I’ve had a full week to digest (pardon the pun) my interview with the wonderful Joanne Callan on our relationship to food.  

Before our chat I felt I had a pretty healthy relationship to food.  Now I realise that I do in fact have some conditioned thinking around certain foods.

Not long after our interview I was at a soft play area with my son and some friends.  The kids were playing and us mums enjoyed a coffee and catch up!  One of my mummy friends offered me some chocolate.  I replied with an automatic & unconscious – “No thanks, I’m trying to be good”  As soon as the words were out of my mouth I realised what I had said and made a big announcement about my realisation.  “I can’t believe I just said that”  And so I changed my response to a a simple two word answer – “No thanks”.  

Why do we always feel we need to justify our answers to others too?  And why do we associate being ‘good’ and ‘bad’ with food so much?

Since my soft play area ah-ha moment I’ve been more conscious with my language around food and when I notice old conditioned thoughts I put my 3 C’s technique to good use.  I use this technique in a lot of my course.  

For anyone new to this – the 3 C’s stand for:

C – Catch

C – Control

C – Change 

You can use the 3 C’s technique for any unhelpful or stressful thoughts you are trying to change.  I just love the fact that even though I’ve been on this journey of self-awareness for almost 15-years now, there are always deeper layers to peel away.  The learning, growing, evolving and healing is an ongoing, exciting process!

It really is unreal how much conditioning there is around food.  How we are conditioned to believe we are either being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to certain foods.  Even certain diet plans feeds into the idea that certain foods are ‘sins’ which again is making us feel ‘bad’ about eating certain food.  As Joanne pointed out – if we eat food feeling guilty we release cortisol (the stress hormone) which will make metabolising the food more difficult than if we were in a relaxed state, fully present & enjoying our food guilt-free.  This really resonated with me as I often say to the ladies in my groups/courses to enjoy food guilt free, even the chocolate cake!  Now I have the science part to back it up.

The other very significant part of our conversation was the culture/obsession with our weight as women.  Almost every diet or exercise plan focuses on our weight.  There is just no escaping it.  It’s everywhere!  We’re a society obsessed with how we look.

Thankfully growing up I never heard my mother talk about diet or her weight.  In fact, we didn’t own a set of scales in our house.  My mother never weighed herself.  She still doesn’t.  “I know from the fit of my clothes whether I’ve put on weight”  my mum would say when she felt the nip!

Joanne talks about this during our interview – that we should know by our clothes whether we’ve lost or put on weight.

After our conversation I realised that I too very rarely weigh myself.  Like my mum, I know from how my clothes feel whether my weight has changed.  There’s no doubt my mum was a positive influence to me when it came to body image, weight and food choices.  

When I feel like I’ve put on some weight, (which to be fair doesn’t fluctuate that much – maybe 5 to 7lbs here and there), I do like to weigh myself as I find it a good motivator to making positive changes to my diet.  I guess if it becomes a compulsion or affects how you feel then perhaps it’s best not to weigh yourself.  Plus as women our weight can change so much throughout the day/week/month depending on our menstrual cycle, water retention, time of day, or whether we’ve poo’d or not (yes, this is a thing).

Finally, we spoke about the whole wellness culture we’re currently living.  Whilst Joanne and I are advocates of this, we also recognise  that some of the messages can be unhealthy and unhelpful, for example, the ‘free-from’ range of foods usually contain chemicals so they aren’t necessarily the healthiest choice. 

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Joanne – “count chemicals, not calories” 

Hope you enjoy our ‘Mind, Body, Food’ conversation.