How Healthy is Your Relationship with Food
Every person has a relationship with how they think food fits into their life. Rarely do we ever just think of food as satisfying hunger. Eating behaviors can be very tied into our social and psychological outlooks. Personality, past experiences and relationships all affect how we choose which foods to eat and how much of those foods. These are some of the main factors, that when left untreated, may develop into a bad food relationship.
- Having suffered trauma or abuse in the past
- Being pressured to lose weight as a child
- Having a parent who strongly encouraged weight loss
- Experiencing post-traumatic stress after a tragedy
- Bipolar, addictive or depression-related symptoms
Now, this does not mean that if you’ve experienced one of these factors that you’re doomed to have a negative food relationship. Rather, this is a list to keep on your radar to identify how your eating behaviors may be affected and take appropriate steps before a situation becomes worse.
Eating Emotionally and When Is Food Becoming an Addiction?
Emotional eating and food addiction are no longer taboo subjects. Many behaviorists think that the rise of addictive processed and fast food has created an ideal environment for emotional eating to grow.
Defining food addiction and emotional eating can be tricky since there is no agreed upon criteria. On one hand, food should indeed make us feel good and it’s okay to rely on foods for this. The problem is when a person uses food as a solution to sources of stress in life (which is an unhealthy way to deal with problems). Psychologists may call this a "coping mechanism" which people use to deal with life related pressures. Another key sign that eating has become emotional or addictive is when hunger is disregarded. While hunger develops gradually over time, emotional spurred eating usually appears rapidly. Similar to other addictions, the behavior tends to take the center focus of life and relationships or other obligations began to suffer because of it.
Lastly, emotional eating and food addiction doesn’t just occur in those suffering stress. Some people will often look to food to “keep the party going” or especially turn to food in times of euphoria and bliss. These types of behaviors can be just as destructive as those developing from negative emotions. Similarly, never think that food addiction or emotional eating are just conditions that affect those who are overweight. Disordered eating is a condition that affects people of all sizes, ages and for a variety of different reasons.
Strategies To Regain Balance
When any of these types of unhealthy behaviors are noticed, there’s several strategies to regain balance.
- Practice keeping a journal of food and emotions
- Make eating an event again by taking extra time to set a table, put out table cloths and eat very slowly and consciously
- Reach out for professional help
Counseling for food addictions is very common and most mental health professionals can be very helpful. There are also anonymous overeaters groups that meet all over the world for free. Information can be found at . www.oa.org
Keep this knowledge in mind even if you don’t think there are any issues to be worried about. By understanding your eating behaviors better, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about food choices, prevent an unhealthy relationship before it starts and develop better eating habits. Remember to take a look at foods for weight loss and good health and why good health has everything to do with blook sugar for more information on developing positive eating habits.
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