If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall, did it really fall?
If something happens and you don't read about it on Facebook, did it really happen? (LOL)
If you eat food but no one sees you eat it, did you really eat it?
When I was a little kid we would eat at a restaurant called Grandy's. I still see these around from time to time. They used to be really good. The main fare, fried chicken, was always a treat.There was an older grandma-type lady (Grandy was her name) who would walk around passing out hot rolls. The brioche-esque rolls were amazing. They were served with plenty of little Country Crock butter cups and special Grandy's honey packets. In a word: awesome.
Every time I went to Grandy's I would order the nuggets, fried okra and baked beans. Of course I would have a few rolls and sweet tea. Then for dessert I would have bathroom honey. "Bathroom honey?" you ask. Yes. That's right. Bathroom honey. After the meal I would discreetly excuse myself to the restroom. On my way, I would make a detour past the honey table. As soon as a got into the bathroom stall the honey began to flow. I opened packet after packet of that golden honey and sucked it right down, in the privacy of my own gritty, if slightly smelly, retreat.
I have always liked to eat alone. Because I guess, just like when I was 7 and in the Grandy's bathroom getting high on honey, I feel like if no ones sees me then it really doesn't count. That's not rational, I know. But what part of being fat is rational?
Have you ever eaten in public at something like a buffet and as you were fixing your plate you became so self conscious that you went entirely out of your way to put a ridiculously small portion of everything on your plate? I have. Why? What is the point of this? Do we really believe that people A) are paying that much attention to what we are eating and B) really buy the fact that this is the typical way we eat when we are 50...100...200 pounds overweight? I think this a behavioral red flag. Anywhere that we are bending the truth should be a red flag.
The red flag in this case signals that if we are eating like that in public then we must be eating a dramatically different way in private. But do we allow ourselves to believe that the plate we fixed in public is a true reflection of our relationship with food? Because it's not. The true reflection of our relationship with food is the plate we fix in private. It's the one that happens at 1 o'clock in the morning or the one that happens when the kids go down for a nap. It's the one that happens as we are cleaning off the dinner table or the one that happens when we are on our way home from work.
Yesterday I just "happened" upon an interesting blog post from Her.meneutics, Christianity Today's blog for women. The article, Anorexia and the Body of Christ, by Rachel Stone, sheds light on a lesser-known family based treatment for eating disorders. While anorexia, the deadliest of all psychological disorders, is the illness highlighted in the account of a young girl in the article, I think there is something all-inclusive about Stone's insight. Read this excerpt from the post:
Maybe we all need to eat together more. Brown mentions that, pre-illness, Kitty spent three hours each evening at gymnastics practice, eating alone most nights. Somehow I wasn’t surprised, having recently read data indicating that children from families eating together have a lower incidence of eating disorders than children from families who don’t. If anorexics’ best hope is having a loved one eat with them, might eating together in general have more curative and preventative powers than we currently understand? Brown doesn’t go there, but I receive her family's story as an invitation to consider more seriously the value of eating communally.
What if eating were less about our relationship with food and more about our relationships with people? What if it was about serving and listening and being more aware? What if we made it a priority to sit down daily as a family or daily with co-workers to break bread and engage in the lives of those around us?
I encourage you to really think about this. How much time do you spend eating alone? Do you think this plays into the fact that you are overweight or obese? What are some ways that families and single people alike can engage in communal eating more often? I feel like this is a big deal. What do you think?