What is Addiction to Food and How Does it Affect our Health and Relationships
Without air we survive a minute, perhaps 2. Without water we last a few days and without food we will last weeks before we die. That is true of all of us, air, water; food in that order. Food is a foundation of life. But when does a normal physical response to replenish the body’s fuel supply, maintain health and prevent starvation tip over into a food addiction?
How can a foundation of life become both a cure and a curse, from maintaining our bodies to causing problems with self image and relationships?
Often our perceptions about what food can do to us and for us, can lead us to invest too much in its magical qualities. For example, people who have a problem with food often feel that their lives would be so much better if they could just lose weight
. They would get a girlfriend or their marriage would improve and they would get that promotion at work. They would look great and feel great
. Food is the cause of all this distress so logically denial of it must also be the answer right? Not so simple.
Accepting you may have a problem with food means re-evaluating your entire life, changing the language you use to describe how you eat and what you eat, and the relationships you have.
Firstly, resist using the negative language around food. It is not healthy to think about diets and denial; you are setting yourself up to fail. Better to think about food as a positive experience, giving your body what it needs to survive by avoiding unhealthy choices. Decide to eat only what is ‘healthy and nutritious,’ educate yourself as to what that is, read about food and learn to love the types food that will make you feel and look better.
, look at your environment and your relationships
. Just as food alone can’t make you happy, it can’t make you unhappy, other factors may be feeding your problem. By concentrating only on food and diets the problem becomes too narrow. Set goals outside of food, so that if you do have a cream cake it is not the end of the world; be bolstered by a success in another area of your life.
Thirdly, ask yourself, do you live in a hostile or un-loving environment? Are there factors in your relationships or at work which are making you unhappy? What could you do to change these? Once you have identified what is holding you back, set a realistic goal to improve your life to break the magical ‘cure or curse’ spell food has over you. Food will then become a smaller part of your life, which with the greater attention you are giving it will become rich with new experiences, some successes and some failures.
Creating a healthy environment or getting that promotion still may not make you happy but it will mean you have more time to invest in your relationships and motivate you to stay healthy.
The Couple Connection provides online support to help you identify what is addiction
and how it affects your relationships. The Couple Connection provides relationship advice
and support to help couples through a library of relationship articles, exercises.