Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy Relationship with Food

There's an interesting conversation going on over at Obesity Help today. A gal met with a bariatric therapist to discuss food and was advised that we need to find a way to think of food as sustenance only -- and to separate our emotions from food completely. She asked for our opinion. And she got some great reponses. 

 I love it when all my most favorite friends just happen to get involved in a discussion -- so to see Tara, Nikki and Shari all in on the fun just makes me happy. True to form, I didn't want to lose what I wrote in response to the question. So I'm copying it here for ya'll to read. 


God created us with taste buds. And to me, that means we are designed to enjoy the taste of food -- the full spectrum of food. Savoring the flavors of food and experiencing all the different tastes and textures that God created for us to enjoy. So to me, claiming that we should only eat for sustenance is like saying sex is only for making babies. Instead of trying to learn how to "hate" food, or think of it as mere fuel, I think it's more important to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. 

A relationship that nourishes our bodies and provides the important vitamins and minerals we need for survival, but also allows us to enjoy the food we eat without using food as an emotional crutch, shield or weapon. 

Unfortunately for many of us we have developed an UNhealthy relationship with food throughout our lives and use it for something other than what it was intended. Food was never suppose to hide emotion or make us feel better when we're stressed or angry or sad. And teaching our minds to have a different view of food, of respecting it and enjoying it for what it is -- that's where the big learning curve comes into play after WLS. 

As part of the process of developing this healthy relationship with food, we're then faced with the question of how we handle the emotions we used to squash with food. Instead of trying to bury our "sadness with chocolate cake" (or whatever), we need to learn how to live with our feelings, to sit with our emotions and allow ourselves to actually feel them. 

It's OK to be sad (or angry or happy or stressed) and it's OK to allow yourself to feel those feelings. We don't need to hide those feelings or channel them into some other new hobby or distraction. I also believe (and boy is this getting long winded!!) --- that we need to learn about moderation. 

Like I said in another post today: "I can't live the rest of my life without a slice of lemon merginue pie on Thanksgiving" --- so I need to learn how to control myself enough to have a half a slice of pie instead of 3 slices. Or 1 cinnamon roll instead of 6. Or 1 plate of food on Thanksgiving instead of going back 3 or 4 times. 

Moderation needs to be factored in to the process of that healthy relationship with food too. 

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