How often have you had a stressful day got home and reached for the chocolate or biscuits? Or missed your lunch so you can go out for a meal later? Or just ‘forgotten’ to eat during a busy day?
All of these are common examples of how food plays a major part in our emotional lives. You may not have considered the link before but what is it you are actually saying when you reach for those pick me up chocolates? If you are tired, sleep, if you are anxious take some deep mindful breaths and if, underneath it all you are sad, angry or even joyful, BE those things! Eat if you are hungry.
Our individual relationship with food is unique, developed by experiences as far back as we can remember. Parents who tell us to clear our plates, who praise or punish by giving or withholding food and by constant exposure to the cultural images of our time.
The first step towards discovering more about your own relationship to food is to bring some conscious thought to it. This sounds simple but we often spend more time justifying some rather dubious thoughts about our eating habits. How about the one about not eating now in order to eat later? What sort of message are we giving ourselves when we do this? Not only is this kind of thinking detrimental to our emotional wellbeing it also deprives our bodies of essential energy required to function adequately for the rest of the day. It is also shown to lead to compensatory over eating later.
So, during the next week spend a little bit of time staying conscious around what you are really saying about what you need as you eat. We are all hungry for lots of things in life; let food be the answer for you when you are stomach hungry and for those other hungers? Meet them, talk about them, stretch yourself and see if you can make something different happen this time.
Having a regular confidential place to reflect has been shown to help us to manage our feelings, consider our life experiences, think about what we do and why, and develop insight. Addressing any of these can improve self-esteem and confidence.
I am very happy to talk to you about your particular requirements so please feel free to contact me on 01635 226880 to make an appointment, or email me from the website. I specialise in working with:
- Body Image
- Coping with stress, depression and anxiety
- Relationships and parenting
- Identity Issues and personal growth
- Living through life transitions; redundancy, illness, grief and loss, pre and post natal support.
- Clinical supervision for counsellors, psychotherapists and complementary therapists.