Be The Master of Your Own Food Domain

Be The Master of Your Own Food Domain

“I really don’t want to eat these cheesy potatoes, but I also don’t want to be rude.”

“My grandma will be crushed if I don’t eat her gravy.”

“I had no choice but to eat junk last night.  I was out with clients and didn’t want to make a scene.”

If you’ve ever made any of the statements above, then congratulations, you’re human.

Inherent in the human condition are the desires to please and to be accepted by those around you, so as not to stick out like a sore thumb in group settings.  Unless, of course, you thrive in situations in which you are put on the defensive, in which case you should seriously consider a career change and apply to law school.

If you’re like most people, when you’re put in group situations involving food, the “be like everyone else” switch in your brain is activated.  That switch reminds you to blend in with the crowd, to act like everyone else, and most certainly not to draw attention to yourself about the way you eat.

So then what?  You hit the hors d’oeuvres bar, pick up some cauliflower and spinach dip, grab a chicken satay, and munch on a bite-sized cheese quiche.  Twenty minutes later, when you’re laughing at some jokes and enjoying a glass of wine your intestine starts reminding you that everything you just ate is nutritional suicide.

You start feeling gassy, and do everything in your power to minimize the bubble factory in your abdomen.  Maybe you get red in the face, start shedding a few layers, then migrate to the kitchen to drink a 64-ounce glass of water.  Or even worse, you get up from the party, walk outside and swear to yourself “I’m NEVER eating cheese quiche ever again.”  No matter the effect, you are now preoccupied, unable to fully engage in the social event, and cursing at yourself under your breath for making unintelligent choices.

Why did you do it?  Because you created a pressure on yourself to be like everyone else.  Because you felt like not eating the chicken satay would have been rude.  Because you thought grandma would have been hurt if her infamous potatoes-and-6-pounds-of-cheese went to waste.

You ate improperly because you were not acting as the master of your own food domain.

So what does it mean to be the master of your own food domain?  It’s simple.  Forget anyone else in the situation, and think only about the choices that YOU have to make for your own personal health.  Don’t worry about your spouse, your kids, your mother, or your friends.  They can handle themselves.  Think about yourself, and the fact that when you don’t feel your best, you are less useful to others.

Think about the way an animal eats.  Does a hyena succumb to peer pressure or societal norms?  Does a bear eat nacho chips because it’s super bowl day?  Animals are the ultimate example of being in control of their food domain because they eat according to biological desires, not according to some arbitrary cultural pressure.

Being the master of your food domain means that you act as the gate keeper for everything that enters your mouth, and actively prevent harmful substances from reaching your tongue.  In the process, you:

  • Become responsible for every food and liquid that enters your body

  • Stop eating and drinking to please someone else

  • Be confident in your food choices, and stick to your guns despite the peer pressure that others may exert on you

  • Realize that when you eat poorly, YOU are the one that suffers the most

  • Don’t be afraid to tell grandma that her cheesy potatoes no longer conform to your ways

You see, becoming the master of your own food domain may feel weird at first, but after explaining your decision making process to your friends and family in a logical way, they would be silly to question your experience.  I’ve noticed in the past decade that in social situations, when I am questioned about why my plate resembles monkey food, I simply tell people that “Oh boy, you haven’t heard?  I’m the weirdest eater you’ve ever heard of.  I make vegetarians look like babies.”

By making fun of myself before anyone else can, people begin to recognize a few things:

  • That I don’t take myself too seriously

  • That I must have a reason to back my nutritional choices

  • That I’m not afraid to be different in public settings

  • That I thoroughly enjoy the food I eat, and am not worried what others think

As soon as I do this, most people respond with statements like, “You know, I’ve always wanted to eat healthier, I’m just too lazy.  I would love to eat the way you do.”  It’s truly amazing the response you will receive once you tell the world that you are confident in your decision making process.  Most people want to be the same, they just succumb to the pressures of the group-think mentality, and it prevents them from achieving true success with their bodies.

Practice being the master of your own food domain by yourself, then muster up the courage to do it in group settings.  Start simply, then work your way to more difficult situations.  Below is a three week plan that will start you on your path to nutritional independence:

  1. Week 1: Pack yourself lunch every day at work.  Eat nothing from outside.

  2. Week 2: Eat food that you have prepared yourself for both lunch and dinner.  Nothing from outside.  Nothing that anyone else prepares for you.  Nothing from a package.  Nothing from a restaurant.

  3. Week 3: Eat only food that you have prepared for yourself for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Again, nothing from outside.

By the time you are done with week 3, you should be well on your way to complete independence.  This exercise forces you to rely on yourself, only yourself, and no one but yourself.  In addition, it teaches you that it is perfectly ok to say no to the food that other people offer you.  Remember, if they are offended by you polite refusal, it is their problem, not yours.  At the end of week 3 practice maintaining your new found independence in social settings, such that when someone deplores you to try the bacon covered bacon balls, you calmly reply to them with a statement that pokes fun at yourself.

Make it a joke.  Everyone can relate to that.

And if you’re unfamiliar with the reference to “master of your domain,” see the clip below for a classic Seinfeld moment.

Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

 

About The Author

Cyrus Khambatta

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 22, I have spent over a decade learning the fundamentals of nutrition at the doctorate level. My goal is to share my knowledge of practical nutrition and fitness with people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is an OPPORTUNITY to attain excellent health. Reversing the effects of insulin resistance can be a fun and enjoyable process if the right system is in place. That's why I've spent over 10 years developing a rock solid system that can minimize blood glucose variability and insulin resistance.

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