- Published on Friday, 06 February 2015 11:36
If you’re a woman, did you do any of the following?
- Constantly count calories before/after a meal
- Compare your body to other women
- Punish yourself if you binged on something
- Have impossible beauty standard
- Constantly fearful that your significant other will leave you for someone else
It’s not unusual if you did. Teenage girls are especially prone to this kind of behaviour. According to Michelle May, MD, and bestselling author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat who is herself a self-confessed recovered yoyo eater, women are subconsciously contributing to the rise of an epidemic of unhealthy relationships with food by obsessing over their food intake and following dubious health experts advice on new diet trends. Our beauty obsessed society isn't helping either, with local dailies constantly putting up ridiculous ads about diet pills and drinks to the point of degrading their target buyers, women.
The advertisements have a way of playing with your emotion, normally in a very negative light. For example, if you’re a married woman, the ad will sound something like this: ‘aren't you ashamed of looking like that? You better do something about it before he wanders off…’ It usually sounds a lot subtler than that, so it may be tricky to pinpoint whether they mean well or if they only care about selling their product. What women don’t realise is that it’s never a sin to love food, any kind of food. The key is to eat in moderation. Following are some simple tips compiled from Michelle May and also from psychologist, Susan Albers, author of 50 Ways to Sooth Yourself without Food.
1. Don’t play by the rules
Any healthy relationship is based on compromise. If you’re always trying to keep up with what to eat and what not to eat, you’re not doing yourself any favour. According to Albers, ‘this kind of rigidity is all about fear of losing control. We’re so used to thinking in black-and-white terms’. Albers says to start small and eat anything you like once a week. Once you get used to it, it’ll be less intimidating.
2. Trust in yourself
When faced with temptation, trust yourself to do the right thing. It’s not always a bad thing to find chocolates and chips irresistible. After all, it’s purely biological; eating carbs boosts our levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. If we’re in tune with our hunger cues, we’d make better choices. ‘Ask yourself, does my body need fuel? If you decide to eat, the right amount of food will leave you feeling good. Otherwise, you’d feel uncomfortably stuffed,” says Dr. May.
3. Silence your inner demon
‘Instead of having your inner voice shames you for indulging in something, change it. Make it friendlier and supportive, like a friend,’ Albers suggests. Nobody is perfect, and just because you happen to indulge in something, doesn’t mean you’re letting things go. ‘Eat slowly and take pleasure in your food,’ Albers adds. Life is too short, appreciate the little things.