Your relationship with food
Eating: we all have to do it in order to survive.
In my family a big portion was something prized and relished from start to finish and was cooked with love by Mum, and on a Sunday by my Dad.
It probably harks back to times gone by but we genuinely did sit round the table, share stories about work, schools, friends, family and joke with each other, as well as row, vent and share frustrations; the kitchen table really was the hub of the home and a place for everyone to have a voice regardless of the content. This was the late 80s- early 90s but it feels eons ago!
Food was a joy, food was fun, creative, nourishing and comforting. It formed bonds, taught us science, imagination and family traditions and I for one carry that close with me each day. I love making food and eating it.
Not everyone does- it can simply be functional and a necessity and some people derive no pleasure from it at all. For some people it’s a chore, for others it’s the stuff of nightmares and becomes a challenge and curse on a day-to-day basis very much stemming from an inner fight between wanting it, needing it and not wanting it at all.
Whilst there are numerous eating disorders and conditions such as body dysmorphia that can add to issues with food, this post isn’t focusing on these today, but please read the links if you have questions, suffer from these or just want some additional information.
Today is about giving yourself space to think about your thoughts and relationship with food; Why is this important? I hear some of you ask, well it’s a way of getting to know yourself better.
So many things in life go unquestioned on a daily basis and in questioning just one aspect today you can become more curious about your life, identity and your interactions with other people. I chose food today because it’s one of those days where it’s throwing it down outside, it’s cold, it’s miserable and I realised earlier I went for quick, simple and satisfying options this morning and for lunch without any flair or creativity. Last week I was churning out homemade chutney, pizzas and hearty chicken dishes. So why the change? What’s prompted a simpler direction?
Today is busy, I’m working from home, it feels cluttered because of my to-do list and I have some deadlines to meet, it’s pressured though enjoyable but I do feel a bit harassed. Last week by comparison I had more time, I’d conquered most of my to-do list, the house was already clean and I had time to read and relax too. So notably I had a freer sense of self, as well as a free schedule. My food choices really reflected that; homemade pizza to me reminds me of helping mum make them for tea when I was younger, choosing toppings and being excited by the end product- a sense of achievement. It was also very creative and spontaneous. Beans on toast today was functional, quick, reflected the pressure of the day and was a bit bland by usual standards- I didn’t throw in some Cajun spice or curry powder- I just wanted quick, easy and sustainable to get me through.
Much can be gleaned from this, from a basic: ‘it’s a busy day and I didn’t have time to,’ right through to these reflections:
- I’m more creative when I’m not stressed,
- I like using my imagination and that’s harder when I’m exposed to pressure,
- Working through a to-do list helps clear my mind,
- My mood is reflected in my choices right down to my decisions about food,
- My choice of food can affect my mood,
- Food holds memories for me, and
- Food is a big part of my day.
I hope these examples have got you thinking and opened up your curiosity about your food patterns, thoughts and behaviours. What does it say about you?
If you’re still struggling to get on board with this then try these few additional questions and see where you end up:
- Has this happened to you today?
- Do you get excited or bored by food depending on the day, month, time or season?
- When are you more adventurous with food and when do you stick to what you know?
- Do you try new food or are you restricted by your tastes?
- Does food affect your mood too?
If this piqued your curiosity then no need to just stop at with food exploration, start to consider if your relationship with other things is where you’d like it to be: work, friends, family etc. If your reflections indicate some issues and problems that you want to work through then click Contact and we can talk that through and see if counselling can support you.