Having a Healthy Relationship with Food

November 11, 2016
Primary Care Physicians - Mercy Medical Center - Baltimore

Mercy internist Dr. Dana Simpler who has a special interest in diet/nutrition/fitness, explains how people can achieve and maintain a healthy relationship with food -- to not see it as the enemy, or as a too-close friend, to avoid emotional eating, etc.

The problem is there are different behavior types of healthy/unhealthy eating. There are people who are simply misinformed, and once given good nutrition advice can change their eating habits with relative ease. Never easy, but, more doable for some folks. Then there are people who are basically food 'addicts', where they cannot seem to stop themselves, even when they know it is so bad for them and are trying to not eat the dangerous foods.

For example, a patient with diabetes who continues to drink sugared beverages and eat sweets. Then there are people who make a conscious decision to ignore good nutrition advice. For example, I hear patients say "I know bacon is bad for me and causes cancer, but, I'm going to eat it anyway". Those folks are simply not ready for any change;  how do you deal with very deep seeded behaviors and behavioral problems?

Here are a few ideas that have worked for some of my patients with food addictions:

  1. If you know you are a food addict and you really want to change your behavior, make yourself an accountability group. One of my patients with serious food addictions created an email group of close friends and family. Everyday, he sends an email to the group and reports whether he had a good or bad eating day. Despite having many bad eating days, he still was able to lose 50 pounds and get off all of his Insulin. 
  2. If you are in a relationship, try to work together as a couple. Nothing sabotages efforts to change eating habits more than a nonsupportive spouse or partner. Even if one of you doesn't need to lose weight, you can still be supportive by not bringing home the risky foods, allowing the house to be 'junk food/dangerous food - free'. 
  3. If you are single and live alone, make your home a safe eating environment. Do not bring your addictive food into the house at all.
  4. Don't use children as an excuse to have snacks and junk food in your home - they don't need it anymore than you do!

-- Dana S Simpler, M.D., Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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