Our Unhealthy Relationships to Food
My client came to me because she realised that she was an enabler to her partner and had been for two years. She was sinking into a depression. As the therapy began to shine a light on issues she realised that she never put herself first; always his needs. He took money from her as well as her compassion, time, energy and love. There was nothing left for herself at all.
Each night she found herself eating and eating because she did not want to feel the way that she did anymore. Eating served as a distraction and a way to stuff down her emotions. She was overweight and sick and tired of feeling the way that she did. Could I help her? This was more than putting her onto a diet plan. We needed to go deep.
If you have ever been on a diet, then you will know how difficult it can feel. What drives us to go on a diet or restrict food? Oftentimes it’s a dissatisfaction with how we look. Where does this dissatisfaction come from? Are we comparing ourselves to others? Is it a feeling of not being quite good enough? Maybe we are chasing the dream that if only we could be thinner our lives would be complete, and everything would be ok. Yet, emotionally, and mentally it often goes a lot deeper than that; and this is why we need a more holistic approach to our relationship with food.
When we have a difficult relationship with food, we need to look at our belief system, our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviours to change the relationship into a healthier one. It starts with deep exploration.
My client began to recognise how little she thought of herself. Her depression and anxiety was coming from a place of what she needed to give for herself that was being overshadowed by what she was giving to her partner. She no longer knew what she felt or thought. She had become lost in the relationship. What she did know was that she wanted out. She couldn’t do it anymore yet her compassionate and caring part of her was worried about how her partner would cope.
“What about you?” I asked, “what about your needs?”
What are we doing when we comfort eat? Quite literally we are ‘numbing out’ or stuffing down any emotions that we feel in order to avoid feeling…