Rebuilding Our Relationships with Food
Food is delicious.
Food is comforting.
Food is fuel.
Food is needed.
Food connects us to others.
It helps us stay connected with people, whether it’s family dinners, holiday celebrations or even a good night out with friends. Just as these relationships have an impact on our health, our relationship with food also plays a major role in our overall wellness.
How often do you stop and really think about your relationship with what you’re consuming?
Are you eating to live? Or do you live to eat?
It can be hard to face and may be ignored by some but I believe we need to eat to live for the most part, yet we can still live to eat on occasion. We need both to maintain a happy and healthy relationship with food. Being too close to either end of the spectrum can leave you in an unhappy (and unhealthy) spot in life.
Eating to live
Food is fuel for our bodies. Looking at food like that will enable you to think more about the benefits of what you’re eating and be more critical about your meals.
Ask yourself; What am I really gaining from this meal? Is this meal/snack high in sugar? Am I getting fiber from what I’m eating? If you’re eating meat, is it lean (high in protein + low in fat)? Did I eat enough for today? Did I eat too much today? Am I eating unprocessed food? Did I eat fruits and vegetables with my meals today? How much alcohol have I had today?
Through this thinking, you’ll be smarter in your food choices. It can be a lot to think about at first but you’ll adjust and feel better knowing you actually know what you’re consuming. You’ll be more mindful of what goes into your meals and both your health and life will benefit from that.
Live to eat
Food is fuel but it also tastes amazing. From steak dinners to pizza, fried chicken, chocolate cake, hamburgers, and even alcohol, there’s so much good food out there. We can easily get consumed and overwhelmed by the amount of great food. But like anything, too much of it can be a bad thing.
Obesity and other ailments associated with obesity are a giant health concern in the world. According the World Health Organization, obesity around the world has tripled since 1975. In the United States, more than 40% of adults are obese. Too many of us overindulge and pay for what we eat with our health. From the way we have constant reminders of what’s new at the fast food chains to the too common “It’s the weekend, who cares what I eat” mindset, we’re fighting an uphill battle at times.
Of course we need to enjoy what we eat but I think our health has a giant risk of suffering if we only eat food for taste. Imagine eating a diet only filled with alcohol, pizza, and ice cream all day. That would be the life but imagine the health concerns that come with that.
Rebuild your relationship with food.
Obviously it’s not an easy switch to change your mindset and it won’t come overnight. And I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself and eat cake on your birthday or have the occasional night of drinks with your friends. You’re not a robot and you need to enjoy life.
What I am really saying is to take a step back and look at your relationship with food and try to be more mindful. Build the willpower to tell yourself “I don’t really need two scoops of ice cream, I’m happy with one” or “I’ll bring the rest of my restaurant dish home to eat tomorrow instead of overeating right now”. There are a lot of aspects of life that are out of our control but we do have control of what we eat which ultimately affects our health.
It’s not a bad idea at all to live to eat once in a while. We all have our cravings and food weaknesses. I can easily eat a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie (because chocolate just needs more chocolate) but I know I can’t do that everyday. I’d rather choose to eat to live and I challenge you to do the same. Let’s eat to live more often so we all have a more healthy life to actually live.
Brandon Brelsford is one of the trainers at Olympia Fitness and Performance. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Community Health and Wellness with a concentration in Wellness and Movement Studies. After graduating, Brandon obtained his CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) from the NSCA. Brandon enjoys helping his clients realize what they’re truly capable of and enjoys seeing their growth in and out of the gym.