Use food and love people, not the other way around
As a coach, more and more often people ask me to help them have a better relationship with food. More and more people of all ages and backgrounds are having trouble making good decisions around food. People are not eating, or eating too much, or making themselves sick… and this just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s certainly not conducive to health, or happiness. So, why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are so many of us…
Using food to help us deal with negative emotions
Using food as a reward system
Constantly either on a diet or off a diet
Quickly gaining or losing significant amounts of body weight
Preferring to eat alone
When with friends or family, choosing to eat something light, or a salad excusing ourselves that we are full or we’ve already eaten, when it’s not true
Hiding foods around the house
Eating in secret
Going without eating for long periods of time and then binging on rich or heavy foods
Constantly worrying about our weight, reading and following the latest fad diets shown in magazines
Weighing ourselves every day or too often
Suffering from low self-image and self-esteem, linking our self-worth to our looks, comparing ourselves to other slimmer people, competing
Purging food, purposefully making ourselves ill, or worse…
The first time ever a client asked me to help them with this I was a little shocked to hear the word “relationship”. “What do you mean?” I asked “you want to have a relationship with a lettuce?”. I wasn’t joking. I was genuinely puzzled to hear the words “relationship” and “food” in the same sentence and in relation to each other.
As a former sufferer of anorexia I know what it’s like to use food for the wrong purpose, but I never once thought I was having a bad relationship with it.
See, in my opinion, we don’t have to have a relationship with food. In fact, I believe it’s because we try to make out of it more than what it should be that we end up with issues of all sorts. What we need is not a relationship, but adequate education about nutrition, as well as how to use food to make ourselves feel and look good, as opposed to bad.
Food is not a person, a puppy or a kitten, food is a thing. It’s one of the fuel sources that keep us alive, but it’s not even the number one source; oxygen is number one, and water comes second.
It’s been proven that we can survive for relatively long periods of time without food, but not without oxygen, or water. So, food is there to be used, not to be loved; at least not to the point where the romance turns so unhealthy that it destroys our self-esteem, our self-worth, our happiness, and sometimes even our life.
What would you do if a partner, family member or friend was making you feel bad about yourself continuously? Would you stay or would you go? Leaving a person is often a more complicated affair than leaving a thing behind, and food is just that, a thing. So what’s keeping you from making the decision to dump it now, the relationship, not food, and notice how you will start to feel freer, and isn’t this about having more freedom after all?
FOOD vs CRAP
In my view, and I understand not everyone will agree here, there are no good or bad foods. There is food, and there is what certain people and companies want us to believe is food, but it isn’t; it is crap.
How do we know? Because food will always make us feel good, whereas crap may make us feel temporarily good, but more often than not quickly followed by… crappy. And we tend to do stupid things when we are feeling crappy.
Food is fuel, and the right fuel source would never make you feel or look bad. Put the wrong fuel into a car and what happens? If we’re lucky, it might run for a few meters before it busts. Put the right fuel, and it runs like a beautiful smooth machine.
Our machine is designed to run on oxygen, water, good quality protein sources, good fats, vegetables, nuts, herbs, seeds and fruit mainly; natural foods.
We know that our digestive system has minimally evolved through history, yet we have decided, consciously or unconsciously, that, just like vultures do, we’ll eat just about anything. As a result, we are destroying our physical and mental health with easily preventable diseases, we are becoming more psychotic than ever when it comes to food, and we are even dying, from eating… crap.
Information is only power if we use it to empower ourselves
So, let’s get educated, and start to eat more of the foods we are designed to eat, so we start to look and feel smooth!
TASTE IT to LIKE IT
We don’t have to like everything we put in our mouths. If your mum was anything like mine, you probably heard a few “just eat it”-s in your childhood. And mums are not always, but often right. I, for one, would rather trust mum than McDonald’s.
Because when it comes to food, the first time we try something we often don’t know whether we like it or not, as it takes a few exposures to a particular food before our taste buds have the chance to process colours, aromas, textures… and send the signal to the brain that we like it.
And even with that, as we grow older, we change, and our taste changes too, as it does for women during pregnancy for example, due to hormonal changes, or smokers who quit smoking and start to properly taste food again.
So, we often find that things we didn’t like when we were kids are actually quite nice now, if we allow ourselves to be more courageous and just go for it.
But the thing to remember here is that if we begin to get educated through the right sources, and we begin to get more curious about food, what is good for us and what isn’t, what feels good and what doesn’t, as we start to open up to the possibilities of what we could get to like and love… we may actually get to feel more in control of ourselves and of things, and enjoy a wide variety of foods that will help us function optimally, make us look better naturally, and feel happier more of the time.
But don’t just take my word for it, what do you think?
Stay tuned for part 3, where I will disclose a few practical tips to help you feel better around food, so you can start to use it to look and feel better now.