5 Questions That Get to the Root of Your Relationship with Food

Have you ever found yourself finishing your plate even though you were full?  Or have you ever heard a little voice telling you not to eat too much in front of a particular person? What about just feeling guilty about eating a certain type of food? I sure have! But I never stopped to really think about where those feelings were coming from.  I want to share with you a few questions that I recently asked myself and then journaled on what came up and it was enlightening to say the least!  Ask yourself these questions and begin to change your relationship with food.

Get the Root of Your Feelings About Food

How did you eat your meals while growing up?  Did you sit down at the table as a family? Or in front of the TV? Or maybe it was a rushed affair while heading out the door to sports or other activities? Dinner for me was always served family-style around the table at my house, which for me, was a good thing.  We all sat down without distractions to enjoy food and conversation together. But not everyone has that experience and it can lead to some poor eating habits later on.

What was the energy around food in your home when you were young?  Think hard about this.  How did your mother feel about food? Did she talk about her body or eating habits at the table? Did she diet? Was she relaxed or anxious? Ask the same questions about any other family members who may have influenced you.

Once you’ve answered the above, what do you think that energy stemmed from? I’ll give you an example. Some people eat very quickly, which can stem from living under poor conditions where there was never enough.  Or a parent may ensure that their children eat everything on their plates, which can come from a “do not waste” mentality if that parent grew up in a frugal household. Even though circumstances change, the habits can be passed on and continue for generations.

What did your friends, family, teachers, or other influencers tell you about your body?  Think about what words were used and how you felt about those words.  Did they make you feel good or bad about yourself?  For the first 6 or 7 years of elementary school I was told I was small.  My twin sister and I were the smallest kids in the class and also the youngest, having been born at the end of November.  Thinking back on that now, I realize that it made me feel like I should be a follower, like I needed to be big to have my own voice.  I believe it contributed to weight gain later in my teenage and university years.

How do you feel around food now? For many years, I could not have a piece of birthday cake or other treats without feeling a huge sense of guilt.  Around people who I perceived to be slim, I felt guilty if I showed I was hungry and I wouldn’t want to eat in front of them.  I still struggle with those feelings.  Do you feel guilty over certain foods?  Do you eat even when you’re not hungry because you want to make sure you don’t get hungry later? Do you feel yourself “competing” for food when in a crowd?

If I asked you “how is your relationship to food”, it might be difficult to describe off the top of your head. I invite you to take some time to sit quietly with these questions to find out more.  Meditate if it’s helpful.  Write down your answers.  Allow your feelings to surface.  Just the act of identifying some of these patterns and feelings around food will help you to notice them at mealtime and you’ll begin to change your mindset around food.  Come back next week for the next steps on how to make peace with these feelings.

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