What Is Your Relationship With Food?
My sweetheart, Don, met me a little over a year into my eating disorder recovery. He helped take my recovery (without even knowing it or understanding eating disorders) to a whole new level through love aaaaand….his fondness for wining and dining. This girl who was terrified of certain foods and going over a number of calories/WW points per day fell in love with a Foodie. Imagine that! It perplexed me that he could be healthy, look great, take care of himself, yet enjoy food so much. He had no rules, just balance. Dumping rules and finding balance is exactly what I needed.
So, let’s talk FOOD! One relationship we will ALL have our entire life is with food.
The definition of relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected or the state of being connected. When we approach food as a relationship instead of a task or a thing…it is then we can see the path differently. We also see connections, gain insight, and realize how our relationship with food can teach us. The big question is…..what is your relationship with food?
Do you know how many times I am told, “Sarah, I am just an emotional eater,” as if this is some horrible admission? Guess what?! We are human…which makes us EMOTIONAL and EATERS! Being human also means we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Food can help us with both, hence the relationship. The problems occur when our behaviors with food become unwanted or even destructive.
Answering the question, I have posed, “What is your relationship with food?” can be challenging. What is fascinating is that our relationship with food can run parallel to other relationships in our lives or even how we are “doing” life. When you work on one, you can actually help heal the other. This is all very personal and connecting the dots are different for each person. Let me give you some examples:
You try to control what you eat and do not trust certain foods – you try to maintain control in your marriage and don’t trust others easily.
Two main issues to work on here are LETTING GO & TRUST.
Your eating is chaotic, and you eat whatever whenever – you chronically date and find yourself having more one-night stands than you want to admit.
Two main issues to work here are STRUCTURE & SELF-CARE
When I suffered from Bulimia going through periods of significant restriction and control to then binging uncontrollably and purging – certain areas of my life I overachieved and was very disciplined (work) and other areas I was somewhat impulsive and full of unwanted emotions (personal relationships). Eating disorders are complex, and there was a lot I needed to work on and through, but an overall theme was BALANCE and EMOTIONAL HEALING.
There are thousands of “experts” who have their philosophies on what you should eat and what food rules you should follow. The funny thing is many contradict each other. So, who do you believe?
YOU….YOU BELIEVE YOU!!!
Nobody knows your body better than you do! BECOME YOUR OWN EXPERT! Sure…read, learn, be curious, experiment. This is how you figure things out. But above all else, stay tuned into HOW YOU FEEL. Your body has amazing wisdom and will speak to you. A way to decode and translate is through this question: “How is my sleep, energy, mood, and digestion?” When you become aware and notice…”Okay, I ate this, drank this, didn’t eat, ate this amount….and I feel like this” and then “I like how I feel” or “I don’t like how I feel” THEN you can begin to TRUST your body and make food decisions that will serve you in a positive way.
Most will say the pillars of a positive relationship are trust, communication, and love. You can have this with your body…and food!