Unfortunately, today’s culture of dieting, weight-loss, intermittent fasting, cleanses, and other “healthy” eating regimens, they can promote a negative relationship with food. So rather than falling victim to a fad diet or a food trend, here are some ways to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Understand Your Current Relationship With Food
What is your current relationship with food? Do you enjoy food? Does it provide comfort? Are you a yo-yo dieter? Do you overeat when you’re stressed? Do you sit down for meals, or are you always on the go? Do you identify foods as “good“ and “bad“? Do you avoid certain food groups altogether? Analyzing your relationship with food is important to understanding where you are and where there is room for improvement.
Develop a Relaxed Approach
To have a better relationship with food, you’ll need to ease and reframe your thought processes surrounding eating. Rather than mindlessly eating in front of the TV, notice when you’re hungry, set time aside to enjoy your food at the table, and stop when you’re full. Creating mindfulness and relaxation around eating will help you make more conscious food decisions by listening to your body’s natural hunger/fullness cues.
Notice If You Hide Food
Hiding food or food wrappers is a common sign of a negative relationship with food. Often, people hide food due to embarrassment – they don’t want others to see they’ve overindulged or keep unhealthy food squirreled away to eat in private. If you find yourself hiding food, be honest about it and work to change that behavior.
By nature, dieting is an unsustainable method for losing weight and often leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. There’s nothing wrong with trying to eat healthier overall, but you should never deprive yourself of certain foods or food groups. For example, swearing off all desserts from your diet can likely trigger even more intense cravings and lead you to binge on them. If you give yourself permission to have dessert when you want it, those urges to overeat or binge will disappear.
Eat Meals Regularly
Skipping meals may seem like a good way to limit your caloric intake, but it often results in more intense hunger pangs, making you more likely to overeat at your next meal. To avoid this issue, make sure you eat healthy regular meals (and snacks) throughout the day – at consistent times when possible.
Developing a healthy relationship with food can be challenging, but it should be taken seriously. If you’re struggling with getting your relationship with food under control, consider seeking out a nutritionist, dietician, and/or therapist who can help.