Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.

-Dale Turner-

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Psychology: the person-food relationship

So it's been a while since I have actually blogged about nutrition.  I know my earlier posts are riddled with crazy facts, quotes and opinions so heres a short one to reignite the subject...

Eating.  Its such a basic instinct right?  Such a physical and mental necessity?  Why don't we know how to eat then?  The truth is, eating can be a struggle but in a number of different ways.  Some struggle to eat healthily, others struggle to eat regularly and some even have problems with eating at all.  It saddens me - the psychology behind our relationship with food, a relationship that has mainly been consciously assessed in the past 200 years or so and have obviously peaked in present times.  We are so unbelievably conscious of our "food relationship" but sometimes it is unknown to us how we should react to edible things.

How are your eating habits?  Do you eat breakfast?  Do you binge?  Do you eat a whole cake in a single day or do you only eat salad with no dressing?  Habits stem from childhood and it is vital that parents take control over their kids eating habits from an early age.  There is nothing more disheartening to me than seeing a one year old child with only a small number of teeth being handed a cheeseburger or being given soft drink.  Do you have any idea what that does to someone at such a vulnerable age?  You are shaping their whole psychological relationship with food products, you are creating a 'norm', you are showing them what is acceptable, contributing to what their taste buds crave.  In a perfect world, every parent would know how to feed their child but like everything, childhood nutrition will never be entirely sound.  So this is the primary influence of one's food relationship - it shapes our food cravings, our eating  patterns for life until we consciously decide to make changes to them.  And so for a period we are stuck with this certain childhood food relationship which will change as we become more exposed to the world.

People.  How can one person define what is beautiful?  How can one person be any indication of what should and shouldn't be?  It's when one person groups with another person and another that the problems again begin.  It is easy to ignore an individual but hard to ignore a group, hard to ignore "social normalcy" in certain situations and this can have a considerable impact on the person-food relationship.  I remember in high school the girls used to talk about ways to lose weight.  I've heard it all - drink chilli sauce. Don't eat breakfast.  Eat only sugar cubes all day.  Eat only breakfast.  Be a vegetarian.  ABSURDITIES!  No wonder we are so afraid of what is on our plates; so afraid of what we are putting in our mouths incase it is bad for our organs or "makes us fat".  Remember that most people struggle with food or have at some point.  When someone tells you how to eat, know that they are also trying to understand their own relationship with food by telling you how yours should be.  Its like a constant obsession.  Let it go.  Please?

Also remember - before you judge someone think about why they eat the way they do and help them to eat the way they want!  Its all about positivity, regularity, confidence.  Create an environment in which your relationship and others' relationships with food can be endorsed in a good light.

Ways to improve your relationship with food:

PLEASE eat breakfast.  Honestly if I could change one thing about everyone's eating patterns it would be this!  Why does breakfast always get neglected?  There is a reason why the saying goes "breakfast is the most important meal of the day".

Know that food is a friend.  Don't be afraid of food.  Food enriches our body and minds.  It is the most wonderfully rewarding thing needed for our internal self so embrace foods of all kinds.  People dread food so much that they forget to be excited by what it has to offer.  Think about all the molecules breaking down in your small intestine.  Think about all the strength, energy and nutrients that are obtained from such substances.  Feed your body wonderful things so you can feel wonderful and love food!

A bad day won't tip the scales at the best of times.  I have a friend who is likely to read this.  You my dear are the prime example of my next point.  So you messaged me to wallow in self regret because you ate a large chips and an apple pie from maccas late at night.  This won't make you put on 500 kilos although you may feel that way after you regain control over your taste buds!  Don't stress about binges or think so hard about what you can't eat.  That will only make you want it more.  A fixation will start and you will be doomed.  So eat your few squares of chocolate, have a glass or 3 of wine at a wedding - the weight won't pile on overnight!  And after all, weight is just a number anyway.

Eating is a mentality.  Its all about the positives.  Think about why you are eating something - do you want it or not?  Are you hungry?  If you wan't chocolate and you eat a piece of fruit and then still want chocolate 2 hours later EAT THE CHOCOLATE.  Get the craving out so its easy to get over.  Don't go all out - once that sweet sensation hits your lips hold onto it.... FIXATE and then let it go.

Substitute.  Find better alternatives - everything counts!  When I wan't chocolate, I have a 99% fat free, 4g of sugar HOT CHOCOLATE to kick out the craving and not send me in a down hill spiral.  But make sure there are no nasties in the substitutes.  Do your homework.  Substitution makes life easier and its very rewarding.  Just take the time to compare products and read barcodes.  Make sure substitutions are available when you are having a bad day with food.  Roast some nuts and leave them in the cupboard for a snack.  Get rid of all the crap from the fridge.  Freeze healthy meals when you make too much.  Its the little things that help with the bigger picture over time.


Anonymous said...

I actually called you but whatever. It was gross.

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