How Is Your Food Relationship: Is today a good day to recommit?
We all have a relationship with food. And if we are honest, most of us would admit it is not a healthy relationship. As with any unhealthy relationship, there is fighting and arguing, followed by guilt, shame, and regret. It is hard living with our food. We either love it or hate it. Here isn’t much middle ground. We love the food that tastes good and we hate the food that tastes bad. But don’t blame yourself. Society and uneducated taste buds bear most of the blame.
We live in a society where food is at the heart of our lives. From the 3-meals-a-day rule to having meals with nearly every social engagement, we can’t escape from food. Notice I did not mention that food is central to sustaining life. That’s because, as you will read, we have forgotten foods’ most essential role. As a result, humans are fatter and sicker than at any time in our history. Odd, considering our advanced science and technology, not to mention how accessible information and resources have become. You can get just about anything known to man delivered to your door in 2 days. But eat a healthy diet, what are you crazy…that’s too hard!
Food As Communion
Food is woven into our social fabric. It is associated with everything we do when we are communing with others. Can you think of a social situation that does not include food and/or drink? Every holiday has traditional foods. You can’t properly celebrate a birthday without cake and ice cream, after a meal of course. Happy hour? Date night? Game Day? Unthinkable without food. So how do we keep it healthy? You need to have a strategy. My go-to strategy is to eat my healthy meals prior to the engagement, then have a simple salad at the gathering. It takes will power X10 for sure, but in time it gets pretty easy.
Food As Fuel
The primary biological purpose for food consumption is to fuel our cells and thus our bodies. But most of society views food as a source of pleasure. We often select foods based on what we crave and what satisfies our taste buds. Rarely does what we crave match with what our bodies need for fuel. In fact, much of our common food sources require so much fuel to digest there is little left to fuel the body through an active and often stressful day. In order to fully embrace the ‘food as fuel’ philosophy, you must make peace with your body. Observe what foods and eating patterns provide the most energized days, and which cause you to crawl through the day. Understand that fueling the body properly makes all the difference in how you feel all day long.
Food As Medicine
The second biological purpose of food is to heal the body. Our bodies have an amazing system for defense, growth, and healing. But only if we let it. Most of the foods we eat get in the way. To make it worse, the medications we ingest to address illness often work against the body’s natural healing processes. Eating clean, as close to the source of food as possible, ensures you will contribute to your body’s natural abilities to heal. This means sticking to fresh veggies, meats, fish, poultry, and dairy. Avoid anything that comes in a box or a bag. There are exceptions, but fresh is always best.
Food As Freedom
Healthy eating requires a bit of self-control and self-mastery. This initially comes when we overcome our addictions to sugar and cheap carbohydrates. Eliminating the foods that cause ill health can radically transform your body and overall health. Liberating the body’s biological self-care abilities has the potential to liberate you from chronic pain and illness, restore your energy, revitalize your sex life, and extend your life. Old age does not need to mean living with decreasing mobility and independence. Rebuilding your relationship with food can give you your freedom back if you are willing to do the work.
Playing With Your Food
No diet or nutritional program is a one-size-fits-all solution. No matter what the diet books or infomercials tell you every program is only a guide for their key principles. You need to do your own trial and error experimenting to see what works for you. You need to make your new lifestyle your own, and this is only possible with a lot of playing with your food. You need to try different foods, different cooking styles, different eating styles until you find the one that fits your lifestyle and gets the results most important to you.
Playing The Long Game
Life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. If you want to live a long fulfilling life you need to know you are playing the long game. As such, you need to pace yourself. Making lifestyle changes takes time. It takes time to learn. It takes time to test different methods. It takes time to see the results and decide if you are moving in the right direction, or if you need to make some changes. If you rush things, if you are determined to get immediate results no matter the cost, you will likely fail. Not only will you fail but you will likely make matters worse. I’m sure you have all read or heard stories of someone who got amazing results from some new diet craze, only to gain all the weight back plus a little extra. I remember the years when Oprah Winfrey went through several dramatic weight loss periods. As soon as she lost a ton of weight all the magazines featured her and her amazing diet secrets. Then, like clockwork, she would be back up to her original weight a few months later. She finally got off of her own diet marry-go-round and has maintained her current weight for quite some time. Of course, you won’t see that on the cover of any magazine.
Author and Optimize Coach
David is a writer and coach specialing in awakening human potential. David likes to think of himself as a conscious creator, student of life, Super Dad, chef, Spartan Athlete, and Optimize Performance Coach. Writing for Dr. Kusher and the CFL community is just one of his many joys.