Posted on November 19, 2014 · Posted in Healthful Eating Tips, Your Relationship with Food

Three Reasons We Eat What We Eat:

Each of us has a very intimate, personal relationship with food.  Here are the three reasons why we eat what we eat:  

  1. Physical Hunger:  When we feel hungry, and if we are instinctively listening to what our body is requiring, we will choose food that is healthy, eat what we need, and stop when satisfied.  This is the process that people who do not have a weight problem follow.  It is automatic and inherent.
  2. Inner Food Voice:  Those of us with weight problems, who have dieted throughout our lives, go through a series of inner food negotiations before deciding what to eat.  Our Inner Food Voice sounds something like this:
  • “Today I’m going to eat healthy choosing salad for lunch and a vegetable and protein for dinner.
  • Oh no, someone is having a birthday in the office.  That chocolate cake looks so good.  I’ll just have a small piece.
  • You said you were going to eat healthy.  Why do you want that piece of cake?
  • Because I haven’t had cake for over a week and I WANT IT.
  • What about the five pounds you want to lose.
  • I’ll start a diet on Monday.
  • Okay, have the cake.
  • Oh, it tasted so good but now I feel guilty.  I’ll be “good” tonight and skip dinner.  That will make up for it.”

We think about what we feel like eating and analyze if it is okay to eat the food we choose.  If it is high in calories, we may justify having it because we have been “good” for the past couple of days and it is alright to eat.  If we have over-eaten in the past several days, we justify internally why we have to eat something healthier than what we desire.  Often we continue this discussion, making a decision that could go either way.  Eventually, if we choose healthy food, we eat with pleasure and congratulate ourselves for being “good.”  If we choose a food we term “bad” or “forbidden,” we feel incredibly guilty, often angry, shameful and in disbelief.  Once we forgive ourselves, we promise to never eat like that again and start a diet.  The inner food voice can be exhausting, repetitive and ultimately ineffective.

3.Emotional Eating:  Because emotions come in several varieties, it can be difficult to recognize which ones cause us to eat.   We might be happy, sad, lonely, depressed, angry, anxious, stressed, and even though tired is not necessarily an emotion, it can cause overeating.  Emotional eating is based on not wanting to deal with an issue in our life, so instead we substitute food to deny the problem, or numb our feelings about it.  The difference between our inner food voice (that disconnects us from the sensation of hunger) and emotional eating is:

  • when we are heading to the kitchen for food, after negotiating with our inner food voice, we have already decided what food we are about to eat.
  • If we are eating for emotional reasons, we are in the kitchen to eat anything.  Our inner food voice is quiet.  We just want to eat.  We eat alone and we eat the first thing we see.
  • We only stop when our bodies begin to feel sick.  We don’t taste the food and are not even aware of how much food we have eaten.

Stop the Torment: Conquer Your Relationship with Food addresses how to develop a healthy relationship with food.  So whether you are on a diet, about to start one or have arrived at your ideal weight, you will learn how to enjoy eating and never have to diet again. Get the book on Amazon here.