In my efforts to be more positive and happy over the past few years, I’ve found that personal health is a fundamental piece of the happiness puzzle. But knowing that exercise and eating well is good for you, doesn’t mean we all immediately jump on that bandwagon. It has taken me years to figure out how to be healthier and to see its effect on my happiness. In fact, it is only in the past year that I’ve really dedicated myself to eating “right” to feel better. And it was only when I changed the way I thought about food that I was able to healthily drop unnecessary pounds and be a happier, healthier me. On my journey, I discovered three truths that have helped me change my mindset and my relationship with food.

1. Food is not entertainment

For years, I used food as a form of entertainment. In non-social situations, which is most of the time, I would use food to entertain myself if I was bored. If you read my post about giving up Netflix, then you know that I also used food as a sub-form of entertainment, becoming hungry for dinner only when I watched TV. 
Once I realized that my eating habits were centered around entertainment, my life changed. I can’t tell you how many times I will be sitting at home and think to myself that I should eat something. Then I ask myself if I am really hungry or just bored. 90% of the time, it’s boredom. When I find something to entertain me, the feeling of “hunger” goes away. 

2. Hunger is not an emotion

Being bored is an emotion and for me, somehow, I had mixed hunger and boredom in my brain. But I also would eat when I was sad or angry. In fact, I would eat tubs (yes tubs) of frosting when I was having a bad day. I would have a difficult time and my brain would immediately think, “I’m ‘hungry’ for frosting.” Discovering that hunger is my body telling me it needs fuel, boredom is my brain telling me to be productive, and sadness is just an emotion…was huge.

Hunger is a signal, not an emotion and once I started treating it as such that’s when things started to shift.

3. Your body is an animal

Yes, you read that right. Your body, not you, is an animal. Let me explain: If I lost the function of my legs, I would still be me. If I lost my mind to Alzheimer’s Disease, my body would still go on, but I would lose the sense of who I was. By this logic (however flawed it may be) our bodies are a vessel for our essence and our essence is who we really are with or without a fully functioning body. That said, our bodies are like an animal because they do act on their own accord without prodding from us. Consider: Our bodies protect us even when we may not know we need protecting. Do you tell your body to heal a cut or to fight off a virus? No, it knows how to do that on its own. It also knows and signals you when it needs fuel and rest. 

So what does that have to do with food and the other truths? Let me explain further.

I have a dog and he signals me when he needs to go outside, when he is hungry, and when he is done working on whatever we may be doing at the time. I wouldn’t dream of coming home and feeding him a tub of frosting or ignoring his signals for food or to go to the bathroom because I was emotionally unstable. So why do I do the same to my body (the other animal in my life)? Why wouldn’t I learn the signals of my body, learn to communicate with it, and respect it the way I would my beloved pet? 

Once I made this connection and began to consider my body as an animal, I started to treat it better. I listened to the signals it gave me and I started to feed it healthier food. I began to listen to it and respect it in ways I never had before. I even established and shifted how I wanted to feel and relate to my body, health, and wellness, which I recently discussed in my post about desire mapping. Once I was in tune with my animal body, I became a much lighter person (both physically and emotionally). I wasn’t fighting my animal body but working with it to be the best version of me I could be.

Well, there you have it, the three truths that can change the way you think about food, and help you reach your health goals and happiness goals. Until next time, remember you are capable of happiness abound. 

Photo by Maja Petric