Food and Intimacy: What’s the Connection? – with Emily Rosen

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Did you know that there’s a profound connection between food and intimacy? Would you believe that the more we tap into our truest desires, the more our eating struggles begin to drop away, and our relationship with food becomes a source of nourishment, empowerment and pleasure? In this inspirational video, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating delivers thoughtful insights that can move you to a new place with food, intimacy, and life. Please take a look and let us know what you think.

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings friends, this is Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for the psychology of eating

Today’s topic: Food and Intimacy: What’s the Connection?

I love making connections. I especially love making connections that are not always obvious to the naked eye. Making connections makes things happen. Life is all about connectivity. The world has completely transformed because of Internet connectivity. Human beings have this amazing new way to be in relationship – meaning connection in an instantaneous way across the globe. This has changed the face of humanity. Your brain is as smart as it is simply because of the number of nerve cells, and their number of connections. The more connectivity in your brain to other nerve cells and to any cells throughout the body, the more evolved we become. We lose our intelligence, memory, cognition, and capacity for higher thought as our neural connections decrease with age or disease.

To that end, there are all kinds of connections that exist with food and our relationship with it – that we don’t always notice.

Today we’re going to talk about the connection between food and intimacy.

There’s some powerful wisdom and information in this connection that can make a big difference in our lives. Allow me to explain:

A significant part of the human experience is centered around intimacy

By intimacy I mean the kind of close contact that has us being seen for who we are, that has us a little vulnerable, and that has us interconnecting with another human being in a way that makes us feel more soulful, heartfelt, human, alive, real, and in some way – loved.

For sure, some people are more intimate than others. Many of us have a number of intimate friendships. We might have intimate connections with our parents, kids, family members, coworkers, and more. Of course, we tend to reach the height of intimacy in the kinds of close relationships like marriages or long-term partnerships.

Many people have a deep desire for intimacy, especially the variety that comes in a close one on one relationship. Such intimacy can be deeply fulfilling and nourishing.

Some consider it good fortune or a blessing when they have such an intimate connection. And often times, when we desire intimacy and don’t have it, we can lapse into suffering, into pain and upset. We can fall into a painful longing, and feel a big lack in our lives. And at such times, it’s a heck of a lot easier to turn to food as a symbolic substitute for the intimacy that we seek.

Symbolic substitutes are just as it sounds – this is a psychological term for the peculiar trait of the human psyche where we will oftentimes reach for the closest approximation of the very thing that we want, but don’t have.

So if I don’t have intimacy in my life, what’s the easiest way to get it?

Well, for a lot of people, the answer is food

Let’s face it – the act of eating can be a very intimate experience.

We love it, we desire it, taste it, we receive pleasure from it, we commune with it, we long for it, we get all excited when we have it, we might get a little afraid if it feels too good, we enjoy the feeling it gives us, and we literally consume it. We take it inside us and swallow it. How’s that for intimacy?

Intimacy can profoundly fill us up.
So can food.

I meet a lot of people who have challenges with overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, appetite regulation, and other unwanted eating habits – and for some of them, at their core, is a desire for intimacy that’s been rerouted into the easiest available symbolic substitute – food.

On one level, there’s nothing wrong with this.

I’m not saying this is bad.
We’re human. We’re not perfect.

Sometimes, we need some good symbolic substitutes. It keeps us going.
It helps us during the tough times. It can often bridge the gap.

The challenge happens when we rely too much on food as our source of intimacy

So it’s a great question to ask yourself – if I have an eating challenge, how might it be connected to my experience or desire for intimacy?

Sometimes, we don’t fully own and acknowledge our deep desire for intimacy in our life. We like to make the world think that we’re independent. We want to show everyone we can do it alone. We want to be self-sufficient.

All that is fine, except when it masks a deeper truth. If intimacy is important for us, lets own it.

I think that far too many people make the mistake of getting stuck in the quick-fix solution. Meaning, if I can have the depth and intimacy I want, then I might as well eat and forget about the rest.

Perhaps one of the first steps to truly attracting intimacy into our life is to first become more intimate with self. One of the great ways to become more intimate with self is to do an honest inventory of who we are and what we truly want at the deepest level of our being.

When we touch that place, there’s a magic that’s instantaneously born. And from there, so many good things are possible. I hope this was helpful. Please email us at if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.

In the comments below, please let us know how your relationship with food improved when you created more intimacy in your life with yourself, or others. We love hearing your thoughts!

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