Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Improve Your Relationship With Food: Part 1


What kind of relationship do you have with food?

Benjamin Franklin had a clear idea of how he felt about his daily sustenance- one should eat to live, not live to eat.

Food indeed fuels your existence, but it is much more than a basic means of nourishment.
Cultures are defined by their cuisines, cities are praised for their restaurants, master chefs are worshiped for their culinary innovations. 

Food is indeed much more than a way to take in necessary calories, macronutrients, and vitamins. Food offers a cornucopia of experiences that nourish more than just one's body.

Yet based on the current levels of obesity and the endless flow of scientifically altered "diet foods", the mass population can not seem to find and maintain the healthy relationship with food needed to live a healthy, satisfying life.

The vending machines have replaced the farmer's market.
The microwave has replaced the slow cooker.
The coffee table in front of the television and open lap top have replaced the dining table.

The eating experiences has been downgraded and diluted into a convenient activity lacking requirements of discernment and thoughtfulness.
Too many of us no longer know how to appreciate the dining experience.

Is Food Your Friend, Enemy, or Mother?

If food is your enemy....

Unfortunately, some of us have associated food with negativity.

The belief that food makes you fat/immoral/ugly/greedy/etc is a reflection of your inner insecurities being projected onto your plate.

If you feel the need to fight food, you may just need to analyze your reactions to the types of foods that abhor you.
Sometimes we feel as if we lack the power to make the choices that can potentially lead to our goals.
Do not let food hold power over you for you are in full control of what you decide to put into your body.

The foods that trigger feelings of powerlessness are rooted within the pool of associations you subconsciously make.
Did you have a bad experience with that food?
Do you feel like a failure every time you consume that meal?
Do you experience an inner conflict when eating something that impedes upon your values/preferred lifestyle/diet?

In order to overcome those trigger-reactions, you must acknowledge your conflicting feelings whilst being aware that you have the power to respond to them in a positive or neutral way.

As you explore your inner feelings and past reactions, keep in mind:
You do not have to deprive yourself.
You do not have to be perfect.
You do not have to save the world.
You can not control what other people eat.
You can control what you eat.
You are not limited to only one type of diet.

Once you become aware of your feelings regarding those trouble foods, allow yourself to reclaim your power.

Are you addicted to sugar?
Do you feel guilty every time you eat carbs?
Does eating meat make you doubt your ethics?

In order to reclaim your power, you must surrender your strong emotional, and sometimes physical, ties with that food.
Claim responsibility for what you consume but do not aim for rigid perfection for this is illusory and will only disappoint you.

Do not blame food for your emotions and reactions.

If food is your mother....

Food can be extremely comforting, but some of us turn to food to feel satisfied, safe, and secure.

Using food as a temporary relief for one's issues can become a vicious cycle and addiction.
If you are using food to feel a certain way, you must ask yourself how food is compensating for your lack of fulfillment.

Is food supplementing your social life?
Is eating the most comforting and familiar activity you partake in?
Do you turn to food when you are bored yet unwilling to engage in anything requiring you to step out of your comfort zone?
Do you eat foods that remind you of someone or someplace you have lost but have failed to let go of?

In order to reclaim your personal power, you must find ways to detach from destructive beliefs and unwillingness to leave the past where it belongs.

You do not have to eat food to feel the way you want to feel.
You can not chase external gratification in order to find lasting internal satisfaction.
You must remove the doubt and fear from within yourself and work on those issues instead of hiding behind your eating habits.

This might be scary at first and you will feel very vulnerable, but you can not progress in life without stepping out of your comfort zone.

Food addiction is a serious issue, and it can not be resolved by simply taking away the foods you overindulge yourself in.
Addiction starts from within and must be defeated at its root.

Find that root and reclaim your power.

You can have a great relationship with food.

You can enjoy picking, preparing, cooking, and eating food.
Food can be enjoyed without any guilt, but with total gratefulness.
In part 2, I will explore different ways to find and maintain a fulfilling relationship with food.