Rebuilding a healthy relationship with food:
Food is essential to sustain our lives but for most people food is very complex and can affect them emotionally. Here are some tips to rebuild a healthy relationship with food:
1.First ask yourself, what does food mean to you?
This will help discover emotions and concepts you may associate with food. Food may mean love and thankfulness for some or it may mean guilt and shame for others.
2.Why do you eat?
This can help you explore the reasons you eat whether it be you are hungry, you eat socially, or when you are sad, stressed, or bored. You may eat because it tastes good. There are many answers to this question that can determine why you eat when you do. Everyone has their reasons why they eat but the most important reason is we need food to thrive and live. The more you focus and understand this concept the easier it can be to eat and nourish your body and find joy in eating again.
3.Recognize your emotions:
You must learn how to hear your inner “food critic” to help sort out cravings of the heart from cravings of hunger. Once you recognize the emotional triggers you can become more familiar about how to act on them. When a trigger happens, take a few minutes and think about why you do or do not want to eat. Ask those questions above to yourself; Am I hungry? Am I bored? Am I sad? Am I stressed? Etc. Always remember the ultimate reason why you need food is to nourish the body, not your emotions.
4.Experience your body:
Engage all your senses at meals. Touch and smell your food before you take a bite. After you take a bite take your time and taste and savor the flavor. Try to chew that bite 20 times and taste the flavors and textures changing. Mindfully taking a bite of your food and chewing more than usual will slow down your eating allowing you to engage with your body and recognize if your stomach is full, satisfied, overly full or still hungry.
5.Avoid negative associations with food:
If you have negative emotions around food recognize them and work on letting them go. Get rid of the good food bad food mentality that is causing negativity. Do not put a ban on foods because it will leave you bitter and deprived. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and always remember that food is nourishing and by nourishing your body with food you are loving your body.
In order to move past difficulties we must forgive ourselves. Forgive yourself from late-night fast food runs, the birthday cake you had one to many slices of, not staying on track with your eating habits, and especially the guilt you may feel and anything else from the past that may be holding you back. This will help create a clean slate to move forward in a positive direction. You cannot dwell on the past if you want to build a new relationship, so move on and set yourself free. Start fresh and create a lifestyle change that will help you keep the healthy relationship between you and food last forever.
When rebuilding a healthy relationship with food remember this kind of change takes energy, commitment, patience, and willpower. Every relationship takes work and dedication and your relationship with food is no different. Do not be too hard on yourself because mistakes will happen but keep reminding yourself that you are in control and have the power to have a healthy relationship with food. Let the bad habits and negative thinking go and move forward to better yourself emotionally and physically.
If you would like to work with one our nutritionists contact us through our website or call 732-462-LEAN(5326)
Written By: Rebecca Desousa BS Nutritional Sciences