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Food: What’s it to ya?

January 9th, 2012 | no comments

Rarely do we eat for hunger and hunger alone. Would you agree? If we did, the word “obesity” would cease to exist and we could just toss our bathroom scale out the window (TIP: You should do this anyway!)

Food is many things besides just fuel for your body. What is it to you? Is it your:

  • Lover?
  • Sleep aid?
  • Drug?
  • Soul mate?
  • Religion?
  • Time occupier?
  • Best friend?
  • Therapist?
  • Medicine?
  • Companion?
  • Cure for boredom?
  • Procrastination tool?
  • Entertainment?
  • Stress reliever?

Hurts just thinking about it, doesn’t it? It’s OK—don’t feel ashamed—just own up to it! I’m comfortable enough with my relationship with food to know that it serves as my medicine, procrastination tool and cure for boredom. If I’m dreading a task—say a new writing project—you can bet that I’ll reach for that bag of tortilla chips in the pantry. Am I physically hungry? Heck no! I just really don’t want to start the project!

On the flip side, food is my medicine, my “disease preventer”. With the exception of curing a craving for chocolate, cheese or the occasional peanut butter cup sundae, I make my food choices based on how well they protect my body. Would the French fries taste unbelievable with my meal? Duh! Of course they would, but how is that protecting my heart and arteries? I always order the broccoli.

I can hear you now—“But just this once?” or “Sometimes you have to say ‘what the heck’ ” or “Life’s too short to eat broccoli”. If you hear yourself saying any one of these, food is not your medicine. Which again prompts the question:

What is food to you?

You cannot begin to improve your relationship with food until you know what it is. So take out a piece of paper and write down all of the reasons you eat other than hunger. Once you know the answer, you can arm yourself with the appropriate coping mechanism.  The more you practice this coping mechanism it becomes habit.

For example, instead of reaching for the tortilla chips, now I get up (and out of the kitchen), make my way towards my office, open up my laptop and write one sentence. A single sentence is enough to break the seal of procrastination!

Take out that piece of paper again. Next to each of the reasons you listed, write down a simple coping mechanism you can try next time instead of eating. Don’t just practice the coping mechanism once, do it every single time you are faced with your challenge. Before you know it, reaching for food will feel strange. That’s how you will know you’ve built a new habit!

Old habits die hard, so give yourself a break if you slip up. Awareness is key, perfection is unheard of.


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