Apparently there are two types of people – those who “eat to live” and those who “live to eat”. Admittedly, in my dieting days I lived to eat. In fact every meal became like the last supper, because I was either cheating on my diet, or getting ready to start a new one on Monday. Either way, I misused food because I looked to it to provide me with love, passion, fun and excitement in my life, when, truth is, it could never fulfill me in that way. Food was a poor substitute for what I really craved. Click here to purchase from NHS Heroes
Moving to France and dating a Frenchman helped me see how I was misusing food. When my Frenchman Frederic told me quite bluntly that “you think food is the answer to everything”, it was a wake-up call. He was right and the truth hurt!
The True Purpose of Food
I had to ask myself why I felt compelled to eat, even when I wasn’t hungry. I guess it was a well-ingrained habit stemming from my childhood. Once I became aware of my habit though, I was able to set about changing my relationship with food.
Let’s remember that the sole evolutionary purpose of food is to nourish and keep us alive. The fact that food tastes delicious is so that we’ll continue to eat it and stay alive. In ancient times, the relationship between us and food was simple – eat and live – don’t eat and die.
These days, things are quite different. We are constantly being sold a false message about the meaning of food – reward, comfort, passion, euphoria, love and solace. We expect it to do something fabulous for the way we feel, to enhance our mood and even make us look like the models in the ads.
By believing this message, we often turn to food with all its artificial expectations and away from real human connection, which is what we’re really craving. Have you ever turned to a tub of ice-cream instead of crying on a friends shoulder? Ever had cheesecake on a Saturday night instead of a date? I know I did.
What Do You Really Crave?
The first step out of this false relationship with food is to realize that food is, well, just food. It is incapable of giving us anything beyond sustenance and occasional pleasure. The second step is to look for what we really crave elsewhere through hobbies, passions, relationships and spirituality. When you connect with yourself deeply and fully, you get better at identifying your true needs. In time you’ll get better at knowing what you really need when that need is not food.