The Minimalism Experiment W5: Eating Simple
It’s currently week 5 of my Minimalism Experiment and I am starting to dive into some of aspects of Minimalism that I personally find more challenging. This week, I have taken the time and energy to focus on one of the biggest, and most joyous parts of my every day routine…EATING.
Saying that I love food is an understatement. I absolutely, positively adore food. I love eating it, I love sharing it with friends and family, I love cooking it, and I love watching any kind of media that revolves around it. (Que the cheese-pull videos). But along with all of these delicious morsels that we have to choose from comes a lot more than just calories and goodness. There are so many emotions and activities that are associate with food that it is nearly impossible to think of it as something that simply keeps us nourished and energized throughout the day. Because of this, we start to clutter the simple consumption of food with so many other aspects, ultimately leading to unhealthy relationships. One of the goals that I began to work on this week was to practice minimalism by attempting to eliminate the abundance of emotions and activities that I associate with food.
1. Eating While Bored
This is a major issue that many privileged people in North America would consider a “First World Problem”. Eating because you are bored is a very popular pastime that I have spent plenty of time indulging in. Not only is this terrible for your body, as you’re consuming hundreds of unneeded and often unhealthy calories, but it is also a terrible way to fix the problem of being bored. Since I am such an active participant in this behaviour I decided to do my best to eliminate it from my activities this week. I found that whenever I went to reach for food at any point in time, I made myself consider if I was physically hungry or not and then choose to eat only if I needed to. By forcing myself to think about my actions before I did them, it allowed me to put real intentions behind the choice to eat something, instead of just passively snacking.
2. Stress Eating
After you are done eating because you were bored, the next phase sets in. Stress eating. This kind of eating can happen in a variety of different ways, but the following are some of the most near and dear to my heart.
- Just after finishing a bowl of popcorn because you were bored, a terrible feeling of guilt begins to set in. You cannot believe that you just ate that entire bag of popcorn simply because you were bored. To cope with this overwhelming sense of guilt, you slowly work your way to the bottom of a bag of Popcorners where you hope to find solace and an escape from your mistakes.
-It is the end of the semester and literally everything is due. Forget your assignment and eat another bag of Popcorners.
This is one of the worst kinds of eating to control in my opinion because it is so closely tied to emotions. I had a very difficult time breaking this habit over the course of the week and I know it is something that I will have to continue to work on throughout my life.
3. Eating While Doing Passive Activities
Everyone loves to sit down with a snack at night and catch up on their favourite TV show or binge some YouTube. Whether it’s the movie theatres fault or not, we all seem to have a desire to be eating while catching up on our favourite shows. This week, I decided to make an effort to break this habit for good! While it is still a nice treat to enjoy a little snack while relaxing, the action of eating while watching Netflix had become somewhat of a habit in me and my loved ones lives. So this week, instead of having some more Popcorners while catching up on my favourite YouTuber’s videos, or ordering a pizza for the Leaf's game, we just decided not to. While it did seem like something very important was missing at first, the feeling past as we were able to give more attention to each other and what we were watching, which was a really nice experience.
By addressing these three main areas of behaviour in relation to food consumption, I was able to focus on things that were more meaningful to me, and even changed the way that I view food in general. While I have certainly not changed my entire way of thinking about food in a week, I have learned how I often only eat because of the above reasons, and not because of hunger. Instead of simply sitting down to have a snack when there is nothing better to do, or always ensuring there is food nearby during Netflix and YouTube binges, I was able to spend my time engaging in activities that are more meaningful to me such as reading, working on my art or journaling. We are so lucky to live in a part of the world where food surrounds us in such an abundance that we can afford to live in this way, but it is important to be kind to our bodies and resist the constant hoard of junk food and snacks that is always so close by.