What’s Eating You?: A Lesson In Food Narcissism

Thumb through any K-12 history book and you’re bound to find Napoleon Bonaparte looking divinely debonair atop his horse after a won battle or accomplishment. History tells us to learn from not only this man’s leadership, but his unilateral reflection as well.

The infamous, “Napoleon” complex still floats around in mirrors today attempting to strip anyone of their modesty and replacing it with cold hard narcissism. Psychologists tell us narcissism exists from learned actions from those close to us or circumstances around us. (The evil queen in Snow White may also have some kind of subliminal impact as well.) Someone who exudes the traits of a narcissist usually knows it and that’s what frustrates the rest of us who have to coexist with these types. For the most part kids, I do NOT urge you to become so self-consumed you exhibit traits of a modern day Devil. Look up narcissism in the dictionary, process in your head, then quickly store and save it to the “quickest ways to hell” part of your memory.

Here is the exception…When it’s acceptable to become a narcissist. (confusing you yet?) (hypocrite? throwing tomatoes at the computer screen?) Our favorite every day four-letter word- food– has really gotten a bad rap ever since industrialized America began shooting out more HFCS than cures for things that matter. Food is an addiction, curse, burden, blessing, and a comfort. Depending on certain emotional/societal situations, it can either be your best friend or betraying lover.

Food is the epitome of the cliched love vs. hate relationship. We dote on it and then we abuse it and sometimes we are satisfied with just acting indifferent towards it. While this is all a part of life’s natural process, I feel we should all pay a little more attention to food.

If we focused our efforts on food as much as our outward appearance towards society, we’d all be in a better place. Food is about half responsible for our appearance. (The other half being genetics, which I am in no state to even be speaking on.) I say you fill up your glass past the half full line when it comes to your relationship with food. We can all be food narcissists if we choose the proper things to do it with.

My first piece of advice would be to keep a food diary and document how each piece of food (no matter if it’s bites, tastes, or full meals) makes you feel. After about 2-3 weeks of doing this, go back and review what you have said. You can tell if you’re an emotional eater, balanced eater, or a non-eater. This is the key to slowly beginning to form your new relationship with how you perceive your food.

Once you have tackled the diary, move on and identify how to remedy the situation. If a piece of chocolate cake really has you feeling so guilty that you want even more, then realize this is your threshold point. You glass is too full of the wrong thing. Before you take a bite of the chocolate cake, ask yourself a few questions. You could always opt for gum, mints, or hot chocolate instead. You can get a lot of bang for your buck and fill your cup to the top with those! Act as though the gum, mints, or hot chocolate is your face, stomach, and legs. Your eyes would look much better as mints than chocolate cake!

You can still have your Napoleon treat you love, just make sure your modesty kicks in and don’t overdo it. Your relationship with food should be treated just as caring for an infant. Once you allow yourself to be removed from your old conveyor belt consisting of body image issues and create a new conveyor belt leading to healthy narcissism, you’ll never rekindle your old food flames again.

So start rifling through the fridge and let those strawberries know how beautiful they are!

Peace, love, and full glasses of healthy narcissism!

~C.C.D.

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