A colleague of mine was recently confronted with the following question by a person she met on a plane.
“Which type of person are you? An “eat to live” or a “live to eat” person?”
This person held the theory that all people fall into one of two categories: those who only eat because they have to in order to survive, but who get no joy out of eating, and those who get great joy out of eating and would do it whether or not their survival depended on it. Ah, how simplified! I guess I get where this person is coming from, but I disagree that all people can be shoved into one category or the other based solely on the fact that I believe I can’t wholly be placed on either side. It’s a good thing I didn’t bump into this person because my answer would probably be way more info than they wanted! Case in point: as a sports dietitian I’m very interested in how to properly fuel the body, particularly during exercise. I guess that would fall into the “eat to live” category since it’s all about science and performance and not enjoyment. However, I really like food (well good food). My Denver Restaurant Week experience at ChoLon Bistro was amazing! There is a foodie side of me that loves to explore new restaurants and try the occasional indulgent meal. That would be my “live to eat” side. Depending on the day or specific situation I might be more on one side than the other, but overall I think I’m pretty much in the middle. Both sides are there, as equally balanced as can be. I guess you could say I’m a “live to eat to live” person!
I’m also not sure it’s healthy to only consider yourself one or the other. Where’s the balance? It’s okay to enjoy eating, but it’s also okay to think about health and fueling your body with productive foods. Amazing indulgent meals lose their appeal if they’re eaten every night after all. But eating based off numbers all the time is a rigid way to live. The human relationship with food is complex. We use it in all sorts of social situations, from work lunches to weddings. We use to celebrate, to comfort ourselves, and to connect with others.
So let’s not divide ourselves into two categories. It’s okay if you fall more on one side than the other, but we are all people, and we all need to eat, and deserve to enjoy it!