Watch what you eat (Exercise #17)

May 21, 2006

The title of this exercise is a bit misleading.  Watching what you eat usually refers to counting calories.  I mean it more in the literal sense… looking and noticing what you are eating.  Acting on that knowledge may or may not happen, but it's not important for the purposes of this exercise.

Watching what you eat will tell you a lot about your current mental and physical state.  Have you noticed that your appetite for food will be different depending on your mood and your state of current health?  When I exercise, I crave different foods than when I've just gotten into a fight with a friend.  Also, my appetite will be different when I haven't eaten in a long time than it is when I have just finished a meal.  There's a reason salads typically come first and ice cream comes last… the body's appetite when full is less for less healthy food than when your body is actually trying to get energy for vital functions.

You can pretty much take the types of foods you're currently craving as a literal expression of your mood and health.  A healthy mental state will crave healthy foods, and vice versa.  Take note of the things you are craving for a day.  In particular, notice:

  • How sensitive are you to hunger?  Do you eat at the first sign of hunger, or do you put up with hunger longer?
  • Do you eat more healthily when you satisfy hunger immediately, or when you wait it out?
  • When do you eat most the most junk food and what is your mental and physical states at those times?

How much can you tell about people around you if all you had to go on was the food that they eat?  How much of this serves as a personality test for others and for yourself?  Most people believe that you can become more healthy by eating more healthily… but is it possible that the reverse is true as well?  Healthy people eat healthily.  Chicken or egg?  Lest we confuse correllation with causation once again, let's start with merely watching the food we eat and watching our moods. 

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