Identifying Unhealthy Relationships With Food

Man eating a hamburger in a fast food restaurant

Do you or does someone you know have an unhealthy relationship with food?

These five signs may indicate a dysfunctional relationship with food.

1. Preoccupied with food

Most of us think about food but when it becomes an obsession that our eating habits are driven by these thoughts instead of actual appetite. 

2. Hiding food

Feeling ashamed will drive some people to hide food around their house or in the car so other's won't see them eat it.  Shame and embarrassment from the basic act of eating even if the food isn't unhealthy.

3. Guilty feelings after eating

Many of us have done this, overeaten, especially during events or holidays.  An unhealthy sign is the frequency this occurs or when it occurs with even the healthiest of foods.  Guilt can also drive other unhealthy behaviors such as the chronic dieter or excessive exerciser to "justify" a meal. 

4.  Eating during times of stress

Emotional eaters are the most common form of dysfunctional eating.  People will eat when happy, sad, angry, tired and all of the other emotions we feel.  Think about it, this started the moment we were born and we started to cry, we were fed as a response, so unlearning this is really hard.  This can lead to unwanted weight gain quickly. 

5. Extreme dieting

The actual definition of "diet" is what you eat.  A cows diet is grass and water.  So, chronic dieters frequently engage in extreme practices and eliminate entire food groups or restrict too many calories.  The end result is deprivation which can trigger cravings for certain foods. 

If you feel that you have an unhappy relationship with food, talk to your doctor about some of the local resources to help you get the "healthy" relationship with food back.  

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