Niki Bezzant: Meet food, it's your new bestie

3 comments
How's your relationship with food? Photo / Getty Images
How's your relationship with food? Photo / Getty Images

How's your relationship with food? The other day I had potato chips for breakfast. It wasn't by choice. I was on a flight to Sydney and a last-minute plane change meant the airline wasn't able to offer a meal service.

Because a) I was hungry and b) I had eaten all my emergency handbag snacks, I went with it. I may or may not have also had a glass of wine.

Although I have a not-so-secret love of potato chips, this wasn't an ideal start to my day, and it certainly put my nutrition for the day a step backwards.

But sometimes, life happens, and it's important that our relationship with food is such that we can be flexible.

There's no one in the world who eats perfectly 100 per cent of the time, and we exhaust ourselves trying to achieve this.

It might sound strange thinking about having a "relationship" with food.

We just eat it, right? Surely we don't have to get all deep and meaningful with it?

Yet whether we realise it or not, we all have a relationship with food in some way.

The healthiest of us, mentally, probably rarely think about what food means to them.

They eat when they're hungry, they stop eating when they're full, and they naturally choose foods that nourish them.

They eat for pleasure and for health - and they don't get stressed if they eat something indulgent.

They don't think of food as "good" or "bad", and they would never feel guilty about anything they eat.

These people have a healthy relationship with food.

They understand that food is important, but it doesn't determine how they feel about themselves.

Others eat purely for fuel. Food simply keeps them alive. They rarely eat for pleasure.

It can be tempting to think we're not truly good people unless we're eating nothing but green smoothies and raw abundance bowls. But this is not realistic, and it's not real life, either.

They don't really care about food, they just know they need it.

They would probably go for the Star Trek-style meal-in-a-pill, if they could. These people are rare.

Much more common are those for whom food involves elements of morality and emotion. Eating in a way they perceive as "healthy" makes them feel like better people.

They often eat to self-imposed rules; they are vulnerable to diet trends and talk in terms of control and restriction.

They "fall off the wagon" or have "cheat days", implying being bad by eating forbidden, naughty foods.

Food can make them feel guilty or ashamed. Food can be comfort but also punishment. (Comfort might be eating a handful of chips. Punishment is thinking "I've blown it now, I might as well eat the whole packet").

If we're vulnerable to this kind of thinking, it can be tempting to think we're not truly good people unless we're eating nothing but green smoothies and raw abundance bowls.

But this is not realistic, and it's not real life, either. Real life is messy and random, and food is part of that.

Having a good relationship with food means we can cope with the randomness. And that's worth cultivating.

- Herald on Sunday

Niki Bezzant is editor in chief of Healthy Food Guide magazine.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 05 Dec 2016 11:21:01 Processing Time: 491ms