This week we introduce the notion of falling into a Victim relationship with food during the holidays. The co-author is Donna’s daughter, McKenzie Zajonc, MS, CN, LMHC. She is clinically trained in Whole Foods Nutrition and Psychology and her practice is committed to helping clients live their most nutritious lives. You may find McKenzie at www.innernutritionist.com.
Humans are hard-wired to love fat, salt, and sugar—which can be difficult to balance if you have more than enough food to temp you this holiday season. Because of your hard-wiring, it can be easy to get stuck on the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and be in a Victim relationship with food during the holidays (and anytime of the year for that matter).
If you feel victimized in your relationship with food, you may chalk up your “food problem” to a character defect, lack of willpower, something inherently wrong with you, or a whole host of other self-criticizing thoughts. Rather than identifying with these inner-persecuting stories, it is possible to relate to food through the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach.
Embracing your Creator essence means telling yourself the truth, and when it comes to food, the truth may surprise you. It is a fact that your human tongue is designed to like fat, salt, and sugar. Imagine, if you can, that in the distant past, human beings lived outside and hunted and gathered full time for food. When they came across a berry bush, if it tasted bitter, there was a good chance it was a toxic alkaloid (poisonous). If it was sweet, it was most likely safe to eat, which meant your ancestors cultivated taste buds that were partial to sweets.
Without Google or textbooks as a guide, it was the human tongue that influenced life or death decisions on what to eat. The same can be said for fat and salt. Fat represents the most concentrated form of energy known to your body and salt is the most essential electrolyte for your cells. Our ancestors needed plenty of both to survive.
If your tongue could speak it would say: “Eat those fatty, sugary, savory foods and eat a lot of them because who knows when you will find more!” Without realizing it, your body still “says” this today, especially when hovering over the holiday table.
Fast forward to our current time. You live in the same primal body but, oh my, has the food supply changed! This explains how you can easily fall Victim to your relationship with food.
An aspect of being a Creator—the central role in TED*—is telling the truth about your reality. The reality is that, over thousands of years, the human body has not changed all that much and is naturally drawn to the fatty, salty, creamy, sugary foods so prevalent during the holidays.
If you identify with these cravings, seeing this reality for yourself without judgment or blame (because this is the human experience) can help you be with this tension rather than making it a problem. Understanding there is a reason for your biological cravings is a step forward in making empowered choices, rather than feeling powerless in the face of so many holidays sweets and other goodies.
You can start making more empowered food choices by asking yourself questions, like:
- Is this what I really want to eat?
- Does this food even taste good?
- Is there something else I’d rather have?
- Is there something other than food that I need now?
- Which of the holiday foods do I really love and choose to spend my time with and which can I let go?
As you pause and allow your “inner Coach” to guide you by asking these questions, you can move beyond feeling victimized by the holiday treats and be “at choice” to what you consume and why—as a Creator!