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Free Yourself From Food Games

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Ask yourself whether or not you play games with your foo.

Ask yourself whether or not you play games with your food. Do you eat slowly in public but binge in private? Do you stand to eat? Do you skip meals? Do you depend on laxatives? Do you find ways to cut calories, such as skipping meals or eating enormous amounts of salad? Whether consciously or subconsciously, many of us play games with food. We usually resort to food games so that we can control our weight or achieve a certain body image. But the reality is, these games we play are the very things that keep us from reaching our goals. By succumbing to these survival tactics, we sabotage our efforts to lose weight.

I met a woman recently who believed that drinking several glasses of water before a meal was a healthy way to reduce the amount of food she ate. In reality, she fooled herself into thinking that because her stomach was full, she didn't need as much food to fuel her body.

Achieving a healthy weight and body image is a worthy goal but the key word here is "healthy." Food games are not healthy ways to achieve our goals. Just the opposite in fact they are desperate attempts to control our eating. Instead of eating to nourish our bodies, we play food games to avoid gaining weight or appearing out of control. Out of a frustration with food or a deep fear of it, many of us play these types of games to manipulate what and how much we put in our mouths.

If you desire to change your ways, there is hope. There's also hope if you want to lose weight permanently and establish healthy eating habits. Starting today, you can learn to live a life free of fear and frustration with food. And you can learn how to eat food without manipulating it. The solution is to develop a good relationship with food.

Food Is Our Friend

Eating is an integral part of our lives, and it can be a pleasing and positive experience. After all, we must eat to survive, so we can't just shut ourselves off to eating food. Food is a gift, and it's important to embrace it. To function as human beings, we need it to fuel our bodies and to keep us healthy. Learning about what we eat, when we eat and why we eat are important aspects to living a fulfilled life.

When we view food as the enemy, it follows logically that we will fear it. But when we learn to appreciate food as a friend we can trust, our relationship with food can begin to change as a result.

How can you establish a positive relationship with food? Learn to trust yourself and your body's innate wisdom. Then you will know how to eat according to what it needs and be able to stop when you are satisfied. Without trust, it's easier to depend on food games to control your eating.

Learn To Let Go

Maintaining control of your weight and eating habits by playing food games will not result in trust or freedom. In fact, you're more likely to gain weight or overeat because you're depending on external strategies rather than genuine self-motivation. Instead of staying in this vicious cycle, take a step back from your eating habits and think about the true purpose of food in your life.

A healthy relationship with food is about eating to nourish and energize your body, as well as to satisfy physical hunger. It's about taking pleasure and nourishment from your food and allowing yourself to eat what you want but being able to stop when you're satisfied. This type of relationship is free of food games and void of consuming thoughts and habitual patterns. And it's one of the most effective ways to reach a healthy body weight.

If you give up trying to maintain such strict control of your eating, you will find the path to freedom from food games. By learning to let go, you will gradually learn how to trust yourself around food and, as a result, make healthy choices. By being honest with yourself and becoming aware of any negative eating habits you may have, you will be better able to counteract them with healthy eating habits.

Redefining your relationship with food isn't easy. Find a personal coach or someone who can help you to break through your fears, take action and achieve your goals. Along the road toward change, you can make peace with food and learn how to trust yourself with it. You'll also be able to reach a healthy weight and positive body image and live a life of freedom.

Five Steps to Breaking the Cycle

  1. Concentrate on fueling your body with healthy, nourishing food. Instead of eating to conform to others' standards, make a conscious shift about eating to give your body what it needs to be healthy.

  2. Eat out of physical hunger. When you are in touch with your body and its needs, you will know the difference between emotional eating (i.e., out of boredom or depression) and physical hunger (grumbling stomach, dizzy feeling, light headedness, irritability).

  3. Have healthy, nourishing food stocked up and available to eat for when the munchies hit. Try apple chips instead of potato chips, for example, or fresh cashew nut butter instead of conventional peanut butter that often has sugar added.

  4. When eating alone, eat as if someone is there sharing the meal with you. Make it a special and nourishing experience by setting your table with your favourite dinnerware, fresh flowers and candles. Turn off the TV and enjoy your own company.

  5. Get professional support from someone experienced in working with food issues. To find a nutritional counsellor, contact the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants, ionc.org or 1-800-406-2703.
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