Friendship is a vital thing. As social beings, we are meant to stay together in packs, and what helps keep us bonded with other beings, unlike our primates, is a like interest in different things. Things get a little tricky when that like interest turns out to be food. How many times do chats with your mates look kind of like this…?
“Hey! Free tonight? Let’s grab a bite!”
“This movie is going to be the bomb dot com – one large caramel popcorn, a soda and a candy bar, please! Wait, do you want anything?”
“This day has been a disaster, can’t wait for dinner, I’m raiding my fridge and the kitchens of my neighbors.”
“The buffet looks good, let’s load up the plates before they run out of all the good stuff!”
As we are social beings, it can be pretty easy for us to make friends with the right kind of people. With that being said, it’s surprising how tough it gets for us to be friends with the right kind of food.
For some of us, our relationship with food seems to be quite toxic. We expect chocolates and three-course dinners on a date, and when those dates go all to hell, we seek solace in more chocolates and more comfort food. Everything, from billboards to peers, and even social decorum points us in the direction of food. Any food. Food is probably the most lucrative industry in the world –it can sell cookies, sodas, chips and ice-creams to otherwise smart eaters simply by slapping on the word ‘diet’ in the prefix. We have found a way to make food social to the extent that it has become a hook-point for social occasions.
In a world of food envy, #foodporn, and food bloggers, we are stuck between a rock and a dinner table when it comes to making the right choices and portion control. So, how do we turn a toxic relationship around?
Treat food as you would fuel. Think of your body as your car. On days when you’ve parked it for hours, you don’t fill the tank to max because it’s unnecessary. Fuel is expensive stuff. You instead fill up on water, especially if the car is parked out in the sun. Coolant is priority in this country. But if you’re planning a road trip, you’d ready to shell out the extra cash and fill the tank up because you know you’ll need it. When you’re smart and frugal with your car, why not with your own body? The days you work out, allow yourself a little extra grub just to keep you going, and when you’re taking a day’s rest, give your complete body a rest –including your stomach.
Food is a human necessity, but there’s a big difference between eating to live and living to eat. Calorie-counting is a great way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body, and why. Apps like My Fitness Pal, Noom and Google Fit can help you understand how to get your portions right for the amount of activity you’re looking to do in the day. Here’s a tip –do a thing for at least 20 days, and before you know it, it becomes a habit. Plough through with your calorie-counting and you’ll not only understand how your diets have been, but also gauge how to make them better. Craving something? No sweat – wait 20 minutes before you reach for your candy bar. It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to process what we need to eat, and what we don’t, and cravings tend to subside in that time. Drinking at least 40ml of water per kg of your weight is another way to feel full longer. And toss the ‘diet’ foods – smart choices are the name of the game. If you ever feel like you’re missing out, just substitute. Go dark with your chocolate, go for green tea instead of black tea with milk, and switch out cheeses and butter for peanut and hazelnut butters in your sandwich.
It’s time to toss a toxic relationship with food, and rekindle a new friendship with the ideal choices for your body. Realize your needs, and only eat just as much as you need. You’ll be surprised at how many new things you have time to try doing when you’re not going to restaurants for dinner, cafés for brunch and raiding the fridge on movie night. Let’s not eat for comfort or entertainment, there are warm blankets, friends and movies for that.