Imagine if eating was as simple as refueling your car. A simple process whereby we only refilled when the petrol light came on or we knew we were about to do a long drive. A very simple needs-driven process. How easy would your daily nutrition be?? Pretty straightforward, right?
Instead, for many of us, eating is anything but straightforward. What starts out as a biological necessity quickly gets entangled with different emotions, ideas, memories and rituals. Food takes on all kinds of meanings — as solace, punishment, appeasement, celebration, obligation, after all it is ritualistic by nature! – and depending on the day and our mood, we may end up overeating, under eating or eating unwisely.Given the madness of 2020, emotions have ran high for most humans. For a large part of the last 7+months, food has been one of the only exciting points to our day! With that said, we also must note that using food as a crutch or mask for emotional volatility is a huge problem
Here’s 3 top-tips to help you reconnect with your food, disconnect with emotional eating and set new pathway for a better relationship with your food as a whole:
- 1. Reconnect with your hunger.
So many things drive us to eat — it’s midday and that means lunchtime, it’s late evening and that means snack time, we’re happy, we’re anxious, we’d rather not bring home leftovers, we’re too polite to say no, we’re bored, tired, frustrated … the list goes on.
Similarly, we suppress our appetite for a myriad of reasons — we’re too busy, we’re sad, we’re mad, nobody else is eating, it’s too early, it’s too late, we’re too excited.
Now try doing this: Eat only when you’re hungry; stop when you’re full. While this is an obvious statement, just stop for a moment and think over your past week: How many times did you eat when you weren’t hungry?
A great rule of thumb is – if we scale the levels of hunger 1-10 ( 1 being not hungry – 10 being famished) We should begin eating when we feel we’re at #4 and stop again when we feel we’re at #7. This simple approach allows you to metrically control your actions and brings you back to the present.
- 2. Feed your body what it is craving.
Understanding the difference between cravings and laziness is key to disconnecting from emotional driven eating. Our bodies are pretty damn smart, ‘they’ know what they need to survive, in fact they don’t want to just survive, they want to thrive! While good eating habits does require some effort, the reward for doing so are endless. The issue seen is that people simply lack the effort, on a basic level, they let their emotions drive their choices rather than rationale. They become lazy.
So why not take the coming days to listen and allow. The body will give you signs as to what it wants – don’t worry about the food,once it is wholesome and nutrient dense the body will do the rest! As the days pass you will begin to become in-tune with your bodies desires again, the emotional drive will be secondary to needs-driven food choices!
- 3. Try not to use food as a reward or a punishment.
Us humans are quite an odd species … we like to reward ourselves, while this can be hugely positive for ones self-growth; when the reward is food, it can very quickly become detrimental to our actual health! It’s not surprising that we do this. After all, as children, we quickly learn that parties come with cake, while funerals result in … no cake. But one of the great things about being an adult is, we can establish our own associations. We can use our knowledge to build our parameters. We can say No.
While we are not saying to not enjoy food and celebrations, we are saying to begin to disassociate our connection of food = reward for ‘good behavior / life markers / success. By all means, continue to mark birthdays with cake — or with fresh fruit and a wholesome home-cooked meal. Just remember you’re and adult now,You can set your own rules.
The choice is yours to make.