It’s not what you eat, it’s the way you think about what you eat

With Easter safely behind us and the articles telling us how many hours of walking we have to do to burn off one small Easter egg, it’s time to revisit our “healthy lifestyles” and get back on track.  But is also a good time to reflect on the emotional response that one comment on social media can create when we asked, “How much chocolate did you eat over Easter?”  Most people responded, tongue in cheek, with confessions or proud declarations and it go me thinking (again) about how we relate to food and our choices and what a difference our attitude can make to our peace of mind.

I’ve worked out that it is quite easy to know when we have eaten something that makes us feel good, and when we have eaten something that makes us feel not so good. First, there’s the health/energy aspect.  A meal made with fresh, nutritious ingredients is going to make us feel more energetic and comfortable than a Big Mac with fries. But an indulgence such as a Swiss chocolate egg, or even a crispy bacon and egg roll can also give us a feeling of satiety and satisfaction. Can’t it?

Whether we have sauce with it or not is less important than whether we liberally sprinkle on guilt with our good choice.  If we view our choice in the moment as being a bad one, we will quickly feel like we have punished ourselves, as is the case when the whole packet of Tim Tams disappears in minutes.  Very short-lived pleasure is quickly replaced by feelings of self loathing, depression and even hopelessness.  

So how do we break this cycle.  I believe that if we can think of food choices as being “gifts” to ourselves, we are on the right track.  If we choose to start the week after Easter with the intention of treating our body to clean, nutritious and delicious meals, we will feel much more positive about the week than if we view it as “time to repent and deprive ourselves of anything that tastes nice, chocolate being the main offender”!  

If are about to eat something that doesn’t feel like a “gift”, and instead can be recognised as being more of a “What the heck, I’ve had a bad day?” decision, we know that this doesn’t support our decision to care for ourselves with love.  

How hard is it to change our thinking like this?  Any ideas?