I would like to make a bet that those of us who have struggled with our weight are fast eaters. I know that you’re thinking, “HOW did she know that?!” We say that we absolutely love food. But when it comes to the act of eating, we hardly give any thought to the experience of eating. If we really love food so much, shouldn’t we really be savoring each and every bite?
I think that those of us who are learning to come to terms with food find a different kind of solace in food than the pleasure we think we do. Sure, some of the quick-eating has something to do with habit, but I think that the cause is also much deeper. Eating offers a kind of escape for us. We may be escaping a tough childhood, a stressful day at work, or an important choice we need to make.
Like many other people, I’ve had my fair share of difficulty and pain in my life: my parents’ divorce, a thoroughly shocking life move from Florida to Toronto when I was a teenager, the death of a close grandparent, just to name a few. Eating was always something that offered me a temporary vacation from all that. It also doesn’t help that foods like chocolate actually stimulates the pleasure centers in our brains. For some reason, food has always been there for us when other people or things weren’t.
Reading Geneen Roth’s new book, Women Food and God has really made me start to wonder about why I eat so quickly without giving much thought to the taste, texture, and smell of my food. When I find myself shoving food into my mouth without paying attention to the sensations, I’ve been asking myself, “What are you trying to escape from?” Even if I can’t find an answer, I know that there is one buried deep within me.
Relearning to eat is hard, but I’m finding it to be easier having read some of Women Food and God and trying to understand her ideas. A keen sense of awareness has made it easier for me to not even have to say to myself, “Put down your fork between bites! Don’t forget to chew 20 times!” I know that changing how I eat will take some work, but I know that it’s something that I want to change and something I’m willing to stick with.
What are your thoughts on eating quickly? Do you think it is at all related to your struggles with your weight?