Food as Reward and Punishment

Most of us develop a relationship to food from a very young age. Food is a part of family, culture, social activities, and emotions. Think back to your youth, how did your family view meal times? We’re they positive or negative?

Did your parents or family members reward you with sweets or your favorite meal? Did they withhold sweets or favorite meals as a punishment, discipline or as a tool to try to get you to behave a certain way?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of those questions you may need to reevaluate how you relate to food. If you find that you turn to food when you are bored, want to reward yourself, celebrate or are
frustrated with yourself, again, you may need to relearn new relationships to food.

Many of us either view food in attachment to either a reward or a punishment. That was never the intention for food.

Our modern worldly culture has shifted the focus onto the food and it’s consumption as a copping method. For example, many times we don’t know what to do or say or how to act when we are in a social setting, but we do know how to eat, so eat we do! So if we don’t know what to do or say or how to act or how to just simply sit and be the in those circumstance we are actually training ourselves to have a food issue. We are training ourselves to turn to food instead of navigate our emotions in a
healthy way.

Here’s the good news, YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this pattern, it has literally become the American way!  But it doesn’t have to be the way of your future!

How do we relearn and create healthy, balanced & loving relationships with food? Well a great way to begin is to become fully aware of your pattern. Begin to journal on when you turn to food. When do you crave or desire your favorite foods, especially sweets? Pay close attention to when you invest in food as a reward or when you punish yourself with food or over food. Are you using food to self sabotage?

Next create a list of healthy nurturing ways to reward or sooth yourself. A good definition of a healthy pattern is one that magnifies your health, wellness, balance and long term happiness!  

Turn to healthy patterns and re-educate yourself on what alternate actions to take. Then it is up to you to take one step at a time!