There are two important aspects to eating:
- What you eat
- How much you eat
The first key aspect is how you choose the food. Not all food that is good to the tongue is good for your stomach. Don’t we often complain: Why is it that what I don’t like to eat is good for my health and vice-versa?
The other key aspect is ‘how much to eat’. All other things being constant, when presented with the prospect of unlimited food at a party, the brain’s default response is to eat a lot…and more so when you have paid a hefty sum for the party. The normal human tendency is to maximize utility by eating more. In simple parlance, more food means ‘more value for money’. That’s how the mind does the math.
While you need food to stay alive, uncontrolled eating could make you sick, or in an extreme case, even cause death. Luckily, the body has a mechanism to counter your tendency to overeat so you know when to stop. But for this mechanism to function effectively, you have to listen consciously to your body’s needs and overcome the mind’s unconscious greed. At a party where there is plentiful food, the conflict between the impulse to eat and the impulse to stop gets intense.
Let’s reflect a bit on two key questions here. Let’s say you are at a party with unlimited food. What is your normal tendency? Do you choose instant gratification – food that is suited to the tongue but may be harmful to your stomach? Or do you forgo short-term pleasure in favour of good health and longevity?
When do you stop eating?
Do you stop eating when you feel satisfied (though you could eat more)? Or do you stop eating only when you think you cannot eat any more? To say ‘no’ to junk food that appears irresistible and to stop eating at the optimal time requires a lot of will power and conscious decision making. It is similar to swimming against the current. But it is certainly rewarding in the longer run.
I find that my will power and continuous decision making skills are not working very well with respect to foods. I need to create a habit where I stop taking foods that suit to my taste and harmful to health.