Can your relationships affect your food choices?
We've all been there before...
- You had eaten such delicious and nourishing food all day and were really pleased at how you'd avoiding snacking on those things that don't make you feel good... BUT THEN... your partner brings in a bottle of wine, lots of snacks and suggests you order-in from his favourite take away that evening... and before you know it, you've decided that "there is no point in even trying to be healthy".
- Perhaps you had been doing so well in rebuilding your relationship with food - you were finally eating regularly, and fuelling and nourishing your body... BUT THEN... your friend comments on how much you are eating, asking "are you really going to eat all of that" - and you then spiral into a whirlwind of self-doubt, wondering if you are eating too much and worrying about your weight and body.
- Perhaps you had been working so hard to rebuild your relationship with sugar and had found a good place of balance with it... BUT THEN... your colleague keeps bringing biscuits and cakes into work every day and leaving them on your desk and your friend invites you to 3 afternoon teas in the space of 2 weeks.
The people we spend a lot of time around can have a big impact on our food choices and our relationship with food. We often eat with our eyes and so if someone around us is eating something, we are much more likely to crave it or to eat it as well. The comments that people around us make about our food choices can also hugely impact us and our relationship with food. If you think about those people you have in your life - WHO DO YOU THINK POSITIVELY IMPACTS ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD AND WHO NEGATIVELY IMPACTS ON IT?
Food can of course, be an amazing, positive way to bond with others. So, in many cases, food can actually enhance a relationship or friendship and be something which is shared and enjoyed together. However, food can also become a point of contention or disagreement when two people have very different relationships with it.
Ways in which others can (without even realising it) often negatively impact on our relationship with food, can include:
- By spending a lot of time talking about diets, weight loss or their body.
- By commenting on our food choices, body or weight.
- By regularly suggesting ways of eating, restaurants or meals that are not aligned with what we want for ourselves, our relationship with food and our health.
- By being very pushy that we try things they have bought/ made or insistent that we participate in eating things that they want to eat.
- By not eating or not wanting to eat in our company, perhaps making us feel awkward for eating at meal times.
So what can you do, if you think that someone in your life is negatively affecting your relationship with food?
- Firstly, it can help to try and get them to understand clearly what your needs are. It can be helpful to sit them down and tell them what you are aiming for when it comes to your food choices/ relationship with food and also tell them what they can do to support you in achieving these goals. You can also communicate to them that it is unhelpful for them to comment on your food choices/ weight/ body etc.
- Secondly, you can keep reminding yourself not to take anything that anyone else says or does around food/weight/diets personally. Someone's comment on your food choices is probably more indicative of their worries and thoughts about food than it is a reflection on you.
- Thirdly, it can help to keep reminding yourself that everyone is different and that different things work for different people when it comes to food/ lifestyle. Just because a certain way of eating works for your partner/ friend etc. - it doesn't mean that it has to work for you. This can keep you focused on doing what is best and right for you rather than being swayed by what they are doing or saying.
- Fourthly, you can keep asking yourself "what is best and right FOR ME here". Often we do things and make choices just so that we don't cause other people any discomfort (even though we are really putting ourselves out in order to do so). But often, the other people around us would actually want us to the make the choices that are best for us and to communicate our needs to them. By holding the question "what is best and right FOR ME here" in your head, you can keep coming back to and focusing in on your needs rather than just trying to make choices to keep other people comfortable.
If you would like some help to rebuild your relationship with food, please get in touch with us at email@example.com to book in a free consultation.
“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”– Maya Angelou