Eating, Beliefs and survival

Eating, Beliefs and survival

Eating, Beliefs and survival

I’ve been watching the devastating scenes of the tsunami destroying whole towns in Japan yesterday. The newscaster then switched to an interview with a foreigner who was living some way away, but who had lost power and transport. His biggest concern was that he had no food. In fact it was the first thing he mentioned “we don’t have any food”.


And it struck me that people really believe they will perish without food for a day or two. Which is absolutely not true in case you’re wondering. I have a friend who always prepares and takes snacks even when she will only be away for 2 hours. I read a novel a while ago where the heroine was trapped in a cave in for 3 days and emerged like a skeleton from lack of food.

If this were really true we wouldn’t need those weight loss TV shows, just lock them up for a couple of days and whammo – 50% of their body weight gone.

While we can’t survive without water for more than a few days depending on conditions, we are designed to survive the some time without food (months even depending on conditions). Especially those of us with lots of storage i.e. fat. While it wouldn’t be comfortable to not eat a couple of days without it wouldn’t kill you. What it would do is lower your metabolism when your body went into conservation mode. Think bears hibernating.

Unhealthy FoodAnyway, I digress. What is the implication of believing you will perish unless you eat every couple of hours? Number one would be obesity. Or you might be obsessed with food – it would take priority over other activities and things. It might cause you to worry about keeping your job or making money may be (where is my next meal coming from?).

To put it in perspective, we don’t usually obsess about where our next glass of water is going to come from or our next breath. These things are generally background unless we don’t have them. Yet these are much more critical than a steady supply of food.

What are the consequences of your untested beliefs? Some people with agoraphobia for instance believe something dire will happen if they leave the safety of their home – that the panic will overwhelm them.

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