SJ is a relationship counsellor, who trained with “Relate” and now works in a private practice. She has personally been a yo-yo dieter, a diet club consultant(!) and a sugar addict, so she really knows how to help people with weight problems and poor relationships with food.
In this podcast, SJ talks about her own relationship with food and how her role as a consultant for a well known slimming company first made her question the ‘eat less and you’ll lose weight’ mantra. She felt that the ritual of going through the pounds lost, or more often the pounds not lost, was a form of fat shaming, but it did give her further insights into the mindset of dieting.
When SJ has a couple in her counselling sessions, fascinatingly and unusually, she asks them about their diet. She explains in this podcast that food impacts our mental health and so it must impact our mood and our relationships with partner, friends and family. We’re not connecting with people when we feel numb from using food to avoid emotions – as a drug. Intimacy is a challenge for any addict – food addicts are no different.
SJ talks about our relationship with our self and our relationship with food and how we use food in so many ways: to celebrate; to reward; to punish; because we’re depressed; or bored… We have so many positive and negative connections to food, SJ wants us to be aware of these connections and to know what’s going on when we open the fridge…
Mental health issues have grown in tandem with epidemics of diabetes and obesity. SJ sees the connection between them: “we didn’t have depression, anxiety, ADHD when I was younger. Maybe the odd ‘naughty boy.’” SJ sees the root cause as nutrient deficiency – we may be obese, but we’re still starved of nutrients.
This is a warm and gentle exploration of our relationship with food.