Is your relationship with food healthy or unhealthy? That may be a difficult question to answer. You may not even realize that you have a relationship with food in the first place, but everyone does, and for most people it is a very complicated one.
A good way to evaluate whether your relationships with other people are healthy is by assessing the boundaries in those relationships: are there too many boundaries or not enough? So let’s look at what healthy and unhealthy boundaries might look like when it comes to food.
Black and White Thinking
One hallmark of unhealthy boundaries (or a generally unhealthy mental state) is black and white thinking. You may be experiencing this if you only see food in the categories of “good” or “bad”. If food either feels like your best friend or your enemy, with no in-between, that indicates a dichotomous way of thinking. This tends to be an extremely common viewpoint in our society, and we often assume it is the correct way to look at food. Now, it may be normal to a certain extent to feel that way towards food, but it also points to a larger issue of food becoming more to you than what it is intended to be.
Food – Not Good, Not Bad
Food generally has no moral weight; it is not good or bad, it is food. Good ol’ neutral food. And all food serves a purpose for our bodies in that it provides us energy and nutrition. Calories are energy, fats are protection, proteins build us up, carbohydrates sustain us! But what about the junk food, you say? What about the processed nonsense?! The issues surrounding food are far too complicated to fully address in a blog, and the ethical quandaries surrounding food sources and food production are perhaps overwhelming. Obviously, some foods are more helpful than others as far as increasing your overall health and wellbeing, but all foods can be harmful if too much of them (or not enough of them) is consumed. This is even true of water! With that in mind, our focus here is to remember that food is a blessing, and its purpose is to help us live our lives to the fullest, not take away our quality of life.
Even if your brain is yelling at you to avoid all of those “bad” foods, the truth is that, when it comes to food, good and bad is all about moderation, or the lack thereof. This isn’t black and white either, because they vary from person to person and from food to food. I know that, in my life, my husband’s metabolism and mine are totally different. In fact, sometimes it feels like our metabolisms are coming from different planets! But he needs to learn to eat the way that is healthiest for him, and the same is true for me! So, the lesson here is to learn to look for the grey in your relationship with food. It may not feel as safe or as comfortable, but that’s mostly because it’s unknown to you for now. So get to know that in-between, and get to know yourself in the process!
Need help specifically about food and boundaries around the Holidays? Read Laura’s article in Lantana Living. In Part 2 of this two part blog, I will discuss in greater depth the issues surrounding our relationships with food and what healthy and unhealthy boundaries look like: specifically, giving in too much or not at all, and letting food define you.
If you are struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food you are certainly not alone. I’d love to talk to you about how to start putting food in its place! Call me at 940-222-8703×705 or email at LauraL@acorncounseling.services, or just schedule an appointment online! I look forward to hearing from you.