skip to main content

Understanding Your Relationship with Food

by Nutritionist Fiona Hunter 

Before we can begin to understand the complex relationship that most of us have with food, we need to understand that we all eat for a variety of reasons — very often out of habit or to satisfy emotional needs rather than hunger…

We use food to celebrate, to relieve boredom, to make us feel better when we're unhappy or lonely. Certain people, places, moods and situations can also prompt us to eat. Sometimes we eat to satisfy hunger, but often it's to satisfy a psychological need rather than a physiological need. Often we're unaware of the psychological cues that cause us to eat when we're not really hungry. 

Identify Your Triggers

Keeping a food diary will help you to identify the triggers that make you want to eat when you are not physically hungry. Buy a notebook and divide the pages into columns with the following headings:
 

Date, Time Food Place Who, What, Why Mood Hunger
  what you ate where you were who you were with, what you were doing, why you ate the food your mood at the time how hungry were you on a scale of 1-5, where 1 = very hungry and 5 = not hungry

Keep A Record

Keep a record of everything you eat and drink and how you feel for a month. At the end of the month review your diary and make a list of all the triggers that prompt you to eat when you're not really hungry.
 

Date, Time Food Place Who, What, Why Mood Hunger
Thurs 8th, 10.30am Choc bar Office Working - hungry, missed breakfast Ok 2
Thurs 8th, 10pm ½ tube Pringles
Bottle white wine
Home Alone - watching TV - late home from work, no energy to cook proper meal  Bored / tired 1
Sat 10th, 3pm 3 choc biscuits  Anna's House  Anna got biscuits out - not hungry but couldn't resist  Ok 5

Identify Your Triggers

Once you've identified these trigger factors you can start to think about solutions and ways to avoid those situations in future. Using a technique that psychologists call behaviour modification you can work out strategies that will help avoid or change the way you behave when faced with these triggers.

If, for instance, you find that when you get home after work you're so hungry that you end up eating a family sized pack of cheesy snacks whilst preparing the evening meal — plan ahead — have a healthy snack such as a banana or yoghurt before you leave the office so you won't be so hungry when you get home.

If your diary reveals that you use food as a way of making yourself feel better when you're unhappy or depressed make a list of non-food related activities that will help lift your spirits when you're feeling low: rent a video; have a manicure; take a a long leisurely bath rather than reaching for a chocolate bar.

Avoid Eating When You're Not Really Hungry

We all know, that when it comes to losing weight, there are no easy answers or quick fix cures. Old habits are hard to break and changing ingrained behavioural patterns is not something you can achieve overnight but by using behaviour modification techniques you can teach your body to respond differently to external cues. Here's some tips to help you get started:

How to Avoid Eating (when you're not really hungry)

Start a Free Trial Today

Eat Real Food and Still Lose Weight with Weight Loss Resources – nothing is banned! WLR makes it easy to track your calories - Take a 24hr free trial and get access to our low calorie diet plans, or build your own using our extensive calorie and nutrition database. Try it free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »

Lose a Stone for Christmas Banner Advert
Sponsored

Start a Free Trial Today

Eat Real Food and Still Lose Weight with Weight Loss Resources – nothing is banned! WLR makes it easy to track your calories - Take a 24hr free trial and get access to our low calorie diet plans, or build your own using our extensive calorie and nutrition database. Try it free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »

Imperial | Metric

How Soon Could You Lose a Stone?

Calculate »

New for 2018

Calorie Carb and Fat Bible 2018
  • 25,000+ UK basic and branded foods
  • Completely Updated for 2018
  • New Eating Out section, all major UK restaurants covered
  • Easy to find foods
  • Calories burned information

£5 discount here on wlr

Sponsored

If you enjoyed this article, try our newsletter. It's free.

Receive the latest on what works for weight loss straight to your inbox. We won't share your email address. Privacy policy