Saturday, November 28, 2009

How do you use food?

I use food. I do, that's how I ended up in Weight Watchers 5 years ago. I think that it is normal to use food and I think that everyone does it, it's not always healthy, but it is normal.

Maybe you do it once a day, maybe once a week or maybe you do it all day long for a whole week and then are back to a quasi healthy relationship with food...for a while. Everyone has triggers and everyone has ways to cope with things that they go through--even good things.

Food as a reward: We get excited! We celebrate! We reward ourself!! With?? You got it! Ice Cream, a cookie, drinks out--a night on the town!! These are all ways that we use food as rewards. Food is a powerful reward: it is immediate and satiating and it is a basic need, you get to cross all the T's with one stroke. Think about the mice running through the maze. After what? Yep. Food.

People use food to gain approval. It's what you see over and over on Everybody Loves Raymond, the mother/mother-in-law/grandmother cooks for her family and cooks out of love, but also out of need for approval! We have contests, bake-offs, eating contests and on and on! Maybe there are people who push food on you and you feel their disapproval if you don't take it. I grew up with a family who constantly put spoonful after spoonful of mashed potatoes on my plate in the midst of my "NO's!"

We use food for comfort! Foremost on my mine is hot cocoa and soup! (I have been craving cocoa for days!!) Food is comforting and certain foods more than others. What foods feel comforting to you? It could be a stormy night, the aftermath of a fight with your BFF or a break up remedy that lasts a month. But we all turn to food in some way or another for comfort. It's not entirely bad, but it's true.

When things are out of control in your life, how does your diet reflect it? Me? When I am stressed, I eat. But I know others that pull the reigns back on the food and control what they can in life--their diet! I wish that I had a little more self control when it came to what I eat and why, but there are times when my emotions get the best of me and I feel overpowered. If I am sad, stressed, unhappy, confused or hurt, during those times I turn to food.

Emotional eating is a HUGE way that people use food. And I think the root of doing this, regardless of the emotion (good, bad, ugly) is fear. We are afraid that we won't be able to cope, we are afraid of failing, of succeeding, or afraid to really face the emotion head on and FEEL it. We eat it instead. Food and feelings can be as intertwined as fitness and feelings. Just like we feel better and have more energy when we move our bodies, we can feel better and help our outlook by eating to remedy our mood.

Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about emotional eating!

How do you most often use food in your life, either for good or bad?

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