Need, Want, Desire or Gluttony?

Do you really know when you have had enough?

This question can be applied to nearly every thing we do in our daily life from the moment we wake up. Do I need to check social media before 9 am? Do I needto watch the news for the third time today? Do I really need a third cup of tea or am I satisfied?

Today we live in a busy world where we are consumed by advertising and social media. We are told what to wear, how to look, how to eat, how to work and even how to live. Our lives have become so fast paced that we have started to forget the important things in life. Such as love (especially self love), positive relationships with others but more importantly our selves, living with a purpose which is embed with our own values and desires and taking care of our health especially how to eat.

Our relationship with food has changed dramatically over the past century but more evidently in the past 20 years. The continual saturation of advertising of convenient food, more preservatives and additives being added to food to keep their shelf life longer and the over abundance of plastic wrapped food and packaging (a single use items)

It’s not just harmful for our environment but we are also suffering.

Food isn’t just to be ‘eaten’ but it should be used as a preventative tool used for great optimal health. Over the past eight years, I have been privileged to have travelled the world and the one thing which strikes me every time I come home to Australia is just how obese people are. It’s alarming and the United States and Britain were not far behind.

How have we as a society ended up here? Have we forgotten that food is a tool to for great health? Is our overindulgent lifestyle impacting our relationship with food?

Our relationship with food needs to change and we need to understand the different between a need, a desire and gluttony. Do you really know when you have had enough? Or do you expect your plate and glass to be full because this is how you value your food, because you paid for it so you demand a bigger serving?

I have been shocked at the ‘amount’ of food some restaurants serve in Australia, there was easily enough food on my plate for 3 separate meals. There was no way I could eat it all.  So here was my dilemma.

  1. Leave it = Food waste (no doggy bag allowed and I forgot my little tin)
  2. Overeating = Anxiety, bloated, gluttony so I left it.

I asked waitress to remove it after the people around me (who had already eaten their meal decided it was ok to eat the remnants of mine) because they hadn’t realised they had had enough. They weren’t listening to their bodies.

So do you really know when you have had enough?

The first thing we need to realise is the difference be Need, Desire and Gluttony.

A need is something you can’t possibly live without and our survival depends on it. For example, food (hunger), clothing, shelter, air, water and love. A desire is something you wish had only for yourself, whether it be weak or strong. You will pursue it until you have it, regardless of your needs or wants. Followed by sorrow. A need is something we need to survive hence they do not cause sorrow. While the (wrong) desires are a source of sorrow as we begin to desire more and more in our life. Then there is gluttony/over indulgence eating in excess regularly. Going back for seconds (when you don’t need them), large over indulgent portioned meals including nuts, meat, sweets and alcohol.

Our relationship with food is unbalanced

Portion size, are two words which we all need to become familiar and comfortable with. Last year when I first became aware of how much food I was eating compared to how much my body needed I was shocked. I was over eating, I was eating twice as much as I needed even as a vegetarian/vegan I was suffering portion distortion and I know I am not alone. It is time to create a mindful an awareness of how much food you need to survive/need. We need to start eating mindfully, sustainability and creatively.

Eating food needs to be done with love, passion and it should be a pleasurable experience.


  • Divide seeds/nuts into reusable containers, a 1/3 of a cup (a small fist full) is perfect
  • When serving dinner pack away any leftover food into the fridge. This saves being tempted to go back for seconds or even thirds. Downsize your bowls and plates. We are feed that we should be eating off big plate and bowls.  Let go of watching TV, checking your iPhone or sitting at your computer while eating your meal. Your emails will still be there after a 15 minute break (I wish I enforced this one last year when teaching)
  •  Cut meat/seafood into correct portions after buying them 65g cooked lean red meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90-100g raw). This is where my greatest awareness was created.


Next Mindful Eating…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.