I am a Food and Wellness Coach working with clients to explore how our relationship with food impacts self-esteem and overall mental and physical health. Food can play a role in creating anxiety, guilt, shame, dependency, even addiction. Unlike other substances or addictive behaviors such as alcohol or gambling, food is essential for survival—we cannot give it up. That’s why the only way to strike a healthy balance with eating is to permanently alter our relationship with food.
So many of us find this difficult because almost every aspect of our lives revolves around food. Almost every ritual, event and celebration typically involves a meal. And unlike other substances, consuming food is legal and sanctioned by our culture. Everyone’s doing it, often to excess. Also, food often become a receptacle for our feelings. You didn’t get that promotion and that justifies the extra slice of pizza tonight. You split with your boyfriend and now you’re drowning your sorrow in chocolate ice cream.
What’s eating you is what I ask during a client’s first session. Regardless of what’s going on with ourselves, there is a price for overeating that results in what we present to the world and more importantly, how we view ourselves.
A food genogram mapping family of origin is created during the first session. How was food perceived in your family? Was it used as a punishment or reward? Perhaps there is a history of obesity in your family and though it causes distress, your overweight self is a way of keeping spiritual company and remaining loyal to an overweight loved one.
Are you in touch with the sensuous pleasure of food but uneasy about other appetites, such as sex or spending? Have you successfully given up alcohol or cigarettes but are now out of control with your eating?
My goal is to help you reach your goal. Teasing out what’s positive or negative in the complicated mix of our family history is challenging; but it’s also a process that can be of immense help to individuals wanting to alter eating habits and/or feeling better about one’s body and overall health.
Patterns are set early in life. Think of how we differ in our concepts of appropriate serving sizes. But there is much more to it. Emotional responses generated by food are unique to each of us. Changing your way of eating, giving up familiar patterns–these involve both grief and loss but can be immensely rewarding and empowering.
Some of my FoodChild clients, after much deliberation, decide to accept the number on the scale that has caused them struggle and grief, honestly admitting they are not willing to maintain the effort that will create permanent change. They give up chronic disappointment in themselves. Acceptance can bring some peace, as well.