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What is your relationship with food?

Updated: Mar 26

We all have a different relationship with food. Some see food as a nourishment for the body and they are focused on healthy eating. Some see food as a tool to fill the emotional holes from the past or from the present. For some, they don't think of food at all as an important fuel and eat not really thinking much what they put in the body. And then there are the ones who are obsessed with food or people who eat as a result of stress. We all have our own history and our own story to share when it comes to food and our relationship with it.

I listened to a lecture at my school (IIN) from Geneen Roth on a relationship with food. She has so many words of wisdom to share, that I had to collect the notable ones from the talk and share them below.

How to improve eating habits?

The way we eat is the way we live

When was the last time you took careful notice about what you eat and how you eat? What do you put on your plate? How much do you put on your plate? How do you eat? Where do you eat? With whom do you eat? Is there something that you notice that you like what you do? What don't you like? What could you change?

Food on your plate is what you believe about nourishment, shame, deprivation, joy- it reflects also whether your can trust yourself or not.

Everything you believe about life and being alive, about what you deserve, about what enough is, about what you want is possible for you- it shows up on your plate- every time you eat.

Use food as a portal to the rest of your life!

Try to understand what you are eating and why you are eating specific foods. If you crave certain foods, why might you have those cravings? Are you depriving your body from specific essential nutrients (healthy fats, protein, healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals) and could your body give you clues as cravings for specific nutrients that you are lacking in your body. Or could those cravings or eating specific foods be linked to a lack of something else in your life- like close loving relationships, fulfilling career, less stressful life, better organised finances, more peaceful home environment, better acceptance of yourself as you are etc.

For every diet there is an equal and opposite binge

I have not been on any restricted diet nor I believe in diets. Having learnt about the nutrition for several years now, I know there are so many things that affect your body, its size (sleep, ability to manage stress, moderate exercise, genes, what you eat, your health condition, your hormonal balance etc). It's not only food and how much you exercise. Our bodies are smart, they always want us to feel at our best and try all the time to get us back to balance. So whenever you are going on restrictive diets, your body sees this as a threat, that famine is ahead- so it holds onto its reserves (fat) so it can take care of you, so you wouldn't die. When you are restricting yourself of essential nutrient for a period of time, there is bound to come moments when you feel anxious, stressed, angry, hungry etc. Your body is lacking nutrients that it needs. It's then the wisdom to notice it and to give the body what it needs to function well.

Think of food as an expression of something deeper like Geneen Roth says. Could the food that you eat, be telling you something? Could it be that it's trying to get through to you and get you to listen?

Know what is enough

Our idea of enough keeps getting ahead of us. Rather than focusing on what we have, we focus on what we don't have. We tend to overeat and fill something with food that cannot be filled with food or filled with anything else that is physical. The more we are able to focus on what is here and now, the happier we are. Enough is a relationship to what we already have.

Appreciate what you have: take in the good

Don't eat for the hunger to come, but eat for the hunger that's here. When you eat, look at your plate, taste and savour the food in your mouth. Celebrate the here and how, what you have- even the little things. As Geneen Roth suggests, think of things that are not wrong right now in your life.

Think what feeds your life. It's mostly not food, but relationships, spirituality. How can we live the life today so that we can look back at the end of our lives- that we truly lived, we truly cherished the moments, we showed up for life here and today.

Stop self-critisism, complaining or blaming others

I think this is what we are all guilty of- complaining. Depending on what's going on in our lives or around us, we often find things to complain about. How about trying not to complain, especially about the things we can't influence or change ourselves? Could we try and catch ourselves from those complaining thoughts, before we say them?

Self-critisism is another area where many of us are struggling with. Its roots could run to our early childhood and we carry those criticising feelings into adulthood. But criticising does not help, it does not get us anywhere. We should rather be curious and think where those feelings are originating from, whether they are actually real or planted within us by somebody else. Try and disengage from that inner criticising voice.

Let yourself stop waiting for your life to begin

When we get to the end of our lives, nobody is going to care about how much we weigh, what's our body size, how accomplished we are. You are missing your life if you are not showing up by being here and now.

As Francis Chan said 'Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter'.

We eat the way we live; how we eat is also how we spend time, money, love and energetic resources.

Eating guidelines from Geneen Roth

  • Eat when you are hungry.

  • Eat what your body wants.

  • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, and intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.

  • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.

  • Eat until you are satisfied.

  • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.

  • Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.

Thank you Geneen Roth for these words of wisdom! I hope they help readers to get another perspective on food and the relationship we have with it.

If you are struggling with your relationship with food, struggle with emotional eating, don't hesitate to contact me for health and nutrition coaching at Learn more about my health and nutrition coaching services under Services.


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