Eat: It isn’t easy to separate food from pleasure and feelings. If relationships with food are positive, it is easier to eat healthily. On the other hand, if they are conflictive, they can push the diet towards an imbalance.
The personal link with food is conditioned by emotions from the first moments of life. By suckling, the baby receives food, pleasure, and affection and feels connected to the universe. Affections make eating not a mechanical and boring act but a blissful experience that fills us in many ways.
But if emotional conflicts are experienced, they can be dangerously transferred to food. A significant deficiency can be compensated with excessive consumption of food or at the origin of a pathological rejection of certain foods. Emotions push us to eat or stop eating.
1. Food and Hidden Feelings
As the psychologist, “Internal struggles are often silenced by filling our mouths with food so as not to pronounce words whose emotional charge can scare us, words that refer to things that we do not allow ourselves to feel. The mouth that closes and opens to food is the same mouth that wants to speak. The hole through which food enters is the same through which words come out “.
The act of eating should be linked to positive emotions. Knowing yourself better is the challenge. Food preferences and habits are decided by a part of oneself that hides. That is why it is so testing to change practices. A state of emotional overflow or difficulty obtaining what you want can cause anxiety that is only calmed by eating certain foods.
2. Digest Emotions to Eat
Emotional eating disorders do not exclusively affect young people or are not always explained by childhood trauma and parents’ relationships. Difficulties may have their direct cause in the present.
Identifying emotional hunger eating is the first step to combat it.
For example, a person with a delicate stomach, for whom almost everything feels terrible, rather than a digestive disorder, may have difficulties digesting certain situations.
Another can digest everything that she scrupulously cooks at home poorly, and on the other hand, to her surprise, she has no difficulties when she eats in the company of someone she loves. Here the problem could be loneliness.
3. The Ballast of the Image
The most common cause of problems with food is its relation to body weight. Going on a diet is expected in the hope that losing a few pounds will increase personal satisfaction. But if the objective is achieved, it is often found that the underlying discomfort does not disappear.
Then you get fat again and then lose weight, which creates a vicious cycle that is difficult to become aware of. If the person stopped to think, perhaps they would discover the many emotions involved –especially the fear of not being loved– and especially the difficulty to accept themselves with the “defects” and “weaknesses” that every human being has.
4. Feeling of Guilt
Shame or guilt often appears about food. Interestingly, they arise almost exclusively from having committed what is considered excess and practically never falling short. Potential nutrient deficiencies are rarely emotional. Food should not be as old as a prize or punishment.
This happens because of the tendency to impose exaggerated limits and restrictions that often hide emotional conflicts. Fats, dairy products, meat, bread, and sugar focus on negative emotions usually spread between people.
Indeed these foods in inadequate quantities can cause problems, but the phobia does not seem justified. These foods have been considered essential, and perhaps rejecting them is manifesting a particular social malaise.
Any emotion can produce attraction or rejection of foods that are often unconsciously given magical powers. The pain or nostalgia caused by the loss or separation of a loved one can lead to eating what they liked the most. It’s a way to get back close to her.
Only the observation of what is the prevailing feeling when eating and what are the circumstances allows elucidating the real cause of “strange” eating behaviour.
Chewing each bite well will help us to be present at mealtime.
Accepting the frustration of not being perfect in every way or not getting everything you want is necessary to take advantage of everyone’s positive characteristics. This simple acceptance can open the doors to a more pleasant and realistic way of relating to food.
5. Joy and Curiosity to Eat
The act of eating should always be linked to positive emotions. One way to help them is to establish a natural connection with the body’s needs. You have to relax, eliminate anxiety and attend to the messages that the body sends, eat when it asks for it, and the foods that are attractive but make sure that you are not under the effect of any compulsion.
When the obsession with looks or miraculous or eccentric diets is abandoned, and priority is given to emotional balance, the organism is most likely to self-regulate successfully. If eating under the influence of anxiety cannot be avoided, seek psychological help, and choose a professional capable of listening and looking for the root causes of emotional conflict.
In the moments dedicated to eating, we take a break from daily activity. We reconnect with primary and comforting needs and sensations, such as satiating hunger or letting ourselves be invaded by flavours and aromas, some new, others familiar, and always pleasant.
6. Sensations to Enjoy
Focusing on the sensations and allowing memories or images to surface will allow you to thoroughly, deeply enjoy eating.
- Toasted bread can take us to the sweetest moments of childhood.
- A pineapple brings us closer to a tropical island, even if we have never set foot. Enjoying all this in the company, delighting in your own and others’ pleasure, is part of the small objects that give meaning to life.
7. Feelings on the Table to Eat
- Emotions are essential ingredients of meals. They must be “prepared” as one more nutritious food.
- No rewards or penalties. With children (and with oneself), neither rewards nor punishments are recommended. Approval and love should not depend on what you eat.
- Generosity. When preparing food, you have to add the ingredient of affection and think about the pleasure that the dish will produce in the diners.
- Space. You have to give the meal the respect it deserves, preparing everything to make it enjoyable ( without the distraction of television or radio, for example).