Master Your Mindset

Our mindset affects every decision we make. Learning how to quit the blame game and take responsibility for how we show up is what mindset management is all about.

Do Others Affect Your Food Choices Part 1: Co-Dependent Eating


Part 1: What is Co-dependent Eating?

It’s a Tuesday night, and I have just come home from teaching my ladies only bootcamp class. When I walk in the door at 8:15pm, dinner is just coming out of the oven. I am starving from being out in the cold air, picking up dumbbells and yelling ‘Hill sprints, GO!’ and it’s all I can do not to race directly to the kitchen and scarf down my last meal of the day.

As many of you know, in our home I do 95% of the cooking – or should I say preparing – of the meals. On the three evenings a week that I teach bootcamp, I often prepare dinner and leave specific instructions with my husband on how long to put it in the oven, at which temperature and how many times to stir, turn over or check. It is our version of teamwork. I like to cook, and he is great at following directions.

The truth is that most of our daily food choices ARE affected by other people, and I think it would be insanely unrealistic to think we can change this fact. There are however; certain times when we do not need to let others affect what we put in our mouths.

We talk a ton about using our own biofeedback or body signals to dictate our daily decisions on this blog. This is the first line of defense to personalize your food and exercise choices, thus creating your own formula for success.

Basics of Using BioFeedback

Practice experiencing some hunger before each meal or snack.

When treats are served or you feel a craving, ask if the food will help you to feel great before, during and after you eat it.

Use self-awareness to determine the times of day you experience the most hunger, moodiness, fatigue or cravings.

Notice which foods satisfy your hunger and taste and which foods magnify cravings.

The dilemma occurs when our experiences with the outside world affect our ability to momentarily give up want we strive for (results) to fulfill what we want (something that instantly gratifies us). Think hanging out with friends and family, being served a huge helping of dessert, walking past a bakery with a delicious sticky cinnamon bun aroma wafting out the door…all the amazing moments that make life worth living!

How do you find balance between temptation and what you really want in the long run?

You set a mission statement about your relationship with food.

Here’s my mission statement:

I strive to enjoy everything I eat. I want to experience satisfaction, not restriction. I want to have energy for exercise and work, and I want to feel great when I put on my favourite pair of jeans.

It is this mission statement that affects all my decision making with food. Rather than tell myself: ‘My husband is having an ice cream, so that means I can have one too.’ I think this instead: I can have ice cream whenever I want, but I want to enjoy it rather than feel guilty, and I want to feel fantastic when I wake up in the morning and put on my jeans.

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There are lots of times I say no to ice cream, but this time in Milan I said YES!

I lovingly call the conundrum of letting others affect every decision we make with regards to food: Co-dependent Eating.

Certainly when we go to Thanksgiving dinner at our relatives’ home we do not always get a say in what is being served, but how about the daily treats and extra bites you take because your significant other or roommate is doing it too? Really this is the ultimate example of taking responsibility for your actions. You give those you love the permission to make choices that are important to them while you make choices that reflect your reality.

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One particularly memorable Thanksgiving dinner! Isn’t it the greatest gift to let the ones we love be exactly who they are while we get to be exactly ourselves too?

One of the areas in my own relationship with co-dependent eating that has experienced the most growth is in the area of ‘letting the other person do what they do’. Of course this idea can be applied to many things but in the realm of daily food choices? It has brought me so much peace to let my man do what works for him and thus I give myself permission to do the same.

I never feel the need to lecture him on good or bad food choices, and he doesn’t ask me ‘do you really need another…’ He doesn’t feel the need to defend why he hates fruit! Haha, and I use my knowledge of healthy food to create the best tasting meals as an expression of my love.

Here’s to listening to your body! Stay tuned for some deeper insights in Part 2 of how others affect our food choices this week.

Lana xox