Mindful Eating – The “Why”

     The “why” considers the reason for eating such as actual hunger, boredom, a social event, and/or visual cues. Are you eating because it’s an afternoon slump? Maybe it’s time for a coffee break with coworkers, or it’s a friend’s wedding shower. Who knows? But I can guarantee that there will be foods and drinks! In situations like these, it may be tempting to eat out of obligation because it may appear rude to not accept the hostess’ generosity. Sometimes, the food is just so beautifully arranged.

     Across many cultures, not just my own Taiwanese/Hong Kong/Chinese culture, eating is not just about sustenance. It is also about celebrations, togetherness, family, love, joy, sadness, everything. Many times, a family elder or a friend will just want to feed me because that is how they show their love. I am all for it, and I definitely appreciate it. I also want to express my mutual affection for them by accepting their generosity as well and to also avoid hurting their feelings.  Outside of friends and family, it is the neutral peacetime activity for business dealings.  Sometimes, my dad will be invited by one of his clients to a company dinner, and we all go as a family to show our support.

     What I’m trying to get at is that sometimes we eat out of politeness, to attract, and/or to avoid offending others. This does not mean that when we do eat for these reasons, that they are wrong, per se, but definitely it is not the right reason either. Ask yourself though, unless you are hungry, why are you eating? Is the reason good enough for you? Usually, unnecessary eating is a direct cause of unintentional weight gain.

How I catch myself:    

     So what do I do? Learn how to say ‘no.’ I know, easier said than done. A softer approach? I say that I’ll save it for later but that I feel full right now from all the previous food that they had offered me. Perhaps I already ate beforehand and did not expect food. Even more honestly, I may say that I am not hungry yet, but that I’ll keep in mind what food is available. Another option is to say that you don’t feel well, which may actually be true if you continue to eat beyond the point of comfort.  There are many ways to delicately excuse yourself from unnecessary eating. If people cannot accept a polite ‘no, thank you,’ that says more about them than it does about myself.  It is hardly selfish to care more about our health than other people’s feelings. It’s all going to be alright!


Harmonize with food,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *