Your health can be determined by a variety of factors, but when it comes down to healthy living, there is ONE very important factor that is undervalued and almost ALWAYS overlooked.
That is your Relationship with Food.
“How getting healthy” and “Your Relationship with Food” is linked
Your relationship with food is not a focal point for many people. It is not something that is talked about. You would rarely hear someone ask you, “What is your relationship with food?”
There is a strong connection between how you treat food and healthy living.
HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD FORMED?
It was taught to us in some form over the years. We either learned to treat food the way we do based on marketing and commercials or with the relationships that surround us. Your friends, family… colleagues… think about how they treat food?
Take the example of having a basket full of apples, if there are one or more rotting apples in the basket, they can infect the other apples. And if YOU are an apple that doesn’t want to rot, then what do you need to do?
You need to pull yourself out of the basket. Or remove the rotten apples.
This example does not suggest removing people from your life. It simply means, to take the relationship you have with food and make sure that it’s your own. Do not conform to how your peers treat food. Do not try to please others when it comes to food.
Spending some quality time on with the concept of what YOUR relationship with food is can make a huge difference in your health… and in your life.
What is your relationship with food? What does food mean to you? What’s its purpose?
Do you consider yourself a responsible eater? Do you ever catch yourself eating unconsciously or automatically without any thought? Do you find yourself consuming food quickly and not mindfully?
Do you have an abusive relationship with food?
Do you try to eat as much as you can at a buffet? Or maybe a social gathering with friends, colleagues or family reunion? Often times, most of these gatherings are always surrounded with an abundance of unhealthy foods.
It can be nostalgic to indulge and when there is so much available, it’s hard to say no.
Ask yourself: Are these occurrences making it easier or harder for you to be responsible for your health and, therefore, to decide what you want your relationship with food to be?
If so, what can you do about it?
3 Problems that come from a poor Relationship with Food
Do you try and eat more food when it tastes SOOOO good? Even though you’re full and you know you shouldn’t? Or how about being able to eat quickly… or showing off how much you can eat in a boastful manner? This is often associated with masculinity. Eating a lot of food in a sitting is somehow seen as manly.
Additionally, overeating on meat and protein sources is very common as well. Our culture is surrounding around eating more protein. We must get MORE protein in our bodies. This stems from marketing of the food industry, restaurants, etc.
The reality is, our culture eats too much. It’s abused. We overeat meat excessively because we can. Not because we need to.
#2 Using Food as a Reward
If you do something good or accomplish something, do you celebrate using food? Or on the other hand, if you had a stressful day. Do you use food to make you feel better? Do you often use food as a reward telling yourself that you deserve it, or you’ve earned it?
How about when it’s your birthday. Someone else’s birthday? Treats at the office? House warming. A Baby Shower. Wedding. Friday night. Saturday night. The weekend.
Part of our culture is to celebrate. Celebration is a beautiful thing. But it always seems to be around food, and there seems to be regular reasons to celebrate. But it is important to ask yourself, who am I celebrating? What am I celebrating? Is it YOUR birthday?
We are constantly celebrating or rewarding ourselves during situations that are exciting, happy, challenging, or stressful? If this happens as often as it sounds, is it still considered a reward? Or does it simply become part of your life…. Your lifestyle…. Your habits… your relationship with food?
Reward for exercise
The same applies for using food as a reward for exercising.
“Well I worked out today, so… I can eat a whole pizza.”
This mentality that was created sometime over the years has generated the connection between working out and poor eating. The justification that when we exercise, we are entitled to eat whatever we want.
#3 Losing your Self-Integrity
Someone I’ve worked with told me that he transformed his life when he recognized – and admitted to himself – that he was telling himself little lies about food. About healthy living.
Do you tell yourself lies about food?
“You only live once”
“Eating is part of life so I eat whatever I want, I just want to enjoy food”
“Life is short, so eat the cake”
How about lies you tell yourself about eating healthy?
“Eating Healthy is expensive”
“Well, everything gives us cancer, anyway”
“Eating Healthy doesn’t taste good”
“I don’t have time to eat healthy”
These are all excuses that stop us from taking responsibility for your own health. None of them really have validity and truth to them, they are all crafted so that you can justify your eating habits… to justify your relationship with food.
Who is the BEST person to help me?
Nobody else is going to help us make the decisions on a daily basis. Nobody else is going to tell us that these are excuses. So saying these lies to yourself only perpetuates the problem. Reinforcing the behavior and dragging the problem on longer.
You are the best person to help yourself.
The reality is… Nobody wants to accept the fact that the things they love to eat, will kill them. Whether it be the quantity or quality of food. Because the effect of poor food behaviors is not seen immediately. It is overlooked, ignored, and forgotten. Out of sight… out of mind.
The good news is; you can change your relationship with food right now. In this very moment. Take a few moments and reflect on your relationship with food.
And to help you do that, Michael Henri has shared what his relationship with food is:
“I love food. I enjoy eating it. I enjoy cooking it. I enjoy sharing it with others. I treat food with a similar love that I have for myself.
The food I eat fuels me. It revitalizes me. It gives me energy and makes me feel fulfilled. I do not over-eat.
I do not eat garbage. I do not allow myself to be put into positions where I have no choice on the food I put in my mouth. I’ve remove the relationship I used to have with sugars, fried greasy foods, and mass produced products which often include genetically modified ingredients, chemicals, toxins and preservatives.
As a result, I do not feel bloated after eating.I think ahead about my food. I prepare my food myself. And I take the time to enjoy my food.”
So, what’s your relationship with food going to be moving forward? How will food fuel your life to greatness?
I too love food. My relationship with food fluctuates from very good to very poor. It depends on how I am feeling. Tiredness, feeling low, family gatherings etc. When someone else cooks I seem to eat more as I want to try everything. I believe it’s my willpower that needs to be strengthened. I even found myself at a family function and ate a big bowl of ice cream, even though I had been sugar free to 2 year plus. Trying to get back on track takes me awhile. It seems to be a vicious circle at times.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing Sandra! It sounds like you are very aware of your habits and tendencies and you know what you should and shouldn’t do. Perhaps the only thing missing is to remind yourself what you WILL feel like if you indulge in those moments.
Initially it is easier to just say ‘No’ all the time to build that resilience, then eventually, when you self-talk… make that conversation about how the food will make you feel AFTER you consume it. Shortly after, or even the next day. 🙂