How is your relationship with food?

"Losing weight is not your life's work, and counting calories is not the call of your soul. You surely are destined for something much greater."

There is a lot of relationship advice out there. “How to tell whether he/she is the one for you.” “How to spot the warning signs of a dysfunctional relationship”. “When to let your friendship go”… and yet one relationship that we very rarely examine, is the relationship that we have with food. The stuff that sustains us and enables us to live our lives - also seems to often come with feelings of guilt, or shame. The stuff that gives us pleasure and that we often socialise over – can also become something that we worry about or obsess over. There is a lot of advice out there on how to spot the warning signs that a romantic relationship or friendship may not be right for you – but how can you tell when your relationship with food has taken a bad turn?

Here are 10 signs that your relationship with food could perhaps do with some work:

1. You are scared of going out to eat or socialising around food

Many of the clients that I work with express fear around going out to eat. They worry that if they fall off their “diet plan” and go out to eat – that they will completely “fall off the wagon”. Many of my clients will have regularly avoided social gatherings altogether just so that they can “stay on plan”. Your relationship with food should not compromise your emotional and mental well-being – it should allow you to go out and live your life, meet your friends, enjoy your holidays – because after all, that is what life is for!

2. You feel guilty when you eat certain foods

Many of my clients feel a lot of guilt when they eat certain “bad” foods. Not only does this guilt mean that they don’t enjoy the food very much, it also often means that they then spend several hours beating themselves up over having made a “bad” food choice. This attitude to food can also often lead them to think “what is the point, I might as well just eat lots of unhealthy food today then” – causing them to abandon any goal of eating nourishing meals. A healthy relationship with food should not cause you to feel guilty for eating anything – all foods are okay to eat sometimes – it is the attitude that you have when eating that food that is key.

3. You spend a lot of your time thinking about food

Almost all of the people that I have worked with have told me that a lot of their energy and mental space is consumed with thoughts around food. They dream of foods they would like to eat, worry about these foods making them put on weight, wonder how many calories they have consumed – and obsess over food in different ways throughout the day. Yet as you can imagine, having such regular thoughts about food can have a significant effect on other areas of that individual’s life. It can cause them to be less focused at work and enjoy their personal life less too. A healthy relationship with food is one in which you feel comfortable and free around food and therefore are not thinking about it regularly – this in turn can have a very positive knock-on effect in other areas of your life too.

4. You very carefully count the calories/points in everything you eat and are worried when you exceed a certa