Are there certain things you just can’t say no to?
Maybe it’s the shortbread like your Nana used to make or that special pasta recipe. Those foods that mean so much to you they are in a whole different category of “comfort” foods.
It might be that you just really enjoy them when you have them, or it may be that they are so powerful for you that you just can’t stop. If you are slimming or overweight, then this is a problem.
Humans are unique in their ability to create and give meaning to things. Food at its most correct meaning is simply sustenance for the body, a necessity of life, calories, energy, nutrients, the building blocks of cells.
However when combined in certain ways in certain recipes and it can become something completely different.
A cake for a celebration, Mum’s chicken soup to make me better. We can imbue inanimate things with abstract meanings and make the thing stand in for, or even become the meaning.
For example, I go nuts over tea. Herbal tea is fine, but my favourite is plain English breakfast tea with soy milk. No sugar. I drink a few more cups a day than I probably should, and I had never really thought about it, until I did my Meta-Coaching training 2 years ago. One of the techniques allows us to investigate pleasure and how we create pleasure in our lives. I was the demo for a technique, and we analysed the pleasure I got from tea. It was really interesting just how much I got from tea!
At the initial sensory level, I enjoyed everything about it. There was the ritual of making the tea, boiling the jug, the smell of the tea from the jar, the sound of the teapot or spoon against the ceramic cup. The warmth of it in my hands, and on my tongue and in my belly.
Then on the meta-level, (the higher level of meaning and abstraction) I had unconsciously associated a stack of personal meanings and memories to drinking tea. One memory that sticks out is sitting in bed on the weekend with my Mum, Dad and sister, all of us drinking tea in bed together watching the TV. That memory gives me a warm glow. I attach the abstract meanings of “Good times”, “Family”, “Relaxation”, to drinking tea. Whenever my family get together, the first thing we do is put on the jug and make a cup of tea. Sometimes we even call or text ahead, to say “put on the jug, I’ll be there soon.” Tea and Quality Family Time are totally associated and anchored together in my mind.
Do you have foods or drinks that are associated with Fun? Family? Love? What comes to mind?
If you have foods that are associated with a meaning like that, they become much more than just food. And then giving up the food unconsciously becomes the same in your mind as giving up that abstract thing. If Chocolate equals Love in your mind, it’s no wonder you want it all the time and have a hard time giving it up!
The first step to unravelling this is to become aware of the abstract meanings you have attached to your favourite foods. Why are they your favourite? Then, realising that the food is NOT the meaning you give it. That is completely up to you. You initially associated these things unconsciously, now when you are aware of what is happening, you could just as easily make broccoli mean love, or salad mean Quality Time.
Wouldn’t that make healthy eating easier?
Discover Your Food Pleasure Map
Reflect and write out the answers to these questions.
If you actively go through those questions writing the answers and making the mental changes, you will notice some pretty incredible changes that are possible with those foods.
Give it a go and write a comment about your results!
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