Food & Relationship

Whether or not we like to admit it, our relationships with the important people in our lives has an impact on our relationship with food…and vice versa.


Think about all the reasons you eat.


The one you expect us to say here as a fitness company is “to fuel our body”, of course… but there are other reasons we eat that may not be so apparent.


In this article we’ll focus on these less obvious reasons we turn to food and how they can be linked to the relationships we have with the important people in our lives.


Main Emotional Reasons for Eating


  • Many of us search for comfort in our food. After all, food is always there for us, even in the worst of times. Imagine you’ve just broken up with your longtime partner. Are you reaching for the ice cream? OR the carrots and hummus that night…? Exactly.



  • Some try to protect themselves by eating (or not eating). This is referring to disordered eating. Many individuals who suffer from eating disorders are able to trace them back to periods of time in which they were being abused-emotionally, physically, or sexually. When an individual has extreme periods of binging or restriction, this is likely a temporary mask that distracts from their unmet needs.



  • Some stuff themselves with food to help “stuff” their emotions. Eating can be an easy distraction from conflict, or take the place of uncomfortable interactions such as self-assertion or direct confrontation. For example, it’s easy to imagine someone choosing to eat a brownie (or two) to distract them from getting in a verbal argument with their spouse.



Relationship Reasons for Eating

As humans, we have a natural tendency to mirror the behaviors of those around us, as well as seek their approval. This is especially true of the people we love. Let’s take a moment to focus on how these patterns are also true when it comes to our eating styles.

The Mismatch

  • The mismatch happens when you align your eating style with someone (often a partner/significant other) yet you have very different lifestyles and, let’s face it, very different genetic makeups. One may be tall and naturally thin and works a desk job all day. The other is shorter with an athletic build and on their feet all day for work. Your two body types and lifestyles require very different fueling strategies.


The Provider

  • In this scenario you are the one cooking the meals for your family. You make a conscious effort to serve what your family loves to eat, because you want to make them happy! Suppose your partner’s favorite meal is Taco Tuesday, but maybe that makes it harder for you to eat how you would like. Often people in this situation are conflicted trying to make others happy while also doing what’s best for them and their health and fitness goals.


The Food Pushers

  • We’ve all been there. “You’ve got to try grandma’s brownies!” “Oh, just one bite!” “You’re not drinking tonight?” Many times in social settings food that we would not normally eat, or that won’t help lead to meeting our goals, is pushed on us. Peer pressure is real and as hard as it sometimes is to not give in, keeping your goals and making values based actions in the front of your mind will help you in these situations.


The Food Club


  • As our social lives return to normal, this one becomes more and more common. Meeting up for drinks and apps, or at a coffee shop for a latte and your favorite baked good can create tough decisions. After all, food can be such a central part of relationships and many times we make choices based on our emotions. Again, keeping your goals mind and weighing out what you’re willing to sacrifice will lead you to making the best decision for YOU.


It can be overwhelming to think that you might have multiple relationships in your life contributing to either poor or unwanted food choices. Take it one relationship at a time. Work on small changes. Each good choice you make leads you to more successful eating habits and closer to your goals.


For example, instead of meeting up for Mexican and margaritas on Wednesday nights with your best bud, why not try the new neighborhood grill that offers a wider variety of foods to choose from.


Instead of meeting up for coffee and pastries, why not get your coffee to go and take a walk with your friend?


We understand it can be tough to have these conversations with loved ones and friends. The power of peer pressure is real and can derail you in certain situations. Make sure you check out some of Erin’s other articles about these topics and more. Above all else though, remember-every time you make a healthy decision, values based decision, you are one step closer to reaching your long-term goals!


Want help figuring out how to navigate these conversations and pitfalls? Getting a professional to ask the tough questions and help guide you through this can be extremely helpful. Click Here to work with our Powell Performance staff to figure out your triggers and teach you ways to fix them!

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