While wolfing down my oatmeal before physical therapy a couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon something that stopped me mid-chew. It wasn’t the McDonald’s Happy Meal that didn’t decay after a year (though that will do the trick, too). It was The Eater’s Agreement, excerpted on the terrific body-image blog, Nourishing the Soul, and it’s had me eating with greater awareness and attention ever since.
As athletes, many of us think we’re exempt from the kind of behaviors that plague dieters—obsessive eating, restrictive eating, mindless eating (and the list goes on). But read this before scarfing down your next post-run meal, and see if you don’t think about your dinner—and your body—a little differently.
I hereby agree, from this day forward, to fully participate in life on earth. I agree to inhabit the appropriate vehicle for such participation – a body. As a requisite for the sustaining of that body, and of the life that dwells therein, I agree to be an eater. This agreement fully binds me for the duration of my stay on earth.
As an eater, I agree to hunger. I agree to have a body that needs food. I agree to eat food. I recognize that as the biological need to eat is fulfilled with greater awareness and efficiency, the benefits of my well-being will increase. I further acknowledge that ignorance of the eating process may cause undesirable consequences.
Because the essence of my participation in life is one of learning and exploration, I agree to experience uncertainty as an eater. I recognize there are a great variety of foods to choose from, and I may not know which to eat. I may have a choice of different nutritional approaches, and not know which to follow. I may have an assortment of habits, and not know how to manage them. I recognize that my relationship to food is a learning process, and I will inevitably make mistakes. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to accept my humanness and learn as I go along.
I acknowledge that as the body changes from infancy to old age, so will the eating process change. I recognize that my body may call for different foods as the days, seasons, and years progress. My dietary needs will also shift in accord with changes in my life-style and environment. I understand that there is no one perfect diet.
I further agree that eating is an activity that joins me with all humanity. I recognize that to be an eater is to be accountable for the care of the earth and its resources. I acknowledge that despite our differences, we are all ultimately nourished by the same source. As such, I agree to share.
I recognize that at its deepest level, eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat, I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. As a human being on earth, I agree to be an eater. I choose life again and again…
From: Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David
Bell Tower. NY; 1991
Distributed by: Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N
Which part of this manifesto rings true? How can you better fulfill this agreement—and more fully participate in life on earth?