Make food your friend not your foe
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Debbie Gillespie MSc PGCD MBACP (Accd) UKCP Reg Psychotherapist & Supervisor
3rd June, 2011
For the most part, food is seen as a challenge and a temptation which should be resisted, rather than enjoyed or viewed as being a healthy part of living. It’s a vicious cycle, in that the more we focus on food and worry about what we’re eating, the more likely it is that we binge eat, graze, or even starve.
We can both fear and love food. We seek it as a means of comfort, use it as a reward, and more often than not, as a means of beating our inner child. We can become addicted to weight loss, and spend time chasing the scales around the bathroom floor, in a bid to be a couple of pounds lighter!
We struggle to control the complicated emotions which are usually rooted in our childhoods. Often, the very mechanism which has helped us to suppress these emotions has made us numb to the feelings of hunger or fullness.
So how can we make food our friend?
- Be aware and mindful of what you’re eating and listen to your body. Try to get in touch with that feeling of being hungry or feeling full. If this isn’t happening, arrange an appointment with a Counsellor or Psychotherapist to explore any underlying issues which may be stopping these feelings from emerging.
- Make a ritual of sitting down to eat, rather than eating on the run.
- Focus on your plate, the colours and textures of the food. Chew your food slowly.
- Use your best cutlery and crockery.
- Drink a glass of water before your meal.
Sometimes we can use food as an emotional crutch, or if we’re bored…… ask yourself why this is happening, and what you can do instead. Go for a walk, to the gym, or take some other form of exercise.
It may also help to keep a journal on the food you eat and how you’re feeling, or which behaviours you're exhibiting, at the time of eating. You may experience a pattern in your eating habits in relation to how you’re feeling or behaving.
Remember to review your journal weekly, and take any observations or concerns to your Counsellor or Psychotherapist.
Give yourself permission that it’s OK to explore and make sense of your relationship with food.
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