Food serves many wonderful purposes in our lives. It fuels us and gives us strength. We socialize with friends and family members during meals. But we should not view food as a companion, or we risk entering into an unhealthy relationship with food. Using food for companionship is similar to emotional eating.
For instance, if you eat to celebrate something or if you eat when you are down as a way to comfort yourself, you may want to examine your current relationship with food. If you feel like you live to eat rather than eating to live, this is another red flag. So, if you suspect that you may be using food for companionship, what can you do to alter or reframe how you think about food?
Things You Will NeedA strong desire to develop a healthy relationship with food along with healthy eating patterns.
Step 1For starters, you can take a mindful approach to your eating patterns. Mindful eating is actually a great tip for anyone, not just people who want to stop using food for companionship. If you eat mindlessly, you tend to eat more food and food that is less healthy. On the other hand, if you pay attention not just to every type of food that you eat, but each individual bite, you are much more inclined to eat in a slower, calmer and healthier manner.
Step 2In addition to eating more mindfully, another way to stop using food for companionship is to choose other ways to celebrate and/or comfort yourself if you are feeling sad. There are other ways to cheer yourself up or to commemorate a positive experience. For instance, you could buy yourself something non-edible (but not terribly expensive or out of your budget).
Step 3If you would rather not buy yourself some non-edible treat as a way to reward yourself (or comfort yourself), you can always treat yourself to a phone visit with a good friend. After all, one of the best ways to stop using food for companionship is to reach out to the people you love and who love you for actual companionship instead.
Alternatively, you can do something that you know with absolute certainty will make you feel very good about yourself instantly, such as exercising or taking a walk. When you reward yourself (or comfort yourself) with a positive activity that will not cause you to feel guilty or sad about yourself, you are doing yourself an enormous favor and you are well on your way to stopping any patterns of emotional eating and/or using food for companionship.