As a society, our relationship with food is a complicated one. While we have an abundance of food in some places, others struggle to find enough food to feed their families. Meanwhile, obesity statistics are only increasing, while eating disorders are also rife around the world. It’s clear that something is missing when it comes to relating healthily to the food we eat, but where do we even start when it comes to unpacking this?
While this one blog post won’t put the world to rights, we can start here to unpack how and why our relationships with food have gone awry, and how to set them straight. If you are struggling with your food right now, make sure to contact a licensed therapist to talk through the issues with them.
How we relate to food
In our society, we tend to focus on two things when we think about food: taste/satisfaction, and weight. For most people, we want our food to taste good, without compromising our ideal body image too heavily. We relate to food often in a superficial way by focusing on what the food will do to us, rather than for us. “Will this food make me fat?” Is a question most of us think about daily, even if we don’t realize it.
With these negative, superficial associations, it is no surprise that the way we consume and relate to food is negative too. As a society we have become obsessed with visual culture, thereby making food into a byproduct of our appearances, rather than seeing it for what it is: an essential tool for nourishment.
Rewiring our brains for better associations
So how do we get out of these bad associations? For those struggling intensely with eating disorders or other food related problems, it is important to seek professional help.
For most people, though, the answer is to take active steps towards rewiring our brains for better associations to food. Mindfulness is a seemingly meaningless buzzword that is thrown around a lot, but in fact, being mindful about the food you eat can help you appreciate it as a nourisher, instead of seeing it as a means to an end or a negative thing that will make you gain weight.
For example, let’s say you cook a delicious greek lasagna recipe for you and your family one night. As you work to prepare the meal, you might be plagued with thoughts about how this food will contribute negatively to your figure. The pasta, the cheese - these things are seen as unhealthy and bad.
If you have these thoughts, try to rework them into a positive framework. This food you are preparing grew from the ground or from an animal; it took time to arrive on your plate. It will help your body to move and breathe; it will help your brain to function.
These re-associations take practice, but they ultimately can help improve our relationship to food in the long term.
This is something I need to work on. I use food as comfort and that's not a healthy relationship.ReplyDelete
I think it is very important to have a healthy relationship with food. It is something I have been working on for a while now.ReplyDelete
When I'm stressed I won't eat. It seems of late I'm never stressed.ReplyDelete
We have changed what we eat and over time it's become the norm. It's a good thing.
Have a fabulous day and weekend, my friend. ♥
I needed to read your tips, i love food and i am somehow an emotional eater.ReplyDelete
Such a great post for those who are struggling with food, luckily I was born in Asia where we love eating foodReplyDelete
Diet is important, here in the UK we have all sorts of healthy eating clubs that help people with their food relationships.ReplyDelete
I have a TERRIBLE relationship with food. Thank you for this, I need it.ReplyDelete
This is great. I need to be more active. I feel like I have a good relationship with food though.ReplyDelete
This is so true especially for those who grew up with parents who constantly body shame and tell you not too eat too much or too eat more. It makes food seemingly like an opponent at times.ReplyDelete
I have a good relationship with tacos, I mean food! jaja I really liked how you mentioned that we can rewire our thinking towards food, too. Many people even feel guilt when eating and that's something we have the power to change. Love it!ReplyDelete
Coming from one who didn't have a lot of food in the house growing up, I think I tend to overbuy food at the grocers now that I am an adult and have the means to do so. That's the extent of my unhealthy relationship with food though. Fortunately, I do recognize we can eat all the things, but in moderation.ReplyDelete
I had to work on my relationship with food for a long time to be able to get healthy. I was abused mentally and emotionally as a child, and food became a medication for me.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the food tips.I really need to focus on my diet list.i always eat junk.ReplyDelete
It's amazing to me that almost all of us have some form of unhealthy relationship with food. We all need it to live, so there's so many opportunities for all of us to form unhealthy associations with it.ReplyDelete
This is a very insightful article. Understanding our relationships with food is so important. Awesome tips!ReplyDelete
Great post. Yes, our relationship with food is can sometimes have negative connotations. I believe in 2 things with food. Eat everything in moderation and try to make it from scratch. I try my best to avoid foods out of a frozen box or form a can or jar.ReplyDelete
Great tips. relationship with food will make cooking exciting and fun.ReplyDelete
This makes so much sense. Lately, I tend to focus on what food will do to me and I associate negative feelings with food I usually like. I have to work on reframing the way I talk/think about it.ReplyDelete
This is such a great insight on how to have a healthy relationship with food. I love food and it's a battle not to be able to eat what you used to love because of autoimmune disorder, and I have learned to not let the negative feelings eat me up and instead embrace the new diet I am in.ReplyDelete
i really needed to read this today ! i so need to improve as well kind regards pati robinsReplyDelete
Great tips - I am very much into Mindful Eating, which also has helped me with my relationship with food - not just the eating part, but the preparing part as well - I highly recommend the book The Mindful Kitchen to explore for anyone is interested - blessings!ReplyDelete
Well when you are allergic to everything, it is easy lolReplyDelete
Our life is connected with food in many different ways.Other than taste and weight gain,cooking is also like meditating if you concentrate on it.Interesting facts here.ReplyDelete
My relationship with food has changed so drastically in the past couple months. I began to see my body as a vehicle for my life on Earth and I started to just respect it more!ReplyDelete
I'm an emotional eater! I definitely have a GOOD relationship with food. Haha! Everything should be in moderation though!ReplyDelete
Those are some wonderful tips to keep in mind. Having a good relationship with your food is great.ReplyDelete