“I kept calling to tell you about my feelings, you never picked up!!” said the body to the person vomiting after overeating at a party. Did you come across such instances where your body spoke to you about the food you were having? Did you know that there exists a relationship between you and the food? Let us find out the answers to some of these questions.
Food as entertainment: We go out with our friends and family for lunch, brunch, or dinner to catch up with them. We always overestimate our ability to say no and underestimate the amount of food we have. While out we lose control over what we have and sometimes are forced to eat without choice. We instead can meet them over a cup of tea or coffee, or even better meet them on a walk, an indoor game, or whatever else we enjoy.
Food as escape or emotion: If you eat while you are angry, happy, bored, stressed, or upset to change the way you feel, you are associating food with emotion. This can hurt you by actually driving you towards overwhelming emotions and derail your health in the long term. We need to turn to better ways like listening to music, walking, or meditating to deal with our emotions.
Food as seduction: We live in an obesogenic environment where we come across food everywhere be it by the smell or just visuals on our screens. Research suggests that looking at food releases ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. You reach out for food even when you should not be hungry as you are forced to feel hungry. Hope you do not feel hungry or crave a dessert looking at the image below, a test you will surely fail!
Food as an enemy: We make food our enemy by following awful diets, starving ourselves with just having certain foods in limited quantities. The cleansers or the fasts after a binge-eating holiday makes us hate the food. Food is the fuel needed to power us and we need to be mindful of the fuel we take in every day. We need to respect the body and listen to it to make thoughtful decisions.
After going through the points above we can say, Yes! There exists a relationship between us and the food we consume. It is critical for us to start paying attention to our relationship with food that must nurture and nourish us. Let us make food our friend rather than making it our entertainment, emotion, escape, enemy, or whatever spoils the relationship. In this relationship, you are the boss and the body your subordinate that is happy to accept you and work toward a better you.
Moderation is the key to making a good relationship with food. A book named IKIGAI — The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life suggests “Hara Hachi Bu”. This means Eat until you’re 80% full in Japanese, also called the 80 percent rule. Ancient wisdom advises against eating until we are full. Every category of food is good until we consume it within limits.