|This is not Cleopas but it's darn cute!|
I recently began volunteering at our local animal shelter here in Las Vegas. There are so many dogs and I volunteer as a dog-walker. We socialize the dogs, get them out of the kennels and work to keep them sane until they are adopted. I figured I would get some exercise, interact with dogs (I want one but it's not a good time to have one) and be helping a worthy cause at the same time. Who knew that I would get so much out of it so quickly?
I was there for a couple hours this morning and the last dog I worked with, a chihuahua named Cleopas, was a little scaredy cat that I ended up carrying around the bungalows instead of walking. I keep little doggie treats with me to help the timid ones warm up to me but she wouldn't have one, not even interested. I told her "You must not be hungry" and then I started thinking, the other dogs who took the treats had the same food available that Cleopas had. I hadn't assumed they were hungry because they took treats. They just love those treats! Like I just love ice cream and pizza. I've always laughed at sayings like "If you won't eat an apple, then you're not really hungry" thinking whoever came up with that must have never had an eating problem. Well, it's not sounding so stupid to me now. The tricky part is understanding whether you're really physically hungry or you're feeding something else besides your stomach. Just eating cause it tastes good or makes you feel good. Really, it's just food. It's function is to keep us going so we can devote time to important things in our lives, important people, causes, responsibilities and the important fun stuff, exercise, laughter, adventure! This doesn't mean it has to be bland or we have to only eat apples but it does mean we have to understand why we're reaching for cheeze-its at work when we just ate an hour prior.
When did (and why did) my expectation of what food is supposed to do for me change? I'll be thinking about it over the next few days and when I eat, I have to be mindful of what I'm expecting the food I eat to do for me. I need to focus on the other areas of my life, the areas that eating well allows me to participate in instead of thinking about just the "eating" part. I'll be thanking Cleopas on Sunday :)
Fight the good fight!