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Each month at Quay Place we focus on an emotional or physical need. Just as we have physical needs for food, drink, sleep and movement, we have emotional needs too which need to be met for us to stay well. The month of March is all about food and drink. Food and drink should be one of life’s pleasures; beyond just eating to live, experiencing new tastes, the feeling of being nourished, and the sense of community which comes from eating and drinking with others.

But what if you want to make changes to your eating and drinking habits to improve your health? Given how easy it is to lift our mood with food and drink, especially in an environment where foods high in fats and sugars are so easy to get our hands on, it’s worth asking ourselves which needs we are feeding?    

Letting go of any guilt

First things first: chastising ourselves over eating and drinking serves no purpose, especially if we want to change to become healthier. Getting motivated to make beneficial changes is all about staying focussed on how good we’re going to feel – and making sure that we still enjoy our food.

In other words, we need to tap into emotions which give us the fuel for change; how empowered are you going to feel when you have more control over eating and drinking? Imagine how much more energy you’re going to have. How amazing will you feel when you achieve change?   

Listening to nature

Even little ones know when they need feeding, when they need to drink and when they need to sleep. Hunger, thirst and tiredness are nature’s way of telling us what we need. But how many of us are switched on to what we need emotionally?

If we’re going to make changes to the way we eat and drink, then we need to pay attention to which need we are feeding. Are we rewarding ourselves with cakes and biscuits for getting through meetings at work or the end of the day? Are we staving off boredom or feelings of loneliness with sugary foods or a glass of wine? Many of us easily fall into the habit of meeting emotional needs in this way, and becoming aware of it is the first step towards making change.

Becoming aware of what we eat

The good news is, we are becoming more aware of how and when we mix up physical needs for food and drink with emotional needs. Everyday phrases like ‘comfort eating’ and ‘hangry’ (meaning getting angry when we’re hungry), tell us that we’re becoming more aware of the difference.

So check in with yourself. Ask, do you fancy something sweet because you’re missing companionship? Can you call a friend and enjoy a meal together? Do you need to make time to pick up a new challenge or get back into a hobby you’ve been ignoring? Ask yourself, what need am I feeding?