What Does Food Mean To Us?
So much of our culture and so many of our celebrations revolve around food. We only need to take a look at today’s choice of television programmes to see how the food industry has expanded over recent decades. We Brits have well and truly progressed from our former embarrassing reputation of eating bland, poor quality food to becoming a trail blazing nation of world renowned chefs, restaurants and foodies!
Alongside this cultural shift, our body image and style is becoming increasingly valued, especially in today’s celebrity culture. From Kardashianesque bottom Botox injections to the trend of quickly losing post-birth baby weight like the Duchess of Cambridge, there seems to be growing pressure on men and women to conform to popular body shapes.
Diets have been big business for many years and millions of pounds have been made through the weight-loss industry. They certainly have their place in helping obese people to slim down to a more healthy weight, but most diets are unsustainable long term. Once an acceptable BMI has been reached the challenge is to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of our lives. As with most things, moderation is the key and being self-controlled enough to monitor our intake of food and drink is the goal.
However, some of us have more challenging issues with food which can be very difficult. We cannot live without food which, depending on your experience and view point, can be either wonderful or frightening. If we have an eating disorder our food intake can be incredibly hard to manage because we can’t survive without eating. It is possible to live without alcohol or narcotics to combat addiction, but this is obviously not possible with food. Our overall aim should be to build and sustain a healthy relationship with food.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) offers support, plans and guidelines which can be very useful in managing an eating disorder. If we want to discover and face the root causes of our issues with food then long term psychotherapy can help. There is lots of support out there for anyone who feels they need help. As a starting point I can heartily recommend the classic self-help book Fat is A Feminist Issue which I’ve found to be relevant for both men and women.