Food: The crazy Ex you can't get off your mind
We all have an ex in our life that we just cant seem to get out of our heads. You go a few days without thinking about them every second of every day, or maybe even a few weeks. But, without fail you will see a road sign, or hear a song and the cycle will start all over again. It hasn’t been a healthy relationship for a really long time, but you seem to think you can make them change or that there are quick fixes. Everyone around you sees that there needs to be a change, but you just can’t help yourself, there is just something about them that you just cant quit. You feel guilty every time you give in to temptation, because you know it isn’t healthy for you or your life. You tell yourself that it could always be worse, and that at least you do a lot of things right. But, at the end of the day, you go to sleep sad and regretting the decisions you are making for your life.
Now, after I made you all feel horrible about your worst inner thoughts and what haunts us in our dreams, I want to tell you that I am not talking about your past significant other at all! I am talking about your relationship with food! I sure did get you good! I bet some of you find this topic even more depressing than the one discussed in the previous paragraph. Well, fret no more! I am here to talk it out with you! I came up with the idea for this blog while I was trying to turn my brain off and go to sleep. Go figure, I write a lot of my blogs at like midnight when I am supposed to be asleep and I get an idea and have to get it on paper. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, food is like the little devil on your shoulder 85% of the time, and the angel on your other shoulder like 10% of the time (the other 5% is when you try to forget food exists, which never lasts very long).
So lets talk about the big issue here. Food is something we invest a massive amount of thought into. Rightly so, it can make us sick (this might just be in my case), it brings joy, it allows people to come together, It brings us health and the ability to live a healthy or not so healthy life. I would even go so far as to say that your food decision help express who you are as a person and what is going on in your life. With that being said, I see many people allow food to be a very dark and controlling factor in their life. Causing a lot of self hate and struggle within ourselves. I did some research and I want to share some of the info I found.
1. Compared with the French, Belgians and Japanese, Americans get less pleasure from food and are most obsessed with whether it is “healthy” or not. The French have fewer hang-ups about food and are half as likely to be obese as Americans.
2. We tend to think that the amount of food we eat is a result of how hungry we are. Our stomachs provide only crude messages about how much we have eaten. We must rely on our eyes to keep our stomachs in check. TIP: buy smaller portion sizes/ portion out your food ahead of time. You can also buy smaller utensils.
3. For some reason everyone thinks Fat is bad. Not all fats are bad, and in fact some of them are good and necessary parts of our diets. It has lead us to choose low fat foods so we can eat more, instead of foods that are higher in fat and are smaller portions. The bad thing is that many times we underestimate the amount of calories in low-fat food by around 35%.
4. Carrots taste weird at breakfast. Which simply means that the context in which we eat our food affects us more than we might think. We put a lot of rules on our food, such as what time a day it should be eaten, where we are when we eat it and who is around us.
5. We are enormously influenced by the eating behaviors of those around us. There is evidence that shows that peoples chance of being obese is increased by 57% if they have obese friends. Studies clearly show that people eat more when those around them eat more and less when those around them eat less. Women especially fall prey to this. We are also directly influenced by social norms. For example a “manly man” will eat a big steak dinner and a “feminine” women will eat a small salad. Tip: make your healthy habits a group effort and hold each other accountable to your goals!
6. Our intentions are commonly beaten out by our habits. Changing your eating habits is hard because so many of our decisions are made automatically. Tip: You have to aware of your habits, especially when you are first trying to change them! Pack your meals with you!
7. Mindless eating. Eating is so routine for us that we easily zone out watching TV or talking with friends. We tend to eat more and we get less enjoyment out of our food. This is where mindful eating comes into play. Take smaller bites and pay more attention to what you are eating. You will enjoy you food more and eat less with this technique.
8. People who try to suppress their thoughts about food are more likely to experience cravings and are much more likely to binge. That is why I never suggest people go on crash diets and strict food avoidance. It leads to an unhealthy thought process and a backwards spiral into binging.
9. People seem to think that if a food is healthy for you, you can eat as much as you want. Well I am here to tell you. Fruit can make you fat just like chips can. You still have to be aware of serving sizes and the amount of food you are consuming.
10. Everyone seems to think that food is related to your emotions. Research shows that when people are in bad moods they are likely to eat sugary and high fat snacks. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when people are in a good mood they simply just eat more of everything. Tip: eat when you are hungry, food is meant to be fuel and to help your body work correctly. Find a person to cheer you up, not a bowl of ice cream (well at least not always).
Here are the facts. Food and your emotions are highly intertwined. If you choose bad food and crash diets, you will feel unhealthy and never get out of the dieting spiral. If you choose healthy food with more fruits and veggies, your mood will actually improve. Research shows that the mirconutrients in these foods actually combat depression. If you really want to lose weight and walk towards a healthier lifestyle, small changes are the way to do it. Not crash diets. I want you to ask yourself this question when you are trying to lose weight. Am I eating in a way that is sustainable for the rest of my life? You can lose weight without going on a diet, by making small changes a little at a time. For instance, drink water with your meals.
Now, I hope you all had a little bit of self-reflection on a very important relationship in your life. I want you to know that you deserve the best and that you shouldn’t be beating yourself up over something that many people have problems with. The first step to recover is admitting you have a problem!