Written in collaboration with NLP Practitioner Anya MacFarlane. Anya and I have developed a popular course called Menu&Mind. More details at the end of the Blog.
Can you relate to any of these……..
‘I have tried many different diets in my quest for a healthy lifestyle and slim body’
‘I have reached my target weight 4 times before but always put it back on and more’
‘My child is a picky eater; she won’t eat any healthy food’
‘I have a great diet all week and then the wheels fall off at the weekend’
‘I eat really health foods when I’m happy but reach for unhealthy food for comfort’
These are some of the comments we hear a lot, BUT does this define a relationship with food?
Anya’s curious NLP mind asks….….
‘Can we have a relationship with food?’
‘Is food not an object we consume to sustain us?’
‘Should we be looking for an emotional response from an inanimate object?’
‘Can food be used as an emotional crutch or bargaining tool?’
Let’s look at the definition of RELATIONSHIP ………… ‘the way in which two people or things are connected or the state of being connected.’
So, it’s all about being connected! Are you connected to your food? When we are connected to other people then emotions become involved – love, care, nurture, desire, appreciation etc or disrespectful, toxic, harmful, destructive, unloving. The emotions can be positive or negative, they flow two ways between two or more people capable of having these emotions. They define the strength of a relationship.
However, if we are talking about a person and a piece of food, the emotions, whether positive or negative, can only flow from the person to the food and never be reciprocated. The relationship being created is purely by the person who is in control of eating it or not.
The relationship could be described as fictional, an excuse. Rather than deal with the actual emotional issue which can be difficult we ‘connect’ with food as this allows us to take a different direction rather than connect with people or in an activity which will help us achieve the actual desired outcome…. The fulfilment of the actual emotion.
Here is a little case study of Anya’s habits….
In this particular case my desired outcome was to spend time with my family however as my family are very active and head off to pursue their sports, rowing and golf, I am left to be the taxi driver and dog carer so after my taxiing I head home to an empty house.
My first act is to tidy and organise and walk the dog once this has been done a cup of tea and a seat, now this is where the emotions start to kick in and the victim mentality rears its head. As I work from home during the week, I am stuck at home again on my own. I hear you screaming at the screen right now… listen to all that toxic language!
Off to the cupboard for my first emotional crutch, I’ll make myself feel better and have a little snack (to uphold my belief in a healthy body I reach for my first healthy snack), a date with a small handful of nuts. Done, am I feeling uplifted, less lonely, less of a victim. Absolutely not, mmmmm what else can I have (still healthy)? Banana with almond butter. Done, still no better however for some reason I am now on the path that maybe somewhere in my past experiences I have been appeased.
Could this be my saviour? Will I feel loved and cared for, nurtured even? Those lovely feelings of desire, taste buds tingling, rush of feel good endorphins. Yes, yes they are all happening, hold on I have just consumed dates, nuts, bananas, some tortilla’s, humous, a packet of ready salted crisps, a piece of chocolate from the sweet box.
Here we go, now the negative rush, the destructive, disrespectful, ruinous, unwholesome, crippling act of eating all that food. What have I done to my healthy body? How could I have done this to myself? That’s what happens when I am left on my own. More victim!
Can you see that all the emotions that are flying around between me and the now long list of consumables, inanimate objects is all coming from me.
I want to spend time with my family eating on my own is not going to help me achieve this. I need to change this cycle, change this old habit to a new healthier one.
Changing our Mind & Menu
The only relationship we need to change is the one in our mind. We can shift projecting our relationship needs onto food to building a healthy mind. How can we reach our desired outcomes and take full responsibility for our actions and emotions as we make this change in our mind-set.
Understanding the reason food is being used as an emotional crutch is one issue we cover on our Menu & Mind course, helping you ask the right questions to identify current habits and emotions and then build new healthier sustainable habits around food. You will also learn whole food eating principles and recipes to help inspire and empower you to make sustainable changes to your eating habits for long term nourishment and health.
The next course is starting Tuesday 17th September 10am – 12noon. £150pp for the 5 weeks.