I’m writing this on Thanksgiving morning, but it holds true at all times.
Many of us feel we lose control of our food choices in family situations. Once we recognize a powerful association, we can control our food choices.
We eat the most volume of food when we are with family or friends.
We seem to not eat desserts or high calorie side items except when we are in a social situation with family or friends.
The problem is typically that we equate food with love. I’ve noticed this years ago. As a child, my grandparents would be excited if I finished my whole plate of food.
My mom is the same way, and when she prepares a meal for my daughters and they finish the meal and ask for seconds, she is excited.
We mistakenly think that food is love. We make the mistake of showing our love to our children and grandchildren by giving them sweets and desserts. We make the mistake of thinking we will hurt someone’s feelings by not eating the food they have prepared for us.
I spoke about this with a patient this week. This gentleman started off weighing around 450 pounds when we first saw him.
After his LapBand surgery he did great. He got his weight down to around 370. But then he got stuck.
It took a few months and several discussions with him, but I finally recognized the pattern to his problem last week!
His problem is that in his family they show love with food!
At work, he eats very well. He usually packs a protein for the main part of his meal and has very few if any snacks.
But at home, it’s all over. He has junk food at home and can’t keep away. Why is the junk food at home? He has junk food for his child because during his weight loss journey he doesn’t think it’s fair to deprive his child of cookies, chips, and candy.
He mistakes food for love.
For meals at home on nights and weekend, his wife prepares high calorie options such as starchy dishes including pasta, and many desserts. Why?
She wants to provide for him. Because she mistakes food for love. Why does he eat it? Because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Because they mistake food for love.
This Thanksgiving, and for any social situation, try to remember: Food is not love.
Your family member or friends should not feel less of you if you don’t eat a high calorie option they have prepared.
You shouldn’t feel guilty for not providing a high calorie food for others.
Food is not love.