getting enough protein if I eat this?” “crap I haven´t eaten in 4 hours is my body going into starvation mode?” “Should I be eating more superfoods?” “maybe I should have a snack?” “omg I skipped breakfast, how am I going to survive today?”
From speaking with clients I´ve come to realize that this is a common way of thinking. It seems like one of our biggest fears is running out of food and not getting enough of it. I think we were genetically programmed to think that way. When we were hunter-gatherers, our mind needed to be fully focused on the task of finding food or else we risked starvation. But today it´s not exactly something we need to worry about, is it?
If you´re lucky enough to live in a developed country, I think we can all agree that food is absolutely EVERYWHERE. Yet a lot of us are still walking around thinking about how we are going to get our next meal. And given that we live in a consumer society, the concept that we are “not getting enough” and that we always “need more” is being exploited to always make us want more. We are being led to believe that by consuming more we will be healthier, feel better and be sexier.
But does that make any sense in a society where over half the population is either obese or overweight? Is consuming more really the answer? When was the last time you heard of someone die of starvation? I agree that a lot of people are deficient in certain nutrients but that´s not going to get solved by the type of foods we are being encouraged to buy. If anything, consuming more is only going to increase the number of people who are obese and suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other diseases linked to it.
So how do we deal with this? Well the first thing we can do is to let go of our fear of starvation. We are NOT going to run out of food and we are NOT going to die from not getting enough of it. If you live in a developed country you are more likely to eat yourself to death than the opposite.
Secondly, I encourage you to relax. A lot of us get a bit nervous about getting our next meal. This is normal as mentioned above but it´s no longer relevant as we are no longer hunter-gatherers. So next time your mind starts worrying about where you are going to get your next meal from, ask yourself if you are truly hungry. If you are not, just thank your mind for looking out for your survival and move on.
Finally, sometimes it helps to experience what it´s like to go without food for us to realize that we probably don´t need as much of it as we think. I´m not a massive advocate of fasting but sometimes skipping a meal can make us realize that we can still fully function without it. In fact, maybe consuming less will make you feel better. Whatever you do, trust your intuition and stick to what feels good for YOU. And remember, food is there and you can have as much of it as you want, but that doesn´t mean you have to have it all.