How to determine what your relationship to food is unhealthy?

Often people take their psychological problems to the spiritual. For example, you have fallen into pride and lack of humility when the issue is actually in low self-esteem. Unexpected — psychological — side theme sinful conditions opens a new book publishing house "Nike" "On the passions and temptations. Answers psychologists". About the passions of gluttony and fornication and how they affect the rest of the passion, says co-author Natalia Yining.Natalia Yining — lecturer at the faculty of psychology of Moscow state University named after M. V. Lomonosov, the Orthodox Institute of Saint John the theologian Russian Orthodox University.In 2005 he graduated with honors from the faculty of psychology of Moscow state University. M. V. Lomonosov at the Department of "personality psychology". The author of the courses "personality Psychology", "Psychology of religion" "Psychology of faith", "Psychological counseling", etc. Reads a course of lectures on practical psychology for courses of improvement of qualification of the clergy of Moscow under the Moscow Orthodox theological Academy. Developed and hosted "Saved" author's program "Tochka Opory" (2007-2009). Author of several publications in scientific and popular publications. Field of interest — psychology of personality, psychology of religion, developmental psychology, psychology of creativity.

Food as a marker of the relationship with ourselves

— Natalia Vladimirovna, probably not people who would not like to eat. This means that each of us is prone to gluttony?

— Not at all. Food is God's blessing and a natural human need. And the passion of gluttony occurs only when you care about food, about your body becomes the center of life. For example, if a person is carefully considering what he would eat for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, mentally lost in his imagination the details of the menu, constantly goes shopping in search of some special ingredients and seasonings, and it takes the lion's share of his time, he should seriously think about gluttony, about why they possessed this passion. But if we eat to strengthen your body, replenish your strength, then this is a completely normal process, not related to gluttony.

Very often the attitude toward food is a token of my relationship with myself, with others, with the world, as well as relations with the body in an indicator of psychological health, the extent to which the person is in a harmonious state. Eating disorders in this sense often reflect inner problems of man.

Take a well-known disease — anorexia (when one eats hardly anything and it feels too thick) and bulimia (eating everything indiscriminately and then tests a state of near poisoning, and the horrific guilt and self-loathing).

In my practice there was a case when for anorexia in young girls was hiding not desire to look like slim models on the covers of glossy magazines and a huge distrust of the world and fear of people. Her mother was a woman of extremely domineering and controlling. She constantly watched what reads in that dressing and who befriends her daughter. The girl responded in a destructive way — just cold Turkey (at the beginning of therapy, she ate only seeds and candy). Obviously, an unhealthy relationship to food was the only way to shut out the world, and the real cause of the suffering girl had a severe mental condition, stress, anxiety, distrust of people and fear of life.

My other client, who suffered from bulimia, this method solved the problem of deep dissatisfaction with oneself and the simultaneous desire to be in the middle of it. She was bossy and temperamental woman, was being manipulated all their loved ones, and their she was much: parents, brother, sister, husband, two children. And all she was trying to manage, required all before it reported, but constantly complained about loved ones who, according to her, without her can't handle.

Unfortunately, a strong desire to dominate and control is common. In fact, this desire may be hiding deep-seated fear and anxiety that gave rise to such overbearing controlling behavior.

One more distortion of the normal relationship to food is excessive focus on their health. Now, for example, in the fashion of a healthy lifestyle. Lot of talk about it, write, conduct various seminars, are programs that help to lose weight, supporters of a healthy lifestyle, join clubs and support groups. And it all boils down to what quantity of proteins, fats, carbohydrates a person consumes, how it affects their physical well-being, its level of sugar.

Taking care of your health naturally, but if we are not talking about the treatment from a serious illness, and on prevention, it is unlikely that the person it may take more than 10-15 per cent of the time from all his worries. For example, I have very nice colleagues who are taking care of yourself, bring a box of buckwheat porridge and at lunchtime do not go to the cafeteria and eat your cereal, but the rest of the time they don't even think about this box, and busy. Wonderful!

And if a person is passionate about a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, there are serious unresolved domestic issues, he concentrates on this topic, begins to calculate calories to build the graphs for each day and hour devotes himself to a healthy lifestyle. Everything is flipped upside the head: not a healthy lifestyle for man, and man for a healthy lifestyle, the body serves me and I serve the body. And it just pushes us to the passion of gluttony.

Natalia Yining. Photo: Ivan Jabiru

— How can we find a way out of such conditions?

— Since the real problem of the person in such a situation is not the food per se, but his state of mind, in a deep loss of connection with yourself, with your life, very often — in dislike of yourself and the fear of life, it makes sense not to dwell on the problem of food, and to solve the deeper existential tasks of life, feelings, goals, meanings, emotions, the difficulties that stand in the way. Then gradually the topic of food ceases to be important — the food starts to occupy the place that should, and needs it just to maintain our body.

