The Balance Between Feast and Famine

Overeating at Thanksgiving DinnerOne of the value systems that contributes to overeating comes from a fundamental belief that has been passed down for many generations. This belief tells us that an abundance of food is security, and an overabundance of food is wealth—to be eaten with celebratory zest!

Consider for a moment that the compulsion to reach for that second serving stems from this survival reflex. Because of the great fortune many people in these modern times experience, there is an abundant surplus of rich foods to satisfy every impulse for fulfillment that our brain sends us.

The counterintuitive reality is that this impulse can be dangerous. The long term effects of overeating results in obesity, which is a major risk factor for many illnesses and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. But even more fundamentally, what you eat affects your mental health, not only on a chemical level but on an emotional level as well. Everything is connected to eating. As some say, we are what we eat.

We have all heard this information before, yet portion sizes keep increasing with our wealth, and poor choices are made as our schedule fills up. The primary reason that people are not able to put into practice what they already know is because the brain is not being managed properly.

The “More Is Better” Mentality
But it’s not just our desire for food that moves us to consume. Much of our time and resources are devoted to accumulating all sorts of things; clothing, cars, electronics, entertainment, etc. For instance, if you are like most people you probably own enough clothing to get through the winter. Even if you don’t purchase a single article of clothing for the next five years, you probably have enough to comfortably sustain your needs. However, as the season changes, you suddenly feel the impulse to purchase new clothes.

Your brain is constantly barraged with different images through broadcasts, commercials, and media that triggers the desire to buy. There are tremendous promotions and advertising campaigns created to stir the desire to buy new things within your brain. That is what I call information infiltration.

Through this infiltration of culture and information we keep reaching into our pockets, adding more debt onto our credit cards, and accumulating more possessions. But is this necessary? Do we really need that extra pair of black shoes, or yet another handbag?

Delving Deeper
If you are ready for an alternative to consuming more food, distracting yourself with more entertainment, and accumulating more possessions, you must allow yourself to reflect upon what you are actually missing, and I can guarantee that it is not more “stuff.” Once you have connected at the basic level of this desire for more, you may find that what you really seek is a feeling of centeredness and security.

You can reconnect to your center by placing your hands on your lower abdomen and focusing your breath all the way down to your lower belly for three to five minutes a day. Keep bringing your attention to the movement of your hands as the breath moves your abdomen in and out. This practice will create the adequate breathing space that will keep you from getting caught up in the external whirlwind that tips us off balance, causing us to reach outside for support and security.

From this point of centeredness you will find it easier to control your appetite and other desires that you experience. When the brain is not focusing, it can get stuck in obsessive behaviors in no time. That is why it is essential to keep bringing your focus back to your core. Once you connect to the intelligence of your body, all of the outdated information in your brain will regulate itself. You will be able to achieve a healthy relationship with the abundance that surrounds so many of us today, using it as a resource to improve the conditions for the people living on the earth and not as a mere tool to distract yourself. Living this way, you will feel a deep satisfaction, fulfilled by the richness of your own spirit, and able to share that abundant spirit with others. What matters more than what you have, is how you use it.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hagop Kurdoghlian-Gamsaragan
    February 26, 2013 5:15 pm

    I agree 100% what Ilchi Lee is talking about. And I am practicing it on a
    daily basis.
    My hope is that people who read this kind of articles will give a chance
    to practice and feel the results.

  • Sooooo true! Thank you for your insight and the alternative recommendation.
    Less is more.


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