Where Do Your Unhelpful Eating Habits Come From?
Do you ever feel that you’re not in control of what you eat, that cravings are just too strong? Do you get frustrated with yourself each time your ‘will power’ seems to let you down again? Well, you’re not alone. And I’d like to reassure you. It’s not Will Power’s fault. Let him/her go because focusing your attention on a failing will power isn’t of benefit to you. Food cravings are the result of chemical imbalances within the body (hormones, nutrients absorption, toxic build up etc) as well as/or the way we have been brought up around food. Our attitude to food and eating habits are established within the first year or so of life as we observe our parents, what they eat, how they approach meal times and what they teach us about it. We learn from the grown-ups that are responsible for teaching and nourishing us. They do this to the best of their ability, as do we with our children. The point of this post is not to blame, but to recognise why we think and act the way we do and how we can choose to change this and not create the same habits in our children. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but considering these scenarios will help you to build awarenessaround your thought process to do with how you eat.
- Were you rewarded with food – for example after an exam
- Were you comforted with food – for example after a visit to the dentist
- Were you punished through food – ‘you won’t have any ice-cream if you don’t behave‘*
- Were you forced to eat at certain times/according to a routine even if you weren’t hungry – did you learn to feel your hunger or learn to fear where your next meal would come from if your routine/timing was out
- Were you told to finish your plate even though you weren’t hungry – and then punished through food* (was your plate of food ever sent to starving children in third world countries? Probably not).
- Were you pushed into compulsion/aversion by being forced to eat certain foods
- Were certain foods forbidden – to become an obsession/conpulsion when you were old enough to buy them for yourself
- Were you encouraged to eat more, to go for seconds, thirds and applauded for your healthy appetite – often by caring grandmothers
- Were healthy foods presented to you in a boring, unattractive way
- Were you greeted at family gatherings with comments about your weight/how you looked
- Did you feel judged for your eating habits – ‘should’ or ‘should not’ eat that according to your weight
- Were your eating habits compared to others around you – ‘look at your sister/cousin/little John, look how well he/she is eating’
As adults we have the choice to observe the way we think about food and the habits we choose to adopt. When you find yourself in a familiar pattern, stop and ask yourself what you really want. It this a ‘should’ or a ‘want’? Who is actually making this decision for you? Is it right for you, right now? Although it is an essential element contributing to our eating habits, the emotional side cannot work alone if there is a chemical imbalance. Could your years of struggling with body image and eating disorders be resolved with some specific guidance about how the foods you eat, and the way you are eating them affect your particular body? Contact me today for your Free 30 minute ‘Health Activation‘ session. Could just one conversation really be the start to a new relationship with food and healthy eating?