To help this person maybe a good therapist. That doesn't mean he's a substitute priest. The therapist does not struggle with the passions — he has another problem, different language, different terminology. It is designed to help people clear the "psychological debris" so that they do not interfere with the spiritual development of the individual.

There are spiritual forces, the spiritual ascent of man must be supported by psychological health. Sometimes, people years in the confessional lists the same sins that cannot be overcome with willpower, self-discipline, or the inclusion of common sense. Of course, in this case it is necessary to understand the reasons, and it often happens that these reasons are in the plane of psychology: for example, it may be anxiety, fear, lack of contact with them. While we do not provide the conditions under which a person begins to understand themselves, to hear themselves, to be attentive to yourself (which helps the therapist), it is useless to work with the whole multiplicity of issues.

The trigger mechanism of the passions

— Why the passion of gluttony was considered by the Holy fathers of the first eight passions?

The first — not the most important (the most important, as we remember, it's pride). Gluttony is a kind of door to passions. When we opened it, the soul includes and other of passion.

Recall that the first temptation of Christ, when he fasted in the wilderness forty days, it was food-related. The devil offered Christ to turn stones into bread and eat them, satisfy your hunger, and we remember that Christ answers: "Not by bread alone will man live, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).

Moreover, the first temptation in Paradise has also been associated with eating. Sin entered into man, in his nature when Adam ate the Apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, located in the center of Paradise. What is "evil" and what is "good", defines God, and man receives this knowledge given to him by the Lord, in humility and obedience. It's not about obedience, trust, for only in mutual trust is possible true obedience. The obedience of Adam, do not partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is an act of trust and love to God, to their Creator.


However, if a person violates the unity of chastity, trust and love that permeated the relationship of the first man and his Creator before the fall, his soul is born a doubt, is a crafty juggling, in which the forbidden fruit becomes a coveted benefit. The Ruse is discovered, but it's too late. The whole life of fallen humanity is an attempt to return to God, to overcome this terrible gap.

What happens immediately after the fall? Naturally, it is found that any of the coveted good, which had been waiting for, no, man fails, and this creates fear, anxiety and escape. We can say that at this point begins the same psychology — the psychology of fallen man — which we as psychologists have to deal with.

It is a fear of future, doubt in yourself, in your abilities, distrust of others, an attempt by the government to replace faith, attempt wealth to replace love and so on and so forth. Passion has prevailed over a man just because he is not opposed to lust, and have not been faithful to their Creator.

Food — the easiest, most obvious, most natural, which is always before us. By itself, the food, the eating more is not a passion, but can it become if we lose touch with God, lose loyalty to Him, succumb to false desires, mirages that promise us pleasure, but always lie. That is why the Holy fathers say that gluttony is the trigger that launches all the other passions.

— And how does this trigger?

Take for example the passion, typical of many — conceit, arrogance. It is associated with gluttony? The child asks: "Want some of that crispy crust" or "I Want this very crispy chicken leg...". In General, a slice is tastier and more. The familiar picture! Such a self-centered desire: the best for me. In childhood innocence, and growing up, a person belongs to himself, the beloved, same — me, me, me.

If gluttony has a hold of us, if this is the first door in the human soul is open, it will include other passions and greed, and avarice, and despair. I would not risk it's safe to say (although I as a psychologist it's clear), if I had not read many of the Holy fathers of the Church. And from a psychological point of view this is absolutely true, because the submission of passion will inevitably lead to the loss itself, and therefore to anxiety that will force the person to save money, to save money, even if it's not necessary, not to share with others because of fear of tomorrow, for lack of faith, fear of life, pushing in a depression, despondency.

In General, I believe that any passion is deep fear, distrust, anxiety, and desire something to stock or something else to insure, and globally is the loss of connection with being, ability to love and to trust not only God and people, but also himself.

— How does a healthy relationship to food in daily life?

I would say that a healthy example of a relationship to food can be called a monastery meals: in monasteries usually eat simple foods in small portions, from the table up quickly.

I was told about the meals on mount Athos. Time allotted for the meal, only enough to be able to eat what is served to the table. There is no way to talk to a neighbor or to savor the food. Quickly refreshed ourselves and went — each returned to his obedience. This is a normal relationship to food: it strengthens the body, and does not subordinate the man himself.

— But in the monasteries on holidays on the tables is generous and delicious food...

True, but festive meal never food. This joint being, in which we rejoice in each other. If it's breaking fast, enjoy God, eat with gratitude, with love, tenderly. In this case see each other, feel the joy of another. And then the meal becomes a joy, a continuation of the last supper.

The same can be said for the tradition of hospitality, of hospitality. Hospitality is a virtue, because I treat guest. Not for myself, I bake pies, and for a guest try the last piece to give him ready. And then just the food is transformed from a curse to a blessing.

