Your Relationship with Food

By Michelle May, M.D.

Your-Relationship-with-Food-webYour relationship with food is an essential lifelong relationship that deserves to be nurtured, and when necessary, healed. Today is a good day to consider the state of your relationship with food!

The Health of Your Relationship with Food

Like any other relationship, there are essential components that create a strong foundation for your relationship with food.

A healthy relationship is based on love.
  • Do you love the food you eat and eat it in a way that demonstrates that love? Or, do you have a love-hate relationship with food that causes you to deprive yourself of the foods you love, then overeat them in a way that leaves you feeling confused, ashamed, angry, or sad?
  • Do you mistakenly believe that you need to learn how to control food and control yourself, instead of recognizing that a healthy relationship with food requires you to love food more, not less.
A healthy relationship enhances your life.
  • Does your relationship with food support your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health? Or, does food crowd out other important relationships in your life or distract you from caring for yourself in a balanced way?
  • Does food help you live the big, vibrant life you crave? Or, does food dominate and consume your thoughts and behaviors? (Note: This can be either end of the spectrum: the Overeating or the Restrictive Eating Cycle.)
A healthy relationship is based on mutual respect.
  • Do you respect your food and the power it has to enhance your body, mind, heart, and spirit?
  • Does the type and amount of food you choose to eat respect and support the way you want to feel and function in your life? If not, you are the only one who can make a change!
A healthy relationship requires consistent communication.
  • Do you listen to your the way your body communicates its need for food by paying attention signals of hunger and satiety? Or do you ignore your body’s natural signals because you are too busy, too disconnected, or because you’ve decided that an external authority knows more about you than you do?
  • Do you pay attention to the feedback your body gives you when you eat food? How do you feel? What is your energy level? How is your health? What is the a connection between how you feel and what you eat – and what you eat and how you feel?
A healthy relationship deserves an investment of time and attention.
A healthy relationship stays fresh, fun, playful, and exciting.
  • Do you bring curiosity, pleasure, and enjoyment to your meals, or has eating become boring, predictable, or simply taken for granted?
  • Is eating a source of joy in your day, or is it fraught with ambivalence, conflict, resentment, or guilt?
A healthy relationship naturally evolves and grows.
  • As you body, your lifestyle, and your needs change over time, do you check in to see what changes you need to make with your food?
  • If food has been a source of pain in your life, are you committed to making the changes necessary to restore a healthy relationship?

If you have neglected your relationship with food, or if it has become an abusive relationship, let today be the day you recommit yourself to the process of building a healthy, respectful, life-enhancing, and joyful relationship with the food that nourishes and nurtures you!

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