Every wellness practitioner in the world seems to be talking about the “relationship with food”. Even I ask potential and current clients, “What’s your relationship with food?” Typically, if someone’s talking to me, the invariable answer is “Bad”.
But what the heck are we talking about, anyway? What is this “relationship with food”? I understand relationships with people, and how my relationship with my Dad is different than that with my neighbor is different than that with the guy who piles up the apples at Safeway. But my relationship with food? Whaaat?
I love words. I love that there are so many of them, and that they all have subtleties that make them each unique. I’m doing that word-a-day thing with Merriam Webster and it thrills me to no end that I know so many words. I’m actually quite obnoxious about it. My most precious moments in life are when someone tells me I have a good vocabulary.
So I looked up “relationship”. The M-W says it’s “a state of affairs existing between those having relations”, which, forgive me, doesn’t help a whole lot. But then I got thinking.
Relationship with food. The state of being related to food.
And I riffed from there:
At it’s most basic, food is fuel. It’s an essential part of life.
“Relationship with Food”, for me, speaks to how we use food to relate to ourselves and the world around us. Food is fuel, sure, but it’s so much more than that. It’s how we celebrate, it’s fun, it’s community, it’s a coping tool.
For many people food becomes the only thing they know to relate to all those things and their need for food gets out of balance and out of control.
An unhealthy relationship with food is when you eat more than you want, more often than you want, and feel horrible about it. A healthy relationship with food is one where you eat intuitively, intentionally, and it makes you feel good about yourself.
How does this relate to what I do?
I want you to feel good about yourself and the way you eat.
Most people seek out a nutritionist/health coach when they want to lose weight. But it’s their unhealthy relationship with food that needs to get lost!
If you’re reading this, and if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired about how you use food to relate to life, it’s likely that weight loss isn’t going to get you any closer to feeling happy, joyous and free. Adjusting your relationship with food is about healing yourself and learning skills that will allow you to live a contented life – in a way that losing weight never will.
Having a good relationship with food means you know when and what kind of food you need for fuel, and that you have a variety of ways to comfort and soothe yourself that aren’t food. Once you’ve got those nailed down, food for fun can settle into it’s right time, place, and portion.
These distinctions are nuanced. And you’ve likely never had support or guidance in figuring it out. You get lots of input on how to lose weight, but the weight won’t leave and/or keeps coming back. If you have a sense that having a better relationship with food could help you be happier and healthier, I’d love to talk with you. I’d be happy to chat for a free, metamorphic* half hour via Zoom.