When did your relationship with food begin? Many of us would probably say sometime in our teenage years when we started thinking about what size we wore, how we compared to our friends and teammates and likely when we started to take more personal responsibility for what we ate on a more regular basis. Sound about right?
Well, I’m going to burst your bubble now! This complex relationship started in the womb and continued to strengthen on your day of birth and onward; getting more and more complex as the years rolled by.
There’s more and more evidence to suggest that what we are fed by our mother in the womb will have an effect on our moods, our patterns, our thought processes and of course, our cravings and desires for certain foods.
So when we start to talk about un-doing particular habits or changing our eating patterns, it’s not as simple as ‘will power’ or ‘mind over matter’, the fact is, it goes much, much deeper than that and thus we need to pay it a higher level of respect.
Food is Fuel.
Bottom line. It is what we need as living organisms to survive, and thrive. Sadly, we are brought into this world with some degree of pre-programmed favourite foods, propensities towards certain types of foods and a hard wired palette. As if that couldn’t be an uphill battle all on it’s own; depending on your mother’s food choices of course, but now that we are on the other side of the womb, we are now being soothed to sleep with breastfeeding, celebrated for pooping on the potty with candy and chocolate, disciplined for poor behaviour by being stripped of our dinner and my all time favourite; not allowed to go about the fun stuff in our life until we “clean off that plate’. Any of this sounding familiar from your childhood? It’s all a little too close to home for this girl!
You were being celebrated with food, disciplined with food, medicated with food all from the time you made your grand appearance on your day of birth!
Now think back to that very first time you decided that you needed to ‘drop a few pounds’, how easy was it what to shift your habits? How many times did you hear or tell yourself that your will power just needed to be stronger than your cravings?
As you progressed forward in your life and life continued to throw curve ball after curve ball, you either became an emotional eater and perpetual dieter or you went the other way and went into starvation mode when life’s curve balls got to be too much, still with me? Sounding oddly familiar? (For the record, I went the way of emotional eating and then beating myself up for it, not much dieting)
Now you’re likely wondering where it all went ‘wrong’ and how on earth do you improve or break this cycle?
Well, the fact that you’re here, reading this says a lot. It says that you’ve had a mindset shift and that you’re ready to dive in and set things on a different path. It says that you recognize that creating health in your life is about a whole lot more than will power.
Can we Celebrate THAT right now?!?!
So now what? Now that you’ve arrived at this place of self awareness, where do you go with it?
Back to the original title, Reevaluating Your Relationship With Food.
Now that you’re aware of some of the pre-programming that was going on inside your body and mind, it’s actually much more simple to move forward with your food choices and make the shifts needed to create a greater level of health in your life.
You can now have the conversation with yourself over food choices and fully commit to a program or meal plan and have a deeper understanding of why you’ve made the choices you did in the past and now feel much better prepared to make different choices in your future. Understanding that food is fuel is a HUGE step in this process. Learning more and more about the roles that each macro nutrient plays in your health and the responses that they can create physiologically will bring you to a new and deeper relationship with food; one that is based on science rather than emotion.
Am I saying that becoming an internet food scientist is the way to greater health and reestablishing a healthy relationship with food? No.
Will a greater level of education, knowledge and experience help you on this journey? Yes, most definitely it will.
So what else?? Support. Surround yourself with people that are of like mind when it comes to your desire to live a healthier, more active, ‘food is fuel’ driven way of life. For the same reason bodybuilders associate with other bodybuilders and marathon runners hang out with other marathon runners; on the days you don’t feel like being a training rockstar, you have your community and friends to lean on and they will pull you back into your greatness and set you on your way to achieving your goals.
Establishing your new relationship with food is no different. You want to be surrounded by people who also have a healthy relationship with food, fitness and activity; people that love themselves no matter if they ‘accidentally’ downed a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s! There’s no guilt when you know that food is fuel!
Only choices, some choices will get you closer to your goals and some will not but in between them all there is balance and health.