Food for Thought – Birds on the Blog

Food for Thought

Our relationship with food has been evolving since the beginning of time. Every invention or find changed our dietary habits and needs. In the stone Age, food was a basic need to stay alive. The taste buds were not evolved yet. Then somebody discovered fire and the food started being cooked. Then the discovery of spices, now the taste buds started changing and adapting to this new taste. Soon the sensory organs started demanding food. Before we knew it, food was no longer a necessity to stay alive, it had become a way of life. Alas, for some it is still a necessity. But let us not go there for now. Our way of life gave birth to many inventions. From natural, we went to machine-made. Even taste is now chemically produced. Our relationship with food has clearly shifted.

Our behavior towards food is now not a function of need, it has become psychological. We have made a connection between our emotions and our food. This dependency today is at its peak. We have food associated with every stage of our lives. From birth until funerals. It’s so ironic, you celebrate your birthday, and everybody wishes you a longer life; then look at the menu and spread!! Not sure who is really wishing from the bottom of their heart! Of course, not all can be considered in that category. There are people across the spectrum, but I personally would put them into 3 categories:

  1. The Extremists – People who have a strong dislike towards food for many reasons
  2. The Ignorant – People who are completely disconnected from their emotions and food habits
  3. The Inner Critic – People whose mental and emotional well-being swings in between when it comes to food

To add to this great psychological roller coaster, we have added: “The Big Dipper “– Our Health & Wellness. The expectation of our health and well-being is just disproportionate to the expectations of our food. In both cases, there is no control over the mind. It’s like sitting on a wild horse not knowing which way it’s going to go.

Let us see if we can understand the mindset of these person types:

The Extremists – These people have a strong negative and judgemental approach toward food. There can be many reasons like upbringing, social or environmental. Sometimes it can go to extremes like Bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder. According to an article published in Guardian, 60% of teenage girls have eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food. They tend to blame their lapses on character “defects”. They also blame their willpower and walk on an eggshell. They are highly critical of themselves.

The Ignorant – Such people tend to graze through the day. They are disconnected from their eating habits and hence not emotionally connected. They just reach out for food because it’s accessible. They shy away from any health-related articles, topics, discussion, knowledge, or information. Eating healthy is not such a big priority as keep “eating” or “Grazing”. They truly believe that “Everything is good for health”.

The Inner critic – The majority of the people fall into this category. Their relationship with food keeps shifting based on their state of mind. If they are in good mood, then they don’t mind reaching out for that cake. The guilt sets in later. However, it settles down and the pattern gets repeated. If they are in a bad mood, they still reach out for a cake as they find comfort in food. They are emotionally dependent on food. Such people may also become “Weight loss pessimists” They keep losing and gaining weight because they are unable to develop a healthy relationship with food.

There is a dire need to have a balanced outlook towards food. We must disconnect that psychological bond with food. The only way to do that is to follow the golden rule of STIC.

Stop – Count till 5, there is every possibility that your brain will snap out of that craving. Increase the count if it does not work!

Take a breath – Breathing gets that composure back. It gives you that additional mindfulness to think and acknowledge your feelings at that point

Imagine the consequences – You are now able to truly understand the impact that your action will have

Choose the next best action – The next best action will take you in the right direction

A relationship with food is like any other relationship we have around us. Anything in extreme is unhealthy anyway and it just impacts the mindset. Our wellness depends on many factors like physical, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and social. It’s only when these factors are in sync, that there is a balance in our system. Let’s use this STIC to help us take one step at a time towards that balance.

About the Author Parnita Senjit

• Parnita Senjit has been a registered wellness coach for more than 19 years. Apart from this, her creative journey has taken her through being an Interior Designer, a portrait artist, an Author of series Lil' Leo and a Motivational Speaker.