For most people, food means many things besides simple nutrition. How we relate help or hinder our efforts to achieve good health and reasonable body weight. People can learn a great deal about their relationship to food by keeping a daily food diary or by simple thinking about their motives every time they eat. A pattern may emerge of eating to relieve boredom, guilt or tension or to please others. For some, food has always been a reward for good behavior. Others eat when they need to feel comforted.
Breaking the Pattern
Once the pattern is recognized, it can be broken. One way is to change some food related activities. This may involve setting a different time for eating and sticking to new time; eating only at designed areas, such as the dinner table; or learning to read food labels and buy foods for their nutritional value rather than for their comfort value. Another way to change the relationship is to look at the underlying cause of inappropriate food cravings.
There’s More to Life Than Food
If food is on your mind much of the time, this is a clue that your relationship to food may go beyond the need for nourishment. Once you’ve identified the source of your food craving, make a list of things you can do instead of eating. Tense? Learn relaxation techniques. Bored? Expand your horizons by taking a class, getting some good books at the library or doing some volunteer work. Each time food cravings arise, remind yourself that food us to maintain your body’s health, not to solve other problems in your life. If you find it difficult to change your relationship to food on your own, look in the phone book for a reputable weight-control program or consider getting involved in a support group. such as Overeaters Anonymous. You can work with them to analyze and overcome food-related problems one by one.