Did you think fondly about food while you were growing up, or did you associate eating with stress?
I want to share some of my earliest memories of mealtime growing up:
- Mealtime was always a time to sit at the table with my family.
- We were encouraged to finish ALL the food we were given.
- My brother was considered a ‘fussy eater’ and this was a stress for my parents, as they wanted him to eat more. I was a ‘good’ girl and would finish my meals and even ask for seconds.
I realised quite young that eating was something I was good at and I was praised for this. As a vulnerable and shy child, this was of great importance to me because it brought me praise. I wanted to please my parents and others around me. I also remember calling to my neighbor’s house around their mealtime, even after I’d already had dinner with my family. If the kids in the family didn’t finish their dinner, then I more often than not I would dutifully eat their leftovers.
I was innocently called the ‘dust bin’.
These are a few examples of my associations with food I learnt from an early age:
- I was a ‘good girl’ for eating all the food put on my plate.
- I was useful for eating leftover food, which meant less waste.
One other stand out early memory around food for me was being offered sweets for getting my words right in school, i.e…
- Food = Reward.
The adult me can now reflect on these associations and decide if they serve me or not. If they serve me, I keep them. If they do not, I release them.
It is a powerful exercise to write out your food story from your earliest memories to discover the most important, and likely unconscious, messages you have received from friends and family, the dieting industry, medical advice, and celebrities. Recognizing our beliefs and behavior around food and understanding where they come from is an amazing tool to use to support your relationship with food in the present moment so they can best serve you.
Understanding our food story helps us write our new script from here on in.
We are always a work in progress 🙂
CALL TO ACTION:
Write out your food story to discover associations you may hold to decide if they serve your greater good or not. If they benefit you, continue with them. If they do not, kindly let them go.
Here are a few questions to explore while writing your food story:
- Were there rewards or punishments around food?
- Did you have any nicknames because of your eating habits? Were they positive or negative to you?
- Was there any structure to your mealtime?
- Were you a fast or slow eater?
- Was food a comforting friend, or an enemy?
- Was food even important to you at all?
- Could you say “no” to food? Could you say “yes” to food?
- Do you have memories of feeling the need to control food…
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