The meal is blessed, when it is done in love, in the care of another, in thanksgiving — it is no coincidence that religious people begin a meal with prayer and end with prayer, emphasizing that the meaning of the meal not comes down to food, he is deeper. We want to share with the guest not only food, but warmth, happy to see him and hope that joy is mutual.

However, when people gather around the table not to see each other, enjoy the meeting, socialize, and just to eat, enjoy culinary delights, what happens next? Any quarrels, conflicts, fighting, indecent fantasies, flirt, lust, it really depends on the degree of depravity. The man topples into his flesh, in lust, in the instincts.

To overcome lust is possible only by faith and the will to make a decision to exercise self-discipline, to understand, to what consequences it leads, if not to stop myself. To commit this act, say to yourself "stop" helps, of course, not the body, and the mind.

“Anesthesia” sexual addiction

— Fornication — same nature, passion, and gluttony, it has a similar mechanism of development?

— There is a difference, it mainly lies in the consequences of passion. The glutton's only hurting herself. Gluttony is relationship with yourself. And fornication harm not only themselves, but also different.

But let's look at the passion of fornication carefully. Very often one problem is actually completely different roots. For example, parents complain about the bad behavior of the child, but it turns out that they do not give him take a step. The man complains about unfair treatment, but it appears that he relates to others without proper attention. And for the passion of fornication, when the practical work begins, often also found other grounds, violations, problems.

If we talk about sex addiction, it is the spiritual and existential components, such as a deep unconscious fear of death, replacing a sense of inner emptiness, deep loneliness. But can be problems of a different kind — childhood traumas, experienced at a young age sexual violence, destructive, pathological relationships in the parent family. As a result the person "throws" in sexual addiction in the search for "anesthesia", kasutusele, however, no consolation, naturally, he finds, and falls into addiction, deeper and deeper, losing healthy guidelines for living.

The passion of fornication is a more fundamental problem than just sexual addiction, and it is to a great extent connected with spiritual sphere of the person. If we turn to etymology, it is "fornication" and "wandering" — the same root word, and they are very close. This is a care, sometimes search, but about purpose. People wanders in search of something, his soul myatetsya looking, but looking, not where is something valuable, important.

This applies to other passions. The goal of passion is to capture the whole person, all of its levels: physical and mental, but above all is the spiritual level, because it determines the relationship of man with God. Therefore, the struggle with passion is not just a struggle with sexual thoughts, what usually is a narrow-minded view on asceticism. It is a struggle for development of his personality in the Christian sense — for his salvation.

Therefore, the task of the psychologist is not just to provide a means of confrontation, and to guide man in the direction of disclosure of the best properties of his soul, in the direction of self-acceptance to as a result of this self-disclosure was defeated and the prodigal thought.

— In adolescence in humans occurs hormonal explosion. How to help the teenager to overcome the prodigal desires? Whether openly discuss such sensitive topics?

Yes, teenage child in a short time experiencing what psychologists call "hormonal storm". Rebuilds the body, changing the appearance, there are new, often startling a grown child's problems. He is, according to Tolstoy, in "the desert of adolescence", when the former supports in the form of family and school are loosened and a new one formed, and simultaneously enters into a zone of dangers including sexual sphere.

But for the external signs, as I said, there may be other problems. Chief among them is the gap, the inner conflict between "want" and "need", that is, between the desires and reason. For this global discrepancy is the self-doubt, and fear, and loneliness, and many other typical teenage problems.

The task of the psychologist, and parents to help through this period. We must also not forget the extremely negative impact of mass culture, which vices have turned to valor. Therefore, parents need to be alert to try to become their kids friends and help go over the precipice, not to fall into it.

I believe that taboo topics in conversation between parents and children is not — another thing, with what intonation, in what language to speak. I recall the words of Marshak's response to the question how to write children's books, said: "Exactly the same as for adults, only much better!".

Parents must take care, first, on the formation of trust between them and the child, and secondly, its willingness to talk with the child on any topic, including topics of close, intimate relationships. It is no secret that many parents spend communicating with their children the minimum amount of time, and often reduce this communication to the shouts, the recriminations.

I filled one case. Came to me a youngster of sixteen. In conversation, he admitted: "I feel awful, because I in our class the only virgin!". I learned that anyone in the family could not talk about it, because there is not accepted to talk heart to heart. And the guy was tormented by this question, he felt insecure, lonely, thought he was an outcast. These are the things that worry him, not sexual experiences. He believed that if he didn't like, so he's worse.

