By: Amanda Wiegert , LMHC

An unhealthy relationship with food can impact many areas of your life including mood, productivity, self-esteem, and relationships. You may have an idea that your views of food are somewhat skewed. But ,you may not realize how truly unhealthy your relationship with food has become.

Here are 5 ways recognize if you have an unhealthy relationship with food:

  1. You don’t trust yourself around food

Your house is a “no chocolate, no snacks, no carbohydrate zone” because you know that if any of those things are in your house, then they will most likely end up in your stomach. You may have even convinced yourself that you are addicted to certain foods. You fear eating out or going to social events because you worry that you will not be able to control yourself at the buffet or the dessert table.

  1.  You have a lot of rules

You tell yourself things like, “no food after 6pm, “ or “I can only eat when no one else is around,” or “I cannot eat something if I don’t know how many calories are in it.”  These types of rules feed your need for rigidity and your fear of losing control. You force yourself to look at food in terms of black-and-white or right versus wrong rather than viewing food as something that is needed to sustain life and give you energy.

  1. Food is your best friend and your worst enemy

One day you love food because it tastes good, it fuels your body, it comforts you, and it numbs your pain after a tough day. But the very next day your perspective shifts and you hate food because it makes you feel full, awful, guilty, and shameful. You struggle to find balance between strict dieting (low carb, low fat, sugar free, dairy free, etc.) and viewing food as fuel for your body.  

  1. You see food as good or bad

You have a list in the back of your mind of all the “good” foods that you are allowed to eat and the “bad” foods that you will feel guilt and shame for eating. Your habit with labeling “good” food vs. “bad” food probably started from a young age when you were taught by a caregiver that junk food is bad or that you must eat only protein and vegetables in order to not be “fat” or “overweight.”

The truth is that food should never be labeled as good or bad because by doing so, you create an unhealthy cycle of shame and guilt. If you eat “good” foods one day then you may equate that to having an overall good day, but if you ate “bad” foods one day then you may see yourself as a failure.

  1. Your life is consumed by reaching your “goal weight”

You have a goal weight in your mind and if you could just see that number on the scale then your belief is that you will be happy, you will start to love yourself, and your life will fall into place. This number is often at the forefront of your mind and you find that you are unable to be happy with who you are until you reach that magical goal weight.

Recognizing your unhealthy relationship with food can be very difficult because these limitations have become normal to you. If you can relate to any of the signs listed above, it is important to recognize that you are not alone.

Your relationship with food may be unhealthy for many reasons including anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or past trauma. It is important to get to the root of where the unhealthy views are coming from so that you do not have to continue to be consumed by the fear of food.

If you are struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food and would like some additional support, call Life Counseling Solutions today to make an appointment (407) 622-1770. Or click here to schedule an appointment with Amanda.

About the Author: Amanda is passionate about helping people navigate all stages of life. She believes great healing can emerge from trauma and challenges if we allow ourselves to be open to learning and exploring new ways of dealing with difficult life experiences.  Read more about Amanda..