It’s one of the most “true” statements that I have ever heard, and ever said. Follow this statement up with “I don’t have an emotional relationship with food” and you lost me!
I have an emotional relationship with food. I know, I know…. I’m not supposed to, but I do. I think most of America does. I also think it’s part of the reason we eat turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Easter. Yes, tradition plays into it and the whole Native Americans becoming friends with those from England… but let’s be honest for a moment. Thanksgiving would be really weird without a turkey for Thanksgiving.
The statement “Food is Fuel” is true in many, many ways. Food isn’t just physical fuel for us, even though it is supposed to be. Food also serves as emotional fuel, spiritual fuel, mental fuel and even social fuel.
Take for instance all of those holiday parties you get invited to near the end of every year. If you are a bit of an introvert, what nudges you to go to that party? Is it the social scene? The adult beverages that will be there? Maybe that one specific appetizer that the hostess is known for making? Food is sewn into every component of out lives, including our social lives.
Food is also a part of our spiritual lives… don’t believe me? Have you ever been to a church potluck? I thought so. How about our mental lives? Not only does our brain depend on glucose to work, but look at how visually appealing food can be. That is mental marketing. And then there is our emotional life… I’m going to be very honest with you and tell you exactly how food can be an emotional friend of mine.
I LOVE Jelly Beans… the flavor is wonderful and when I have not been having a wonderful day… Jelly Beans seem like they can turn that day around. Is it true… do they change my life circumstances? No. But for a moment, it seems like they could, due to the gratification they give in the moment. How about work… when I have a deadline that I am working towards (whether for school or work), I often find myself working through the evening and even possibly the night. Do you know how boring that is? Do you know what makes it NOT boring? Salty crunchy chips…. ok, well not long term. But in that moment, I’m 137% positive that they will help.
Maybe Jelly Beans and chips don’t do it for you. Let’s try another example then…
Are you a coffee drinker? Nine times out of 10, I hear coffee drinkers equate their morning cup of Joe to a “religious experience”… they don’t drink that cup of coffee every morning because of the burst of energy people talk about, but instead because it’s almost like a a daily tradition and ritual that eases their mind and get’s them off to a good day. If you can relate at all to this, then you my friend have an emotional relationship with coffee!
Do you remember the movie Finding Nemo? There is a scene in the movie in which a small group of sharks are at a meeting and are discussing their recent attempts to view fish as friends, rather than food. These animals (which we are too), are fighting their instance to view fish as food, and instead view them as friends. That seems absurd, hence why it was in a kids cartoon/comedy movie. But the reality of the situation in that we as American animals have to do the opposite. Because of the abundance of food in our society and the variety of it, we actually have to go against this newly found instinct to view food as our friend, and instead view it as fuel.
Hi, my name is Leah and I have an emotional relationship with food. Things need to change for me. This relationship with food that I have is a negative one and it will only reek havoc on my life in the long term. This relationship needs to become, at best a positive one, but hopefully a close to non-existent one. I’m not positive how it is going to change… I usually have some sort of action plan for my to-do lists, but this time I don’t. I know though, that this is going to change… through the grace and strength of God this journey of mine starts now!
Do you have a relationship with food other than for fuel? Be honest with yourself… maybe it’s coffee, or maybe it’s ice cream. Whatever it is, dig down deep and ask yourself if it is a healthy relationship. For most people, it isn’t and for most people, it’s not doing them any good. Let’s try and remember today that food is fuel, not our friend.
Oh and by the way… you can have such a strong relationship with food that you don’t allow certain things into your home, or you refuse to consume certain foods. Unless you have a true food allergy or a specific medical diagnosis, this is a negative relationship with food too.