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What is the Purpose of Food?

All of my clients have answered with this some version of this phrase. “The purpose of food is to fuel my body.” Yet most of them have a conflicted or straight up mean relationship with food and their bodies.


You are not a car that needs to be filled with the same gasoline every day. Try to think about all the different reasons for eating. Sometimes we eat in response to hunger. Sometimes we eat to escape a negative emotion such as boredom, frustration or anxiety. Sometimes we eat in celebration. Sometimes we eat to give our body vital nutrients and make it stronger and healthier. Sometimes we eat because it is socially expected in that situation. Most people sometimes eat because there is food available and they didn’t have any plan to eat (donuts in the break room anyone).


The thought “food is fuel” is probably not helping you achieve the relationship you want with food and your body.


I prefer the thought that food can serve different functions. Sometimes I eat to celebrate and because food is fun. Sometimes I eat to give my body nutrients and increase my vitality. Sometimes I eat to support my long-term health goals. Those ways of thinking about food release the guilt and judgement associated with eating food for a different purpose than just fueling my body.


Your struggle with food is NOT about food. It is about your THOUGHTS about food and/or your body. When your thoughts make you feel bad you aren’t motivated to take actions that produce your desired results. You probably judge yourself and beat yourself up mentally and then break down and eat some junk food to feel better.


Here is the pattern:

Try to willpower through eating healthy or dieting

Tell yourself how it is your fault that you aren’t skinny/healthy/at your pre-baby weight etc.

Feel deprived and helpless

Eat or drink something to feel better


You are a human and this is what we do when we don’t know how to manage our mind to create different results. There is nothing wrong with you! It is not hard to change your patterns of thinking and change your relationship with food. You just need to think differently about eating and your body.

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