Have you ever said to yourself, “Why did I just eat that? I wasn’t hungry? “ Our relationship with food is complex. It’s emotional, relational and even spiritual. We eat when we are happy, alone, bored or upset with our boss. We can eat to satisfy a spiritual hunger, feeling empty and without purpose in our lives. Food does more than simply nourish the body, a reason why our relationship with it must be healthy. In my book, Press Pause Before You Eat, I say that food is not our enemy or meant to be our substance of battle. Yet so many have developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Are you one of those many people? Test yourself with these questions.
Answer True or False to each question:
1. Do I constantly think about food, my body or my weight?
2. Does the thought of eating make me feel anxious?
3. Am I afraid I’ll get fat?
4. Do I keep eating when I’m not physically hungry?
5. Am I having trouble knowing if I am physically hungry?
6. Do I eat until I feel sick?
7. Do I weigh myself several times a day or week?
8. Am I upset if I miss exercising?
9. Do I think that controlling the food portions I eat makes me a better person?
10.Do I make myself throw up after I’ve eaten?
11. Have I taken laxatives to lose weight?
12. Do I use weight loss products?
13. Do I feel like food has taken control of me?
14. Do I eat when I feel unpleasant emotions?
15. Do I hate my body?
All false or only #3 True - No Food Issues: Congratulations! You have a healthy relationship with food. You understand that food is used to nourish the body and is not to be abused or used in emotionally unhealthy ways.
True for # 3, 4, 5, 12, 14 - Mild Food Issues: You have a few unhealthy attitudes toward eating and food and need to press pause and rethink your relationship towards food. If you aren’t careful, you could move from mild concerns about food, weight and body issues to more serious ones.
If answer more than these questions TRUE, it places you in the major food issues category.
Major Food Issues: Your answers indicate that you have several unhealthy attitudes towards eating and food. Because of this, it would be wise to reassess your relationship to food. It might be helpful to talk to a mental health professional as you could develop an eating disorder, be at the beginning of a food obsession or feel out of control with food issues.
True for all answers or all but #3, 5, 12 and 14 - Serious Issues and Need Help: Based on your responses, you could have an eating disorder or show early signs of developing one. The sooner you do something about your attitudes and feelings toward food, the more you can avoid falling prey to unhealthy patterns. Call a mental health professional and get an evaluation today!