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  • Writer's pictureNatalia. Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutritionist

We don’t always do what we’re supposed to do: Exploring Your Emotional Relationship with Food

Updated: Mar 12

In 1970, Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist, found himself in a curious situation. He had to take a bowl of nuts away from his dinner guests, fearing they'd spoil their appetite before the main course. What happened next was eye-opening. When Thaler returned, his guests thanked him profusely for removing the snacks. They couldn't resist devouring them, even when they knew dinner awaited.

This incident sparked Thaler's curiosity about human behavior. Despite being rational beings, we often act against our best interests. As the future Nobel laureate found out, we don't always know what we want, don't always do what's best for us and that the way we make the real decisions in life is quite different and often far from our own interests.

Do you also continuously feel out of control around food? This is a problem that affects many people - specially women - and it often leads to a constant sense of shame, guilt, and self-loathing. This is because our choices are nuanced and influenced by a myriad of emotions that make it hard to make the right choices.

That's why we can never underestimate the role that OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD plays in our well being. There is just no way around it! Our emotional relationship with food can make or break our efforts to be healthier. The fact that 85% of people who go through a weight loss program end up regaining their original weight is a stark testament to the power and importance of our relationship with food.

A healthy and happy relationship with food is what will allow us to built good long term habits to sustain a healthy weight and body, and to find joy in the act of eating. The best way to do this is by being aware of our own internal needs - both emotional and physical - and be able to make conscious choices that align with our goals and desires.

Enter Fedra, a client who faced her own battles with food. Stress-eating, overindulgence, bloating, and constipation plagued her. After a microbiome test revealed exactly what we needed to repair in her gut, we started a nutritional plan, but most importantly, we started a Mindfulness Based Eating Program, which gave Fedra all the tools she needed to break free from binge-eating:

👉 Learning to understand the nutritional value of food,

👉 Knowing her emotional and physical hunger triggers,

👉 Gaining awareness of why and when we eat,

👉 Acknowledging how beliefs and stories impact eating.

I'm proud to say that Fedra is now able to enjoy food in a healthy way! Her digestion has improved, and she developed a mindset around eating for nourishment vs eating as a crutch or to sooth an emotion. She embarked on a journey of self-discovery that has improved her whole life.

If you resonate with Fedra's struggles, know that there's hope. By addressing the root causes of emotional eating and embracing mindful habits, you too can rewrite your relationship with food and live a fulfilling, healthy life.

Many of my clients fear that they will never be able to overcome their unhealthy relationships with food and live a healthy and happy life. They fear being judged or stigmatized by others for their struggles with food and body image.

That's why I want you to know that there are tools and science-back strategies that can help you to overcome this issues! This struggle is nothing to be ashamed of. It all comes to coping strategies we learn when we were little and lack of awareness of the solutions available.

Here are a couple of tips I use everyday in my practice:

✅ One of the main tools I use to help people to overcome this struggle is Mindfulness-Based Eating, a science-backed technique that has proven to be very effective in the treatment of binge-eating disorders, relentless food cravings, over-eating, and the resulting feelings of shame, distress and guilt.

Another strategy is to re-balance our gut. Binge and overeating usually feeds certain bacteria in our guts that easily overcome the rest of the microbiome and take over. This results in 'harmful' bacteria sending signals to the brain prompting it to eat sugary foods. These craves are usually overwhelming and relentless, and the only solution is to regain the gut's balance.

✅ Let's not forget another of the most important tools in any nutritional program: Stress management! Chronic stress means our body is constantly secreting hormones that take the whole hormonal and digestive systems off-balance.

These are some of the many strategies and techniques that can help you break free from the struggle of binge-eating and emotional eating. Don't settle to live in an endless cycle of guilt, shame, and self-loathing. You deserve better than that!

You are not alone. With the right support and guidance, you too can overcome this and change your life for good. Each day is a new opportunity to take control and to make progress towards your goals. I know you're ready to start living your life to the fullest, and become the best version of yourself.

Ready to break free? I'm here to help you make this intention, a reality. Schedule your free Discovery Call now and take charge of your health.

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