Establishing a good relationship with food is a challenging task that takes practice, consistency, and patience. In order to create a healthy connection with food, you must first understand your current bond with food. How and why do you choose when to eat and what to eat? To help you discern your food choices, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel guilty after eating?
- Do you deem foods as “good” or “bad”?
- Are you strict about regulating certain foods from your diet?
- Do you rely on calorie counting to tell you when to stop eating?
- Do you ignore your body’s natural hunger cues?
If you said yes to any of these questions, it’s plausible you feel guilt, shame, or fear (to some degree) around your eating habits. Although it may not happen all the time, this is a key sign to establish a better relationship with food.
Food is a part of our everyday life. Not only do we use it to fuel our body, but we also use it to socialize, make connections, and experience joy and pleasure. Food is also a great way to understand different cultures and traditions. When we stress about food, it can be easy to forget how fun and exciting it really is. Once you acknowledge food as more than a power source, you can start to improve your relationship with it. Below are 3 tips to kick start a better relationship with food.
- Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is simply paying attention to the food you are about to indulge in. Before digging into the delicious meal in front of you, use your senses. First, close your eyes, and invite the smell of your food into your awareness. What do you notice? Next, look at the dish in front of you. What foods do you see? What colors do you observe? Finally, taste your food. Take small bites, and examine the texture of the food on your tongue. What flavors do you taste? Being mindful about the food you put in your mouth will remind you to eat slower with more appreciation. This technique will ultimately improve your gut health, encourage better food choices, and allow you to enjoy your food.
- Eat When You’re Hungry & Stop Eating When You’re Full
Your body regulates food by stimulating natural cues to express when it’s hungry and when it’s full. It’s vital to your health to listen to these natural cues. Too many of us ignore these signals and either end up eating too much (past the point of being full) or not eating enough (going into calorie deficit and not giving our body enough nutrients). Both have dramatic impacts on the body and when done constantly over time can lead to major negative health side effects. Practice listening and responding to your body’s natural cues that indicate when you are hungry and when you are full. This simple approach will encourage weight loss, contribute to your overall health, and leave you feeling genuinely satisfied after meals.
- Welcome All Foods In Your Diet
Oftentimes we label food as good (e.g., nutritious or low calorie) or bad (e.g., high in fat, sugar, or sodium). It is true that certain foods have better health properties than others. With that being said, eating a single food that does not contribute to your well-being in this way is not going to substantially affect your long-term health. If anything, eating that “bad” food, then feeling guilty about it, will lead to more stress, which will ultimately lead to physiological distress in your body. When we label food as bad, we put that food on a pedestal and give it control over our lives. The more we shy away from assigning labels to food, the easier it will be to develop visceral food habits.
-Danielle Lasky Zero Doubt Club