Sounds like a dumb question, I know. But have you ever really thought about it? I honestly can't say I've answered that question for myself more than a handful of times... and three of those times being a result of this blog!
I was reading a book the other day, and the auther, Jeff Olson, was talking about how our daily habits define our life. He used health as an example. He said,
"Our entire health crisis is nothing but one set of little [unhealthy] decisions, made daily and compounded daily, winning out over another set of little [healthy] decisions, made daily and compounded daily."
And I thought, wow! That is so true. No one just decides that they're going to have diabetes or heart disease. It's a product of daily decisions that so many of us do not realize compound on each other over time. Not only that, but I think so many of us do not realize how the foods we eat effect us.
I'll use one of my own experiences as an example...
When I started college, I was SO very excited to have an on campus meal plan and "dining dollars" to spend. I was taking a 3 hour philosophy class one day a week, and we'd always get a 15-20min break half way through.
During this break, I would always buy a Mango Naked juice and one of the coffee shop's giant bran muffins. Now, I thought this was a SUPER healthy snack. I was drinking pure fruit juice, and I was having a bran muffin... that means whole grains and what not, you know? Fruit AND whole grains?... I was practically conquering the food pyramid with one mid-class snack! So of course, I wasn't only having this snack during my philosophy class, I was taking care of my health multiple times a week. ;)
You may or may not be shocked to find that this very snack may have been one of the primary contributors to my freshman 15 weight gain. Haha! Don't get me wrong, Naked juice is great... in the right amount! The 16oz bottle I drank multiple times a week has 60 grams of sugar and 300 calories. When fruit sugar doesn't have the fiber that comes from the actual fruit, it can cause an insulin spike, and if the person is stationary (sitting in a class) for a couple hours, the energy produced from the juice doesn't serve it's purpose. Having a whole bottle of Naked juice, everyday, without a balance of proteins and fats would not provide quality nutrition or health.
The bran muffin probably doesn't need to be explained as much. I mean, sure, it had bran, but it was 90% white flour and sugar otherwise. haha. That muffin was probably about 500 calories of straight carbs. Carbs are good when they're from good sources! Bran muffins, aren't one of those good sources.
So in summary... I was consuming 800+ calories of carby sugar goodness multiple times a week, as a SNACK, for a whole school year in addition to whatever MEALS I ate. And yet I just thought everyone gained 15lbs their freshman year... because that's what typically happens.
People also think that when we get older, everyone experiences health issues - join pain, memory loss, diabetes, dementia, cancer, stroke, etc. That's just what typically happens.
The reality is, that is what typically happens... but the good news is, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO!
So that brings me to the title of this blog... Why do you eat?
I am convinced that the answers to this question vary. Sometimes I eat because I feel like my stomach has eaten itself and is beginning to consume my other organs. Sometimes I eat because I have a strong craving for a particular food. Sometimes I eat because my friends or family are eating. Most times I eat because it's "time to eat".
These days, I try to eat to fuel my body. Everything we eat becomes our blood... literally! If I consistently do not eat foods that have the nutrition my body needs to function the way it was made to... it doesn't function the way it was made to. When I think of what to cook or to snack on, I think, "What would benefit my body the most right now?"
If I'm having a bad day and I get a Starbucks frap... I'll feel energy and bliss for a moment, but the rest of the day I'll probably end up worse than before. But if instead of that Starbucks frap I eat an apple and peanut butter, chances are, I'll feel energy, lose some negative vibes from hunger, and I won't feel the crash and burn that follows nutritionally deficient foods!
I write all of this to say, Why do YOU eat? I'm not asking that you change what you eat, or even that you change your reason for eating. My hope is that answering that question will merely help you decide if that's the reason you want to maintain.
May your daily eating decisions reflect your goals and aspirations!