Where do our eating habits come from?
Have you ever stopped to contemplate why you eat the way you do? To be honest, I never did until I started working in this area. Part of my job is helping people nourish their body by adjusting the way that they eat. Before we can do this it is so important to reflect on how we got to where we are now.
Let’s think back to childhood for a start. Where there key comments made at the dinner table?
You can’t have dessert unless you finish your dinner
Think of the starving kids in Africa
You MUST eat your vegetables (even though you can see that your parents may not have!)
I am sure there are plenty more but these are some examples that I hear on a daily basis.
When we actually stop and think about these comments, they are teaching us to overeat. They disregard your bodies ability to tell you when you are getting full.
Now let’s think about the other end of the spectrum and have a look at hunger. I ofter hear (and can remember being told sometimes too) things like:
You can’t be hungry you just ate
You will have to wait until lunch/dinner because it’s not time to eat yet.
Again, these comments teach you to ignore your internal cues that tell you when and how much you need to eat.
These are a couple of comments that shape that we speak to ourselves and children about food. They teach us that we must clean our plates and only eat at certain meal times.
I spend a lot of my time with clients challenging these thoughts. We work on creating space and freedom to listen and reconnect with your body. Finding that happy place where your body guides you through when, what and how much to eat. I know at first this sounds like a crazy thought! But it is possible. It takes a bit of work because we are questioning thoughts thats you have had for a lifetime. These thoughts may also be stronger if you have a history of dieting too.
So where to next? It’s time to start doing some untraining. Start by exploring the way that you think about food. Notice times when someone else is dictating about what your body needs. Give yourself the space to ask yourself “am I hungry” or “what do I feel like eating?”. Notice I’m not saying “what am I allowed to eat” or “what should I eat”. Try not to complicate this gentle and curious approach with the ‘health’ aspect. But that is a bigger topic for another day!
Today is the day to start being curious about where your eating behaviours stem from. Because if we don’t know why we do things it can be difficult to change them. Now we can start to relearn and reconnect with your body. Letting your body guide you in choosing when, what and how much food YOU need. At the end of the day, you know your body better than anyone else, you might need to take some time to reconnect so that you can hear it more clearly.