I told him: "I am very grateful that you decided to talk to me about it. I can't expect you to remain chaste. I can only say what I think about it, based on their life and professional experience. Of course, you are free to follow the example of his friends (by the way, not the fact that they all lost their virginity, and it may be bravado). But I know that if you do this only in order to keep up with friends, then you're life will remember this first experience as something very far from beautiful thing called love. But when you meet a girl fall in love and your love will be mutual and you decide to get married, because I could one day live without each other, then your intimacy will be part of that great love that would fill your hearts and bring you both real happiness!".

It so happened that a few years later we met again and found that he was then able to refrain from temptations. He really met his love and they got married. I didn't ask about how true my predictions, but looking at it, I realized that I have a happy young man, loved and loving.

Summarizing his thoughts, I would say that all necessary measure and common sense. Any extreme is always bad. In my opinion, is to talk with teenagers about sex freely and "grown-up" is inadequate, since the subject is delicate and the adult, and the teenager is extremely vulnerable, his senses sharpened and vulnerable. Such conversations require respect, care and sensitivity. But not to say is also incorrect. It is usually associated with parental reluctance to take on the burden of responsibility, to spend their mental strength.


Eros – the first step, and fornication – the first obstacle

Many unbelievers intuitive sinfulness of theft or, for example, of adultery, but it is unclear the Church's attitude to sexual relations outside of marriage. Why fornication is a sin?

— I would expand this question: how can we explain the secular man that sin destroys integrity? Unless this applies only to the passions? And the idea of the purpose and meaning of life? And how to explain the secular person, what is salvation or immortality of the soul? Between these concepts and the secular mind the gap, which, as it is written in the gospel, man can not pass, — only God all things are possible. Christ came to bring us across this chasm, and each of us, in the measure of the imitation of Christ can help to make it different.

But the General universal answer on private and unique for every inquiry to give, in my opinion, impossible. Exists a science — psychology, to help find a specific answer to this question, and again, not in the most General form and in the form of specific.

Indeed, in a secular society it is believed that there is nothing dangerous in the prodigal ties that this kind of "discharge", "relief" and generally "good for health" (this, incidentally, is often said urologists or gynecologists are advising their patients). What can I say? If we draw a certain analogy, according to this logic, regular drinking there is nothing wrong — it's stress release, discharge, prevention of atherosclerosis.

This kind of argument may seem persuasive until then, until we look at the statistics of deaths, broken families, degradation, and mental illnesses millions of our countrymen, by following that path. Returning to our subject — the euphoria of casual relationships may be dependency, subordination of all of man's inner world of this obsessive passion, and it will inevitably lead to dissipation, the loss of integrity, eventually complete degradation of the individual as God's plan.

People live as if in two worlds. On the one hand in the horizontal plane, and in this respect we are talking about the psychology that can directly be tied to spiritual matters, that is, the motives, needs, social roles, emotions, affects, etc. But there is a vertical dimension. It is this dimension distinguished psychologist Viktor Frankl talked about the spiritual space of man, in which he actually becomes himself in the full sense of the word. This space of identity, space moral the elections, the high deeds, the experience of overcoming their egocentric desires.

In other words, all human beings, the struggle between the mundane and the sublime, egocentric and altruistic, between comfort and personal effort, ultimately, is a clash of profane and sacred in the human soul.

The task of the psychologist is not to act as a counselor and especially the judges, but to create conditions so that people could rise above himself, above his ego, to grow spiritually.

I always remember the teachings of the hermit of the fourth century Evagrius of Pontus, who said that the passions do not exist by themselves. They prey on those instincts and needs that are not understood by man. It is the process of self-discovery, honest look inside yourself, your true motives, feelings, desires helps in the struggle with the passions.

It is here that begins the psychology! If man does not realize his true intentions, he can not appreciate the spiritual, moral point of view is evil or good. He will find a variety of excuses myself confused to a degree that will give good for evil and Vice versa, that is, loses contact with the spiritual reality of his being.

With regard to the methods of the struggle with sexual lust, that is, means "against", but means "for". Usually means "against", such as vows, prohibitions, much weaker than the means for the ideals, goals, values. The highest is a love that puts everything in its place.

"Love to train", used to say Archpriest Boris Nichiporov, responding to fashion in the nineties the issue of sexual compatibility. Love is understood in several forms — Eros (adenopathies), doctor of philosophy (unanimity) and Agape (denoucement). These three persons are one!

But fornication Eros is separated and begins to play a destructive role and that maybe, even worse, he takes on the role of headship in love. Eros, oddly enough, in this case castrated love, instead of its complement, more precisely, to reveal through its completeness. Not to mention the fact that Eros, being autocratic, reduces another person to a simple means guns, "partner".

Let me quote the words of Viktor Frankl: "Love is the only way to understand the other person in the deepest essence of his personality. No one can understand the essence of the other person before loved him." Eros is the first step on the way to the fullness of love, and fornication — the first hurdle. published

P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

Join us in Facebook , Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki



See also

New and interesting