Turns out, zoo animals do better on a real-food diet too!
And it is absolutely true that your environment makes all the difference. If there’s food available, chances are you will eat it even if you aren’t hungry. If you’re bored, you’ll eat. If you’re busy and far from food (and therefore have to work for it), you’ll probably wait a little longer.
One thing I’ve been practicing lately is letting myself feel hungry. This is such an unfathomable, revolutionary concept to so many of us, in this world where instant gratification is the norm. Well guess what? You don’t need to eat every time your stomach rumbles. If you just wait 15 or 20 minutes, chances are the feeling will pass, and you can save yourself a couple hundred calories for later. You’re not going to pass out if you don’t have a pre-lunch snack. In fact, you probably won’t pass out if you don’t have breakfast, a snack, lunch, or another snack before finally eating dinner. I’m not saying you should try this, but if it happens every now and then, it’s not the end of the world.
Our bodies coped with feast-and-famine schedules for thousands of years. It’s only been a few hundred that we’ve have regular access to reliable nutrition — evolution can’t possibly have caught up that quick, that our bodies are capable of processing this constant intake of calories. It saves them up for a rainy day — which never comes. If you re-teach your brain it’s okay to go a while without eating, your stomach will respond in kind and leave you alone unless you really start running on empty.
In the same way we need to think about the food we put in our bodies, we must also consider when we put it in our bodies. Don’t allow yourself to be like a caged animal, with food the only distraction in your day. Don’t be a product of your environment or society or marketing schemes that tell you to go ahead and enjoy that “fourth meal” or “Hungry? Why wait?”.
Think for your self, and think for your health.