Relationships can be… tricky. And not all relationships are connected to people. There are all types — including the one we have with our bodies and food.
It can be easy to walk a rocky line when it comes to how we view food. The world is full of noise when it comes to what we eat, when we eat, how we eat, and body image from eating.
So what defines a “healthy” relationship and how do we get there?
It all starts with some minor mindset shifts and habits that can lead us to a point where we no longer feel guilt, shame, embarrassment, or hopelessness when it comes to food.
Drop The Labels
Food isn’t a hero or a villain — so it shouldn’t be labeled “good” or “bad”. Sure, you don’t want to go around saying that a big old slice of chocolate cake is healthy, but “bad” really shouldn’t be the word you use. Using punishing words is the first step on a road to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Same with nutritious foods. “I better eat this because it’s good for me” sounds like a chore. Don’t force yourself to eat food because you think you have to. There are better ways to add value to your diet than shoving something down your throat.
➜ Don’t beat yourself up if you eat a treat
➜ Don’t force yourself to eat foods just because they are “healthy”
➜ Watch the words you’re using
➜ Watch how you view food
Basically, you can drop the capes — foods don’t wear them. Don’t shame yourself, don’t force yourself, and don’t feel like it’s a big fight between good and evil. There’s a balance when it comes to the foods we consume.
How many times have you seen it? Someone starts a diet — all ties to their previous way of eating are gone.
… and then they fall off the diet train a few weeks later.
Being too restrictive can be more harmful than good in the case of diets. Any hard work can go out the window in an instant and binge eating may ensue.
The best bet is not to stop in place but to start one step at a time. Start adding more whole foods as you adjust your meals. Swap things out, shift, exchange — but don’t (again with the punishment) go cold turkey.
Saying no to everything and expecting results will only set you back. Moderation is key.
Your body is a machine — it has a really good way of telling you when something is working or not. It’s your job to turn up the volume and listen closely.
What foods make you feel good in the long run?
What foods make you feel not so good?
You’ll start building solid connections with the foods that actually nourish you.
✓ Mental clarity
Pay attention to how you really feel. Nurture the connection with foods that lift you up as a person, because that is the kind of relationship worth investing in.
Think Long Term
There’s a really important question to ask yourself when considering your diet.
“Is what I’m doing now sustainable for the long run?”
If you’re on the rocks with food and feel like you are in a constant back-and-forth battle — all that pulling is going to lead to a big SNAP!
It’s not worth it to stay in a relationship that you know is going to have a questionable ending. It’s time to build a new relationship with food that lifts you up, not leaves you hanging.
Use food as fuel for a happy, healthy lifestyle (with flexibility in mind of course). Food overall should be a support, not a burden.
Would you ever punish a friend for having a small treat? Would you ever negatively comment on their body? Would you ever tell your friend who’s working hard that they aren’t doing a good enough job?
Your answer is probably no — so why would you ever do it to yourself?
➜ Understand that adjustments take time
➜ Don’t work so hard for change that you burn out
➜ Don’t punish yourself for taking a day to rest or having a treat
➜ Understand that your body is unique to you
➜ Don’t let negative outside influences in your bubble
Only you have a say in your diet and exercise plan. Eat well, but enjoy life too. Exercise, but to your own satisfaction. Maintain a positive relationship with yourself, your diet, and your health.
“Why should I care about my relationship with food?”
Do it for YOU.
A good relationship with food will help support not only the health of your body but the health of your mind and wellbeing as well.
You’ll live a much fuller, happier, and healthier life if you do.