Food Anxiety…. « Personal Training Tingalpa

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 10 years you may have (like me) been exposed to a huge amount of conflicting information on health, weight loss, nutrition, what’s good for you, what’s not good for you. Much of this information contradicts each other. One week we need to cut out alcohol, the following week we all need to drink red wine!
It is all so confusing. And depending on who is funding the research, the outcome is often bias and thus conflicting. Sadly over the last 10-20 years most of the information we have been receiving with regards to our health and nutrition has been funded by the food industry, which does not necessarily have our optimal health as their main priority. The main focus tends to be bottom line (ie making money). All the advertising on TV is a good example of this. There is a huge amount of money being used to quite literally “brain wash” you. Beautiful slim people tucking into their maccas, or taking this medication for this or that makes you subconsciously buy into the lifestyle around that product. But the reality is if you eat macca’s a lot, and rely on medication a lot this is not going to be your lifestyle. You will probably be overweight, depressed and sick.
We are constantly bombarded with the latest diet craze, or quick fix for our “quick” lifestyle. We were lead to believe that fat was the enemy. As a result of this many of us cut out the fat in our diets, and started eating low-fat. The market place was flooded with low-fat/ low-cal foods to get you to your ideal weight! Disregarding the fact that our bodies need fatty acids for the brain to function and for processes in the body to run smoothly. We were then told that all salt was bad, eating meat was bad, not eating meat was bad, dairy etc, the list goes on…..
So what is the truth?
The truth is many of us now have food anxiety. Not knowing what you should and shouldn’t be eating, or feeding to our family. Or when we indulge in a “treat” and at the back of your mind reprimanding yourself for it, or saying “I shouldn’t really, but…” this takes the genuine joy out of eating, and actually induces guilt and shame afterwards.
Anxiety around food can manifest in different ways. It might lead to shame around eating certain food. It might lead to a rejection of food/ nourishment, as you may not feel deserving of great nourishment.
Food and feelings are closely connected. The food we eat has a huge impact on how we feel. Food has the power (like drugs) to induce feelings of calm, love, excitement, fun. It can also suppress anxiety, fear, frustration, grief, loneliness and stress. Albeit temporarily.. More on how to heal this later.
There are many reasons why people over eat and under eat, and it is nearly always associated with feelings and emotions. So, how can we fix this?
Well, I believe the very first step is to make peace with food. Clearing away these limiting beliefs around food is easier said than done, and is a process. Tapping* or EFT is great for this. Once done, you can then start building up a healthy relationship with food. Seeing no food as bad or good, but creating a healthy balance. Once we begin to tune into our bodies again, you will know what makes your body feel good, and what makes you feel not so good. When you crave something you have been told is bad for you, have some. Deprivation will only result in a bigger more forceful craving! But what you will find as you begin to tune into to what your body wants, it is actually craving fresh, healthy nutritious food.
As you build up your relationship with food, you will also build up your relationship with your body. It works in tandem, as you begin to have more respect for your body, you have more respect for the food and nourishment you put in it.
Any suppressed negative feelings are always trying to get out. And they won’t go away until we let them surface and be released. This can be done by creating a 15 minute cooling off period before you reach for a snack. In that 15 minutes sit down, and notice any feelings or emotions that come up. You may even want to write them down. Then after 15 minutes if you are still genuinely hungry you allow yourself to eat.
The main message I wanted to get through with this is to tune in to your body and your feelings and emotions. Most of us have been conditioned to suppress these emotion and feelings, ever since we were children. The trouble with that is that they are going to come and bite you on the bottom at some stage, so better to let them out when they come up I say! Also, encourage your children to let their emotions and feelings out, that way they won’t need to fix their issues with food and or other substances when they get older.
Have a lovely day