Your relationship with food is incredibly important because it gives your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. And as in any relationship in your life it needs to be a healthy one. Food, for many of us, has turned into the elephant in the room. We feel that we cannot enjoy it, and if we’re feeling guilty because of something little we have eaten, this is when various anxieties can start to creep up. When your happy place is slowly starting to slip away from you, and you find yourself looking in the mirror and feeling that you’re too fat or too thin, just know that at least a little of the issue is not solely coming from yourself. For anybody in this day and age, we are constantly bombarded with images of the seemingly perfect human. And it’s hardly a surprise that many feel that in order to get to that point, they have got to starve themselves, or severely restrict their eating. But being healthy is the goal, as opposed to being thin. This means we’ve got to first build a healthy relationship with food. How do we do this?
Stop Trying To Make The Scale Shift
There are people who view food as fuel, and there are others that try to exert control over themselves and their body by severely restricting any form of consumption. Because conditions like anorexia originate from an unhealthy attitude towards food, or a deep-rooted psychological issue, it’s important that we start to address our thought imbalances. By the way, if you or anybody you know is going through a severe eating disorder like anorexia there are residential anorexia nervosa treatment centers. A lot of why we try to make the scale move in the right direction is to create a better version of ourselves. But when we start to change our lifestyle purely because of those few seconds of self-judgement, it’s time we start addressing the relationship we actually have with the food we eat.
Learning To Eat Mindfully
Mindful eating is, like meditation, a way of engaging in all of our senses. When you look at something like meditation, it’s about learning to acknowledge ourselves and our responses to situations without judging. When we start to focus on mindful eating this can help engage all our senses, and we’ll begin to listen to our bodies. So many of us don’t know when to stop eating, but when we learn the act of mindfulness, not just in eating, but in life in general, this gives us inbuilt cues to put down the fork or step away from a situation that is bad for us.
Understanding The Importance Of Moderation
It’s something we’ve been told our entire lives: everything in moderation. When we start to look at foods and label them “good” or “bad,” this is when we can begin to feel that weight of indulgence. Something like a chocolate cake is incredibly bad for us when consumed all of the time, but if we start to focus on the act of moderation, and learn to enjoy one slice of cake, this will inform our relationship with food better. Part of it is to do with that feeling of being naughty. Somehow, eating this cake is forbidden, which makes it all the more delicious. But when we start to apply the idea of moderation to every food, healthy or not, “a little bit of what you fancy” is good for us. We have to remember that eating is the opportunity to nourish ourselves, either in terms of eating healthy things or making us feel good about ourselves because we are eating that simply delicious chocolate cake! And as any addict will tell you, it’s when the reward system within ourselves gets switched off is the point that we try to increase our dosage.
Focusing On Your Satiety
Many people who suffer from emotional eating may not notice when they are hungry or full. Part of it is to do with being tuned into the senses. Emotional eating, especially as it’s linked with anxiety, is to soothe unpleasant emotional feelings. Focusing on satiety is partly to do with being mindful of your body, but it’s also to do with your hormones. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is something that can be switched off. While we don’t want to switch it off completely and never feel hungry, when we are overweight or have bad eating habits, ensuring that we eat enough for our body to process, rather than overeating, can involve switching it off. There are ways of doing it such as intermittent fasting or a high-fat low-carb diet. If you can focus on when you’re comfortably full, and then putting down the fork at that point, you’re practicing mindfulness and listening to your body. We also need to remember that feeling hungry isn’t necessarily a bad thing but there are limits.
Stop Basing Everything Around Food
Some people are inherently foodies. They get excited about texture, aroma and presentation. So when they are eating one thing, they may already be thinking about the allure of their next meal. Even if you have the healthiest habits in the world, the trick to remaining balanced is about improving your relationship with food. Even those people who focus on being healthy in every single way can find themselves suffering from issues like orthorexia… the excessive preoccupation of eating healthy food. When we look at healthy habits for life, balance is the key. We need to remember that with food, it’s something that can bring joy to our lives, and while we can put ourselves under the microscope for indulging a bit too much, especially with the upcoming Christmas season, learning a healthy balance can help us to re-engage with food.
Food is fuel, food is a cure, and food is a way of life for many of us. Whichever perspective you take, having a healthy relationship with food and diet can be a long road. You may very well feel that you want to get to a certain weight or you focus on the received wisdom of eating things that you are told are healthy. As we go through life and we begin to take control of the things that make us healthy and happy, food can get in the way if we let it. Having a healthy relationship with food is certainly achievable.