We live in bodies which, through thousands of years of evolution, have been programmed to seek out sugar, starch and fat, but we reside in a society where we must limit our consumption of what’s available if we want to live long, healthy lives. Look for advice on what to eat to try and navigate these challenges and you’re just as likely to find a diet advocating the consumption of certain foods as one prohibiting them. If a bad relationship is one where you’re left insecure, confused and vulnerable, our association with food ticks all those boxes.
With our image as a fit, healthy, meat-and-three-veg kind of country fast becoming lost, reassessing our relationship with food is important. Statistics paint an image of a nation battling poor diets, burgeoning waistlines and increasing rates of chronic disease.
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t accurately assess someone’s relationship with food simply by looking at them. Many who engage in disordered eating maintain a healthy weight, and there are a handful of medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, that cause weight gain independent of diet. As such, the best way to gain insight into someone’s approach to food is by assessing attitudes and behaviours.
To work out if your relationship with food needs an overhaul, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you preoccupied with food?
- Do you eat in secret?
- Do you find it difficult to enjoy certain foods in moderation?
- Do you reach for food in times of emotional distress?
- Do you make bargains with yourself to justify eating certain foods?
- Does food make you feel bad about yourself?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach to eating.