When we reach for a meal, a snack, or are simply feeling nibblish, we do so for a myriad of reasons. Whether (or not) the food choice is healthy isn’t the intent of this post. Rather, let’s take a look at WHY we eat. What makes us pick up a fork? This post contains 50 Reasons to Eat. Of course, there are many more. As they say, this list is just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).
Interestingly, NONE of the following reasons have any basis in our biological and evolutionary need for food. And, I’m not saying they’re good reasons.
You see, most of us have become completely disconnected with our true physical feelings. We’re so disconnected, in fact, that we’re unfamiliar (and even distrustful!) of our own body’s hunger cues, hunger pangs, or sensations of emptiness or fullness.
When it comes to evaluating our reasons to eat, there are just two sides to the coin:
The desire to eat is either
physical or emotional.
Here’s a reality check that may surprise you — when naturally thin people are surveyed, they state that they eat for one reason – and one reason only … because they’re physically hungry.
But the rest of us?
We’ve got gobs of reasons. Many of us wouldn’t even know what it’s like to honor our true sense of physical hunger. It’s become lost in the shuffle. Most of us eat by the clock and for a plethora of other reasons. It’s important to understand this distinction — we eat for physical AND emotional reasons.
Here are just a few emotional reasons to eat —
- Because we’re in pain
- Because we’re fatigued or over tired
- Because it’s “time” to eat a meal
- Because it’s “time” for a snack
- Because we’re overwhelmed by stress
- Because we’re restless
- Because we’re bored
- Because we’re angry or mad
- Because we’re upset
- Because we’re sad
- Because we’re irritated or annoyed
- Because we feel helpless or powerless
- Because we feel inadequate or insecure
- Because we’re looking for comfort or a hug
- Because we’re avoiding something else
- Because we’re frustrated or cranky
- Because we’re lonely
- Because we’re distracted
- Because we want to be distracted
- Because we feel vulnerable or unsafe
- Because we feel lost or afraid
- Because we want to keep others away
- Because we wish others wouldn’t stay away
- Because we feel isolated
- Because we have leftovers that we want to enjoy again
- Because we “blew it” yesterday, so we may as well
- Because we were “good” yesterday
- Because we’re with someone who is eating
- Because we see someone eating on TV
- Because we see our favorite foods on TV
- Because we don’t look or feel like the “perfect people” we see on TV
- Because we always eat while we watch TV
- Because we want to relax and feel numb – even just for a bit
- Because we don’t want to feel what we’re feeling
- Because we don’t really know what we’re feeling, but it’s uncomfortable
- Because someone else made us feel shamed or embarrassed
- Because mindless eating is a habit or an automated response
- Because we see food (like a candy dish on a colleague’s desk)
- Because we smell food (like from a neighbor’s BBQ grill)
- Because we are disconnected from our sense of purpose
- Because we feel unsupported in our sense of purpose
- Because we feel empty, spiritually
- Because we feel we deserve a reward
- Because we feel that life is out of control
- Because we don’t have a partner or significant other
- Because we DO have a partner or significant other
- Because food “goes with” whatever we’re doing
- Because food is our “feel good drug” of choice
- Because food has always “been there” for us
- Because food connects us to our favorite memories
How ’bout it? Can you relate? Which items resonate with you the most? Do any of them make your cringe or nod in agreement? And, can you think of more reasons?
As always, AWARENESS is the key. Even thought this may make us feel uncomfortable, it’s worth digging into this juicy topic. Awareness precedes change. Once we’re aware of behaviors, then we have the power, purpose, plan, and motivation to make healthy choices.
Please jump into the conversation and share below! We’d love to hear what you think. What makes you grab a fork?