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Claudia’s five secrets for a better food relationship feel guilty Guilt triggers co�tisol which supp�esses pleasu�e �eceptors, and is a �at storage hormone, so just be awa�e o� your choices and don’t allow guilt to fill your mindset. a balance Allow you
ost of us have experienced food shame at one time or another. You might have gorged on an entire tub of ice cream and felt super-guilty in the aftermath, beating yourself up for the excess calories you consumed for hours on end – or perhaps, having politely said no to cake being passed around at work (only because you’re working out and want to be extra healthy) you find yourself at the centre of mean jokes by a colleague. Food shaming comes in many different forms, but the end result is the same – it stirs up feelings of guilt, remorse and insecurity which in the long term can seriously affect our relationship with our bodies.
Just when did food get so complicated? It’s thought that both genetics and environmental factors together play a key role in our thoughts around food. Eating habits stem from childhood, and if you’ve subconsciously received negative cues from your albeit well-meaning parents (things like overeating will make you fat, skipping dessert will help to keep your weight under control or, at the other end of the scale, that sweet treats will make you feel better when you’re down), it’s likely to have a knock-on effect on your approach to eating as an adult.
Our surrounding social circle also massively impacts food struggles. If you’ve got a friend that will only eat out at restaurants with calorie counts on the menus, or waits to see what you order before ordering themselves, or you find yourself sitting next to a colleague who constantly makes snide comments about your lunch; it’s bound to make you re-evaluate your own food choices. ‘People tend to criticise food choices or food shame when you don’t conform to their diet ethics or idea of healthy food. We can become so caught up in our own food ideals we lose sight that everyone is on their own journey with food,’ says nutritionist Claudia Le Feuvre, creator of psychology and weight-loss programme Happy In Body (happyinbody.com). When we pass judgement too quickly, it’s often our brains unconsciously projecting our insecurities on others, so it’s worth bearing in mind that your friend or colleague who makes you feel bad about eating could really just be battling their own body image concerns and taking them out on you.
And then there’s the overwhelming messages that social media bombards us with. The relentless shots of cellulitefree models with stick-thin waists and photos of food bloggers with quinoa salads and green smoothies are underpinning society’s unrealistic expectations of food, forcing us to categorise meals into good or bad, and making us feel bad when we deviate from the good. ‘Take a moment to think about who your influencers are. Renowned American entrepreneur Jim Rohn is famously quoted for saying we become like the five people we hang around with. Notice how your friends validate your behaviour and try to keep your influencers positive,’ continues Claudia. Spend five minutes looking at who you are following on social media and delete anyone who’s promoting an overly ‘judgy’ attitude to food. What you eat is up to you and nobody else.