Relationship with Food

Start with Awareness

Whether we believe it or not, we all have a relationship with food. There are things that we feel about food and even expectations that we place on it. I believe this relationship is influenced by past generations as well as heredity. The relationship is personal and unique to each person.

In order to have the healthiest life possible, we need to understand this fact and bring awareness to it and our daily choices around food.

My relationship with food has long been one of eating for comfort. I associate food with soothing and comforting my mind and heart. NOT because it actually does that, but what it does is give me an outlet. It gives me something to focus on when my heart or mind is in chaos. It gives me an instant satisfaction and pleasure.

In my family, sweets have always been the solution to discomfort. My great-grandmother always had fresh baked cookies. I remember going to visit and being uncomfortable in unfamiliar and strange surroundings, she knew this. So, she offered me cookies. Those cookies helped me relax and be comfortable.

Then there was my grandmother on the other side of the family. My dad was the youngest and all his older siblings already had kids much older than me. Family gatherings were often chaotic and overwhelming. They were especially so for an introverted, quiet little girl like me. I remember my grandmother always made two types of pie when we visited. My favorite, cherry; and my sister’s favorite, chocolate. I think it was her way of making sure we didn’t feel like we were overlooked because we were the youngest. But it also built my association of food as comfort. Yes, I had to leave my comfortable, quiet home to visit with people who made me uncomfortable, but I also got the deliciousness of cherry pie on the other end.

As a society, food is often associated with comfort. If someone has an illness or death in the family, you take food. If there is a church gathering, you bring food. If you are getting together to watch a sporting event, you bring food. All of these things associate food with comfort, gathering together and fun.

Another component of my relationship with food is habit. I tend to eat the same foods over and over and don’t mind if I eat the same thing days in a row! Sometimes, years even! I am currently on a kick where I eat an apple with peanut butter every morning for breakfast, and I look forward to it! I am well over 12 months into this habit and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

There are many other habits in my food choices and I definitely have some that aren’t necessarily healthy. Habit is comfort. I like knowing what I’m going to buy at the grocery and what I’m going to eat throughout the week. The familiarity makes me feel safe and comfortable.

We likely all have some healthy and unhealthy food habits. Becoming aware of those habits is the first step to making better choices.

Another thing that I find very helpful in breaking free from food habits and using food as comfort, is cleansing. Whenever I complete a food cleanse, I have a renewed awareness about the importance of what I put in my body. This awareness helps me make better choices and break free from habits even after the cleanse is over. This is one of the main reasons I recommend food cleansing to my clients. When you are on a food cleanse, you have to release all the habit and comfort and whatever other relationship factors you have with food. Five days on a food cleanse is a great first step to begin healing and improving your relationship with food.

How is your relationship with food? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below with any questions or observations you have.

Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life.

To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance.

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