Do you eat when you are bored, tired or upset? Do you feel like you NEED a coffee to start your day? It is time to ask yourself, are you eating/drinking for the right reasons…?
Ah… food! Lovely, glorious food! Not only does it provide the nourishment and energy our bodies need to stay alive and kicking, but in our society food and drink is part of so many things that we do.
For starters, the ritual of eating forms the structure of many peoples’ days with breakfast (and/or a coffee!) highlighting the start of the day, the 12.30pm lunch break (if you are lucky enough to get one) signifying a half-way point in the day and the evening meal being a time to sit down, chow down and reflect on the day that has been – and get ready to do it all over again.
Food and drink is also social ‘glue’ – it is part and parcel of the way we celebrate – we get together with friends and family, birthdays, weddings… you name it, where there are people, there is food (and often booze).
It is great that food can be enjoyed and shared. There is nothing nicer than sitting down with the people that you love and care about while eating, drinking and sharing good stories. In my mind, enjoying healthy, delicious food which is good for you is the way to go – healthy meals and snacks are the best things to share, those which help your body work well and keep you healthy at the same time – but that is for another blog post.
Today though, I want to see if there are times where you are using food for the wrong reasons. To get the ball rolling, I have a few questions for you to answer to see if this might apply to you. Now, this is not a time for you to judge yourself, or feel bad about the answers you give, but purely to get clarity on your current situation:
- Do you eat food just because it is there? Even when you aren’t really hungry?
- Do you find it hard to say no when someone offers you something to eat/drink?
- Do you drink alcohol or eat certain types of foods (eg. chocolate) to cope with stress?
- Do you feel like you NEED a coffee to start your day?
- Do you use food/alcohol to reward yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it maybe that sometimes you are using food/drink as a coping mechanism and a strategy for managing the way that you feel. You may also be eating and drinking simply because you find it hard to say ‘no’ to other people or because you have unhealthy habits which mean you eat food just because it is in front of you. Most people do this to some degree, but the reason why I am bringing this up is because there are just so many people who I have met in my work so far who are struggling to eat well and get in shape not because they don’t know what they need to do (eat less junk, eat more good stuff and move more), but actually because they are using food and drink at times – often a lot of the time – to cope with the way that they feel, and in my mind, that is using food for something that food wasn’t designed to be used for.
In my latest book, Lose Weight for Life, I talk about this a lot and there is a step-by-step guide in there to help you overcome using food for the wrong reasons, if this sounds like you! If you find yourself reaching for a wine at the end of the day just to unwind (even though you are really trying to stop drinking so much), or you end up heading for a packet of choccy biscuits after a rough morning or fight with someone – then, take action. You can overcome these unhelpful habits with the right support and strategies.
Until next time… happy healthier living.
Love, Claire x
Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist. Managing director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.
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- Make sure you get yourself a copy of Claire’s best-selling book, Lose Weight for Life.
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