Food! Need I say more? Not only do we need it to live, but you can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without coming across delicious food plates that make your mouth start to water. But amidst all the delectable food choices and the #foodies creating and consuming these foods, comes just as many people suffering from negative food relationships and disordered eating.
The health/wellness and fitness industries boast how certain foods are healthy and others unhealthy. We are told how eating a donut will make us gain five pounds, whereas a salad will help us lose 5 pounds. As consumers hungry for information and change, we are easily swayed and manipulated. All this conflicting and sometimes false information can create much disarray, and for many “seekers” of higher health and smaller waistlines, negative food associations and disordered eating.
So how do you bridge the gap between wanting a donut, but thinking you need to eat a salad, to saying, “screw it” and eating five donuts plus the salad? You heal your relationship with food! Lucky for you, I know a few ways to help you do just that!
Healing your relationship with food isn’t a straight line. It takes time, patience, and effort. But the journey of repairing how you see and use food is necessary to live a truly healthy and abundant life. During the process, which will be different for everyone, you will have moments where you cave. It’s important that you don’t declare defeat is these moments. Instead, accept it for what it is, and keep going in a forward direction.
Start with you!
From my experience, both personally and professionally, those with a negative relationship towards food also struggle with a negative relationship towards themselves, mentally and physically.
I struggled with binge eating disorder and disordered eating for many years. A critical component in my healing process was working on my relationship with myself.
Changing how you see yourself and learning to feel, accept, and work through your thoughts and emotions is the very first step if you want to heal your relationship with food and live a happier and healthier life.
“For the love of your living body”
When you look at food, what do you see? Most would say whatever type of food they are looking at.
What does that food do for you? The most likely answer would be “satisfy my hunger/craving.”
Now, how does that food affect your body? That makes you think a little deeper, doesn’t it?
Yes, food is supposed to be enjoyable and fun, but food is also your body’s fuel. The food you put in your body doesn’t just stop the hunger pains, it affects how your entire body functions.
How and what you eat correlates with how you look, feel, and perform.
Change your perspective about food and what it does for you. Ask yourself how the food you eat makes your body feel physically, as well as how it makes you feel mentally.
Remember that your body is a living entity. It is the vessel that carries you through life and the food you eat is what fuels that vessel. So, “for the love of your living body,” consume food that nourishes and affords you the energy to live a vibrant life.
However, that doesn’t mean that you must eliminate all your favorite “not so nourishing” foods.
Moderation not deprivation
Eating food is one of the many joys of life. Experimenting, discovering, and creating new ways to “tantalize our taste buds” is something that we shouldn’t feel guilty about. That’s why learning moderation is an important component of healing your relationship with food. Furthermore, the healthiest individuals and most well know nutritionists swear by “everything in moderation.”
Allowing yourself to have a donut once per week, will help you not to eat 5 donuts in one sitting after you have denied yourself the pleasure for several weeks. Depriving ourselves of something we enjoy, only makes us lust for it even more. And truth be told, your body probably won’t care if you eat one donut every so often, but it probably will care if you binge eat an entire dozen. So, instead of swearing off certain foods or food groups forever, save them for when you really want them. Then, when you do have them, enjoy every single bite.
Become more mindful
Mindfulness is a major component of healing your relationship with food. Being mindful is not only important when it comes to what you eat, but it’s also important to why and when you eat.
A simple phrase that I like to use is “Don’t eat for your emotions, eat for your health!”
It’s essential to become more aware of the food you eat as well as your feelings and emotions towards both food and you.
Stressful day at work? Try doing some yoga, instead of eating that pint of ice cream.
Feeling overwhelmed? Turn to a friend and talk through your emotions, instead of going to the candy shop.
We associate words, feelings, and actions. That means that to heal your relationship with food, you must learn to un-associate food with stress. One of the top ways to do that is by becoming more mindful.
The bottom line
Having a healthy relationship with food is critical to living an abundant and healthy life. So, if it’s something that you struggle with, you’re not alone and it is possible to heal both physically and mentally. Doing so will allow you to create a stronger and more understanding bond with your body and mind.
And of course, you are BEAUTIFUL, you are SMART, you are STRONG!