The way we see the world is unique to us. No one else views reality exactly as you do.
Take this picture, for example. What is this representing? What is it?
I bet we'd have 20 different answers from 20 different people.
With my clients, no relationship with food is exactly like any other's, but there are themes that seem to be almost universal.
I've noticed that for many of my clients, food is super-charged with emotional connections and consequences. Navigating the edible landscape when a food is more than just a food is like a field of booby traps.
A seemingly simple sandwich can create guilt that lasts into the next morning. An innocent brunch with friends can turn into an anxiety-ridden outing.
Food can taste either good or bad, without being good or bad. It can be bland and boring or spicy and satiating. There are descriptors, though, not all-or-nothing, black-and-white, ground-in-stone labels.
The labeling of foods is the problem.
When we label something as good or bad, we embed it in morality and virtue that becomes confused with our own "being good" or "being bad".
This confusion leads to the emotional consequence and guilt as we truly are disappointed in ourselves for our behavior (eating that "terrible" food). Our culture encourages this (Eat this, not that). Your parents probably did it too unknowingly (Eat your broccoli, get your dessert).
We are inundated with messages about foods we should fear, stay away from, avoid at all costs- it is no wonder so many of us struggle with food anxiety!
Ideally, food is joy and nourishment. There wouldn't be shame that arises from seeing food through the this lens of villainy or heroism.
There would just be...a sandwich that was yummy. Or a pasta that needed more flavor. Or an ice cream that created a moment of companionship.
This joyful and peaceful relationship is much less common in our culture, unfortunately, but it can develop as we shift from judgement to curiosity and learn to listen to and respect our bodies.So what is your relationship with food? Do you give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you desire? Or is that scary for you?