Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food for thought


Over the years, more than one patient has said to me, "Why do I turn to food to numb, distract or comfort myself?"

One woman said, "Why didn't I turn to crack or meth? At least I'd be thin!"
She was half-joking, but the question was serious. 

One answer is that as human beings, our very first experience of love and connection is when we're being fed. 

Nursing, whether by breast or bottle, is an experience of harmony and bliss with another person. At some level, turning to food may represent a wish to feel secure, loved, and comforted. 

When one's relationship to hunger (physical hunger or emotional needs/wants) becomes distorted, so does the relationship to food. The following questions are "food for thought" to explore what food means to you:

To me, food represents…
(i.e., food represents love and comfort)

Eating has been a way for me to…
(i.e., eating has been a way for me to escape painful emotions)

All my life I’ve used food as…
(i.e., I’ve used food as a way to numb/comfort/attack/punish myself)

The feelings I use food to bury are…
(mad, sad, fearful, anxious, guilty, etc.)

Food helps me avoid…
(i.e., food helps me avoid disappointment in my life or in other people)

Sometimes I’m afraid to eat because…
(i.e., I’m afraid to eat because I don’t want to give up the sense of power I get from restricting…. I’m afraid I won’t stop eating… I don’t want to need anything, including food)

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Legal Disclaimer:  The content on this site is for educational and informational purposes only.  It is not intended as psychotherapy or as a substitute for psychotherapy advice, diagnosis or treatment.

6 comments:

Brenda said...

I'm glad I never turned to crack or meth, and I'm glad that lady who made this quote didn't either. LOL This article brings up a very important point (quote from above):

" our very first experience of love and connection is when we're being fed."

I think this statement clears up some issues for me. I would take this further to say that parents often use food as a way to comfort or pacify a child way beyond the infant stage.

Karen said...

Food seems to be a more acceptable form of "drug" but too much of it is almost as dangerous as would be taking street drugs.

Julie Anne said...

Your right, Karen. Brenda is right as well. For me, food mostly seems to calm me-an anxiety reducer and it also comforts me. I must admit food never seems to let me down unless I cook it wrong. LOL

Brad said...

I think the fact that food never seemed to let me down is the reason I turn to it. However, I know eventually it could cause health problems as we age. Therefore, I'm trying to reverse this trend of eating too much.

Nora said...

I agree. Food is like a drug in that it can be very addictive. It still results in the same empty feelings than any other substance results in when used way too much.

Terry said...

All of this is a lot to digest. However, it is so true.