I have noticed an undeniable trend in terms of relationships with food. Lately, as I am explaining diet advice to a few of my clients, I would say, “of course you can have a cheat meal during the week” and then immediately after the words “cheat meal” come out of my mouth, as if assuming what my client was thinking, I would say “of course you can still have ‘fun’.” I quickly caught myself, and realized in saying this, just how often we relate food to fun and fun to food.
I truly believe that food is not your best friend, nor should it be your enemy but that it is something everyone needs to survive physiologically. I believe our connection to food should be a physical connection and not a mental one. We should not turn to food when we are sad to cheer us up, and one might argue that we shouldn’t use food as a celebratory tool either. Unfortunately in society we have been exposed to and taught to connect food as an emotional trigger within our lives. For instance, whether we accomplish something, have a birthday or are enjoying a holiday we turn to food for celebration. Or, if we are having a bad day we turn to food for solace. I believe that the way we connect food to every positive or negative event in our life could be one of the catalysts for a negative relationship with food (weight gain, cravings, obsession Ect).
To me, changing our relationship with food means finding other aspects of life that make us feel happy and content. It means, relating success to rewards other than food. I don’t believe food is a good reward for success as it can have a negative outcome. Meaning, while we succeed at eating healthy for 6 days and we are feeling positive, healthy, happy and energetic we decide to reward ourselves by having a cheat day on the 7th day. There is a high chance that this cheat day or ‘reward’ is going to leave you feeling guilty, low energy and may lower your overall confidence. A better option would be to reward oneself with something that will bring further positivity, happiness and confidence.
I am a believer that true happiness exists when we make the choice to be content with our lives, and ourselves, without relying on some ‘thing’ (this ‘thing’ may be food or otherwise) or event to create happiness. Personally, I am most happy when I find a healthy balance in my life, and this includes a healthy balance with food. While I don’t think food should be responsible for happiness, and I don’t think it should be used as a reward, I do believe food plays a crucial part in our overall quality of life. It is important that food be included in a positive way. Nutritious, colorful, exciting food incorporated into everyday life will allow you to experience days filled with energy, happiness, positivity and confidence. In other words we should utilize the health benefits of food to enhance our quality of life, but not rely on food for our quality of life or our happiness.
And on that note….eat clean, be happy and enjoy life!!
Lynnea Marie xo