Eat to Live or Live to Eat

You’ve heard that before?  Most of us Americans are guilty of living to eat.  The opposite never occurs to us.  We make a bigger deal out of our comforts and thrills in the foods we eat than of what we can accomplish through our dreams and passions in life.  How did things get so skewed?

Especially when food allergies have become so prominent in the past few years for me, I tended to look to food as the all-out comfort, go-to anytime for any reason while sustaining a huge sense of deprivation as I looked at what everyone else was eating.  Mentally I joined the ‘foodies’ category of people but rather than being simply celebrative of food, especially healthy and tasty foods, I was feeling desperate for foods that would give me the thrills I had experienced in former times when ingesting chocolate or fried chicken or ice cream.

I did learn to relish, savor, or otherwise deeply enjoy some of my food choices like chocolate avocado pudding made with carob or salty, roasted broccoli that wows my taste buds.

But those moments of letting food melt in my mouth or make satisfying crunch sounds—they were moments.  They didn’t last and ultimately they did not satisfy.  Something was still missing.

A study on why people overeat pointed out that such emotional dependence on food is a signal of another problem that really needs addressing.  To make life be mostly about what we eat is an indication that life itself is not very satisfying to us.  I thought about it—yes, it’s really sad when the most that I look forward to in a day is what I’m eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Really, dear self, is that all there is to thrill me, food?  What about people who are so caught up in the excitement of what they are doing that they fail to remember to eat?

The study recommended tapping into the design of your truest self.  What are your deepest desires?  What do you really want to do with your life today, every day?  What gets you up in the morning?  What keeps you burning toward a goal?  What’s missing from your life?

Image result for teacher with kids around her

Some of us have gotten so jaded with life stresses, so derailed from what we feel passionate about, that we don’t even think we know what our passions in life are.  And yes, I know, bills and troubles with in-laws and outlaws can obstruct our path.  But there is much we have control of, such as one small step in a better or new direction.

Time to get going.  What is one thing we can do, maybe one step we can make today toward the life and meaning we really want to represent who we are and what we’re about?  We all have too much on our plates.  What can we delegate or let go of in order to say a big ‘yes’ to what matters to us?

I’ve had health challenges the past few weeks that have knocked me down, leaving the writing undone.  It’s difficult timewise, energy-wise, and focused attention-paying to get writing on the page, but with God’s help, I’m recommitting to it.

So I’m curious.  How about you?  What matters to you?  What’s missing? Do you eat to live or live to eat? The answers may give us a clue of how satisfying our lives are…or could be if we gave some thought and prayer to it.   Stop obsessing about taste buds and examine what makes life a delight instead of a just getting by chore.

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