Time and time again people link particular food memories to their present experiences. The foods we eat and reasons for eating them are rooted in ritual, tradition and memory- bound together by our identity.
What happens when we repeatedly turn to food in a bid to recreate how we feel at a particular moment in time? Chances are it could become an issue that could lead to weight gain.
LighterLife psychotherapist Mandy Cassidy says that we first begin relationships with food as a form of survival at birth. ‘Problems arise as we grow older,’ she says. ‘We find ourselves eating time and time again in an attempt to fill a void or deal with complex emotions, often linked to our childhoods’.
How is our relationship with food linked to parent/child relationships from our past?
As a child your parent dictates your actions. Does anyone remember being told they couldn’t ‘leave the table’ until every last bite of their meal was eaten up? How about the classic line ‘don’t waste your food – there are starving children in the world’?
These messages were reinforced to us when we were children and followed us into our adulthood. As a child we were repeatedly told that leaving food on your plate makes you ‘bad’ and ‘selfish’, whilst eating everything up makes you a ‘good’ boy or girl. Experiencing such feelings is a result of being in the child ego state.
As an adult we need to learn to make our own decisions. It’s no longer necessary to respond to outdated messages from childhood. Instead we should now be in our adult ego state – at a meal we should be able to rationally decide when we are full, and when to stop eating.
At LighterLife we often find that many of our clients can identify with the parent/child ego states. It’s often the case that such messages are carried over from childhood, making people think they need to accept and consume any food on offer.
The LighterLife Programme teaches clients to separate from their child ego state and enter the adult ego state – as a result, clients learn that it’s ok to say no to food!