Food is something that is bound to our lives more so than any human being ever could be. It must be consumed on a daily basis in order to survive, so it is not something that can be avoided for long. The way food is viewed decides the kind of relationship that exists with it, which can be healthy or unhealthy just like relationships with people. Your relationship with food can be likened to the varying types of friendships, you might be able to identify with all of them but one or two will be more dominant. Take a look at the main food friendship types and see which ones best relate to your experiences:
The supportive friend: food is there when you need someone to lean on. It is comforting in times of trouble and knows just what you need to feel better at that moment.
The on and off again friend: food is sometimes wonderful and you want to spend all of your time with it and then you realize you spent too much time with it and lose interest for a while.
The frienemy: food isn't really your friend at all, you have to deal with it so you do but deep down you don't like it, even resent it.
The social friend: you see food as necessary for good social interactions. How would you interact with people without it? What fun would that be?
The friend with benefits: you see food as a useful tool for filling a need, usually it helps you to feel better about yourself and maybe even less lonely for a while.
The best friend: food for you is the only one you can count on, it's what you turn to under almost any circumstance be it happy or sad, good or bad. Life would not be the same without this friend.
The nothing else to do friend: basically, you turn to food out of boredom, you see nothing else to do so you turn to food for an activity.
The old friend: you have a long time connection to food through past experiences. This type of relationship keeps going out of both fear and a sense of obligation.
The controlling friend: everything revolves around food, it dictates your activities and your life. You tend to give in to avoid conflict and discomfort.
The destructive friend: you can see that there is a problem in this relationship but it is difficult to let go. There is little good in this relationship, all benefits are negated by overall consequences. Binge eating would occur in this friendship since emotions run the highest; it is like a roller coaster ride.
An unhealthy relationship with food causes life-long problems that include issues with body image, weight, and eating disorders. While many people provide tips for changing eating habits to change your relationship with food, the real change comes from first changing your thinking and perceptions, Start by really paying attention to how you are thinking about food by identifying your type of friendship. Then stay tuned for the next article in this series to help you start changing the way you think about food.