Should You End Your Love Affair With Food?
It’s so commonplace in our culture to glamorize our unhealthy relationships with food.
We joke about it, but ultimately, there’s a deeper truth there that most of us don’t want to face.
We love food because of what we tell ourselves food does for us.
Here’s the thing: Food doesn’t love you.
It doesn’t care about you at all. It’s a completely one-sided relationship we have with the foods we love.
Food itself is totally neutral. It’s just sitting there doing nothing.
It’s our thoughts about the food that cause us to have trouble with our weight.
To review, circumstances (which are neutral) can trigger our thoughts. Thoughts cause our feelings. Feelings drive our actions, inaction, or reactions. Our actions (or inaction or reactions) create our results.
Here’s an example:
Circumstance: Still-warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies from a favorite patient are sitting on your desk
Thought: I love it when she brings in those cookies! I know I was trying to watch what I eat but these cookies are irresistible.
Feeling: Desire. Urge to eat.
Action: Eat the cookies. And not just one or two. At least half a dozen over the course of the day. Followed by negative thoughts about myself for going off my eating plan.
Result: Erosion of my relationship with myself because I went against what I had decided to do ahead of time. I continue to think of certain cookies as irresistible. Possibly gain weight.
The good news is that those thoughts are optional. Don’t believe me?
It may seem like there’s no other way to think about those cookies.
If that were the case, then every person in the whole world would think the same thing about the cookies.
But someone who gets migraines from eating chocolate would have different thoughts about the cookies. Maybe something like, “Those cookies smell really good but I don’t want a horrible headache, so there’s no chance of me eating them.”
In this case, the person has weighed her options and recognizes that the 5 minutes of sugar-rush bliss she might get from eating the cookies is not worth the consequence of dealing with a terrible migraine.
Some of us don’t really want to believe that certain foods don’t serve us, because of this love affair we have with them.
Just like breaking off a long-term relationship can cause a lot of pain, we think that we will have to experience a lot more discomfort and negative emotion if we don’t have the foods we love around us to rescue and comfort us.
In doing this, we give all of our power over to these foods.
So it basically boils down to this: Do you want to keep your love affair with food, knowing that the downside is the indefinite continuation of your weight struggle, or do you want to not only think about those foods differently but also lose the desire to use them to make your life more tolerable?
Either one is fine, as long as you are fully recognizing and taking responsibility for the fact that you are creating your reality.
I completely understand not wanting to do the work to lose the desire for foods that don’t serve you. But if you choose this, accept that you will likely struggle with food and your weight, and likely your relationship with yourself, for the rest of your life.
If that doesn’t sound acceptable to you, and you are a practicing MD or DO, consider joining my Doctors Only Weight Loss group coaching program. It only runs a couple times each year, so be sure to get your name on the information list by clicking here. You’ll be among the first to know when the next session opens to registration,
Not a doctor but still want to take your weight loss journey to the next level? Please use my Contact page to connect, and I’ll help you get started!
Photo credit: Marguerite Neuhaus, bag by Mulberry & Grand.