Do you admire a family member, friend or even colleague who seems to have an easy relationship with food and ever wondered what their secret is? The truth is, there is no secret key to unlock a healthy relationship with food. Achieving peace with food is possible for everyone and requires a change in mindset, understanding of food and patience. To give you a headstart, here are 4 habits of people with a healthy relationship with food!
Having knowledge around what your body needs nutritionally and how good you can feel when eating in a balanced way is incredibly powerful when it comes to a healthy relationship with food. This understanding, allows you to put together meals, which will best support health and not feed into a cycle of binge eating. It also affords insight into why you may not be feeling satisfied by foods and where change needs to be made.
Tip: see a health practitioner, do some research or follow your favourite nutritionist/dietitian to start getting some education around balanced eating. Keep a food diary to start some of your own investigative work to see where your diet may not be meeting your needs.
It goes without saying, mindful eating is the cornerstone of healthy eating. When we eat mindfully, our body is ready to receive food and we eat according to our true hunger as opposed to in response to emotions. This means we will digest food better and stop when satisfied as opposed to when the food runs out.
Tip: if you regularly arrive at a meal in a stressed state, try breathing deeply and slowly for 5 minutes prior to eating and eat away from distraction including phones!
Eat to live, don’t live to eat
Mindset around what role food plays in life, is important to our relationship with food. Specifically, at the end of day, food is meant to nourish us and give us energy to live as opposed to being something that we eat to feel pleasure or distract ourselves from the present day. This doesn’t mean that food can’t be a pleasurable experience and absolutely should be, it should just not the sole focus of food.
Tip: If food is all you think about, shift the focus to other activities in life and start a new hobby!
Practicing self-compassion is key to having a healthy relationship with food. Specifically, if our food choice turns out to be less than ideal, those who have an unhealthy relationship with food will automatically berate themselves for failing at sticking to what they set out to eat. On the other hand, those who practice self-compassion will not view it as a failure but instead as a learning opportunity to listen to their body and know that they are doing the best they can. This helps to break the negative cycle of compensating for ‘bad’ choices and instead moving forward and putting it in the past.
Tip: create a few mantras, which you can repeat daily to yourself as a way of practicing self-compassion. Catch yourself speaking critically and flip it to compassionately.