Mindless Munching is the topic of a Wall Street Journal May 13, 2008 article by Melinda Beck.
Mindful Eating Her article, "Put a End to Mindless Munching," is a credible piece on mindful eating. I’m glad to see this perspective on eating move into greater public awareness via this well respected news publication. My gladness has several aspects. One, information about paying attention to the specific details of your eating experience may help you develop a valuable exercise that can bring you to a normal and healthy way of being present for your genuine experience and genuine body need for nourishment. When you practice mindful eating you can discover what food can offer you. The other deep yearnings you have that are not satisfied by food are then exposed so you can learn to address those needs in a more life enhancing way. If you have an eating disorder, mindful eating can show you the power of your resistance to being present in this world. Moving through that resistance, gently, respectfully and with compassion for yourself Is fundamental for eating disorder recovery. If you actually eat mindfully you will be vulnerable to your own feelings, which is the beginning of recovery work. This information is important and the Wall Street Journal is an important periodical. But it’s not known as a health journal. The reputation of the WSJ is built on its being a fair and in depth business journal.
Mindless Consumption in our Culture So while Melinda Beck is writing about ending mindless munching with reference to food, the fact that her article appears in the WSJ connects her writing to business. I am so very glad to see this. Endless munching can refer to eating mindlessly at anything, i.e. mindless and endless consumption with little or no criteria for stopping. You can buy and the fact you have no more money doesn’t stop you. You can buy on credit or borrow. Mindless consumption involves a lack of recognition of what you truly need in terms of objects. It is based your need to not be present as the vulnerable and feeling human being you are. When your goal is to be and remain in a kind of invisible oblivion, unknown to others and even yourself you must maintain mindlessness. If you stop munching, you might feel something, and those feelings cannot be tolerated without the healing that comes from recovery work.
Clutter as Part of Mindless Munching So you collect, you buy, you have a clutter problem. You attempt to declutter and even hire declutter specialists. Clutter means different things to different people. Clutter can mean piles of paper and magazines. It can mean too many cars, too many houses, too many dresses or shoes. It can mean too many dogs or cats. It can mean too many lovers or even too many children. It can certainly mean too many husbands or wives. It can mean too many dishes, too many tires on the front lawn, too many trash cans, too many arguments, too many, too many, too many, too many….. And every aspect of “too many” has a financial consequence. Have you ever looked at the clutter in the back of your closet or in your bathroom cupboard and wondered how much you paid in dollars for all that stuff? This brings me to a third aspect of my gladness about Melinda Beck’s article. Its placement in the WSJ brings up for consideration the economic ramifications of mindless munching in our culture.
Eating Disorders as an Economic Force The existence of full blown eating disorders in an every increasing segment of our population brings prosperity to many industries.
Three Eating Disorder Areas of Purchasing Power
- Diets: Think of everything associated with diets: Pills – aka drug companies; Exercise – machines, health clubs, shoes, exercise fashion, designer water, walking meters, magazines, personal trainers, classes, lectures, tapes, cds and dvds; Books – diet book are almost always in the top ten bestseller lists
- Binges Think of what appeals to you when you are vulnerable to a binge experience: “Super size me” items in fast (and not so fast) food restaurants, Junk Food – what a huge industry. In a world where food that maintains life is becoming scarcer, we have industries pumping out non-nutritious and even dangerous consumables geared for mindless munching on a grand scale: candy, cookies, chips, sodas and items all sorts of edibles considered “munchies”.
- Body Image Distortions and Concerns Skeletal bodies held as a beauty standard which encourage endless obsession on achieving an unachievable body without surgery, starvation, and serious health risks that can be lethal. Pandering to this obsession creates an endless array of items and services that can be and are purchased by women with eating disorders. Some of you will undergo surgeries of various kinds to add, remove or reshape body parts to achieve a look not achievable by a normal human body. And of course, drugs again come up as an aid to achieve a skeletal look. Every item and service listed above involves buying, selling as part of huge industrial efforts. I would very much like to see the Wall Street Journal present a well researched article that provides the financial consequences to our culture if eating disorders and all purchases that are part of living an eating disordered life, stopped. Where would our nation be without mindless munching?
Hope and Reality I wish the world stood outside the consulting room waiting to greet with cheers the woman who emerges with more health and eating disorder recovery as she exits the healing sanctuary to take her full place in society. The reality is that powerful cultural as well as personal challenges need to be confronted as you move on your eating disorder recovery path. My hope is that true eating disorder recovery will stimulate and influence a cultural recovery. My hope is that someday we all can live mindfully and healthfully together in a culture that depends on each of us to be healthy and fully present human beings. My determination now is to help women strengthen themselves to the point where they can recover from an eating disorder despite oppostional cultural pressures. In other words, it would be nice if we lived in a nicer world. But we don't. And you can get better anyway.