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Our relationship with food

Our relationship with food is lifelong and influenced by friends, family, culture and years of programming. You only have to offer prawns to a White Brit for breakfast to see that our tastes are shaped by our heritage! So, whilst it’s tempting to suggest that food is simply fuel it’s actually far more complicated: what, when and why we eat is about more than fuelling our bodies.

Eating is also a social ritual: if you’ve ever been taken out for dinner then you’ll know that the meal was about much more than fuelling-up. Likewise, if you’ve ever reached for the ice cream after an argument, had chips because you felt like a treat, headed for the fridge because you were bored, or been so wound up you didn’t want to eat at all, then you’ll know that mood and food often go hand in hand.

We eat for fun, for comfort, for fuel and to socialise, and given that it’s a daily necessity, it’s hardly surprising that we can find ourselves in a love-hate relationship with the stuff. Nowadays, with one quarter of the UK adult population seriously overweight and eating disorders apparently on the rise, like it or not, finding ways to enjoy food and live well is more important than ever.

For some of us, our relationship with food and can get really tricky. Lots of us eat for comfort but find the relief it brings short-lived. It can be easy to get into a cycle of eating to feel better and feeling worse as a result: "I feel crap…" "I eat to comfort myself…" "I worry about putting on fat…" "I feel crap…" and so on. Similarly, some of us find ourselves in vicious cycles where we go on special diets in an attempt to sculpt our bodies, or to feel better about life, but end up finding things getting out of control. When things get out of hand in these ways and a pattern sets in, it’s time to wonder whether the problem has become an Eating Disorder.

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