Not an End in Itself
Allah created a broad selection of delicious foods for us to enjoy, not abuse. Eating is a means to build and renovate a healthy and energetic body, not an end in itself.
“Just because you stop eating before you are totally full doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying your food,” explained Dr. Adel Abdul-`Aal, a renowned Egyptian doctor of alternative medicine. (Abdul-`Aal).
By savoring food and eating at a relaxed pace, Abdul-`Aal guarantees you will appreciate your food much more. And as in all other aspects of life, moderation is the key.
While listening to our body’s needs is the goal; when an actual loneliness-induced craving strikes or the time comes to “grab a bite” with a friend or to plan a birthday party, many of us might find that total avoidance of the five aforementioned psychological triggers is impractical.
The fact is, we easily fall into the pitfalls of social, situational, and emotional eating, among others.
Brian Wansink, professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University, stated, “If you go to a movie theater, everything says, ‘Eat more,’ even if you’re not hungry and even if the food tastes bad.”
“The size of the [popcorn] bucket says ‘Eat more.’ The noise of the people eating around you says ‘Eat more,’ the distraction of the movie says ‘Eat more,’ and the person you’re sitting with, if they’re still eating, tells you to eat more.” (Mieszkowski)
Refraining from entertainment venues and declining family invitations are not the answer; the goal is to manage the quality and quantity of our food intake.
15 Tips to Resist Overindulging
1. Stay busy. If you constantly have something to do, it will keep your mind off food.
2. Take a walk. While playing sports, the body releases hormones called endorphins that positively affect the mood and psychological state of the person, explained Aboulghate.
3. Chew well and take pauses between mouthfuls. This helps your digestion and makes you feel full faster. (Abdul-`Aal).
4. Do not gulp down food while walking or doing something else. (Abdul-`Aal) Set a separate time for meals that is completely focused on the food, and savor it.
5. Preferably set that time for the whole family to eat together. Gathering for food is a sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and eating together slows you down quite a bit too.
“Eat your food together, for you will thereby be blessed in it.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi).
6. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes, the body craves water, not food. (Abdul-`Aal).
7. Eat fruits and vegetables, and drink fresh juices. The water in the fruit and vegetables makes you feel hydrated, the fiber gives a sense of fullness, and they provide the body with an amount of energy that is “just-right” without overburdening it, according to Aboulghate.
“Some of them, like cucumber and cabbage, even contain ‘negative calories’ because the amount of energy required to digest them is more than their caloric content.” So you are actually losing weight munching on them!
8. Eat three meals a day, with 3-5 hours spacing between each meal. Be in harmony with your body’s biological timing. (Abdul-`Aal).