I spent most of my life eating aimlessly, going back and forth between gaining extra pounds and losing weight and feeling very frustrated. Nothing I tried seemed to work, which led me straight back to eating unhealthily and getting even heavier. As you can see, this is a vicious cycle that is very hard to escape.
After a few years of going through this, I finally realized where the problem was. It was not what I specifically ate because I was really trying and in most cases succeeded in maintaining a healthy diet. It was my relationship with food and my body. Your body cannot be in the shape that you want it to be if you are constantly battling feelings of desperation and frustration, which inevitably leads to stress.
Therefore, if you want your diet, workout regime and whatnot to have good results, you must change the way you think about food and, by extension, your relationship with it. You can start working out at home if you don’t have time to hit the gym regularly. And, with your fitness in check, here are…
7 Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food1. Moderation is the key to success
Edward Abramson, Ph.D. in clinical psychology and author of the critically acclaimed book “Emotional Eating” once stated that “No Food is forbidden,” also adding that “Foods are not intrinsically good or bad”. Various religions and cultures created the concept of morality attached to food.
Sure, some foods are scientifically proven to cause adverse effects on your health, but the body is built in such a way that it can combat any side effects if given the proper time to react and fight them. Practice moderation when it comes to food, be it healthy or fast food. This can offer you a template that you can use to build future healthy habits.
2. Eat when you are physically hungry
This might sound like an understatement, but let us be honest here: we all eat for a multitude of reasons, and we share all of them. We eat out of sadness, stress, joy, excitement and just pure and plain boredom.
Most of us use food to ameliorate a certain emotion or state of mind instead of dealing with it which, of course, devalues the purpose of food as a mean of survival. Nobody is saying that you should eat mechanically or that you mustn’t enjoy food, but you should ask yourself: Do I eat to live, or do I live to eat?
3. Enjoy the food that you eat
Do not attach negative emotions to your eating habits. If you feel like eating fast food on a particular day, just do it, and do not hate yourself for it. Nobody is perfect, and remember that the food that you consume is in no way an indicator of how valuable you are as a human being. Plus, your body will react to those negative thoughts by building up stress, which will cause you to overeat. Being positive about your choice do wonders to your body.
People who love to eat are always the best people. – Julia Child
4. Eat mindfully and take your time
Before starting to eat, sit down for a minute and look at your food. Smell it. Taste it. In short, use all senses that your body has been equipped with. Chew the food slowly, mindfully, and do not rush. The human body is designed to react aggressively towards the feeling of hunger.
From an evolutionary standpoint, that made sense a few thousand years ago when food was scarce, and you had to put yourself in danger to obtain it, but now, with supermarkets at every corner, there is no reason to rush. Let the food not only satiate your hunger but nourish you.
5. Do not let food change your social life
Okay, every person who is trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle will say at some point that it will not affect their social life, but you know it is not always the case. If you are out with your friends at a restaurant, bar or whatever, just have whatever they are having.
Grabbing a couple of beers with your friends or a kebab will not affect your diet in the long run. If you deny yourself these small pleasures, you will find yourself loathing your lifestyle and complicating your relationship with food.
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want – G. Greene
6. Do not add math to your eating habits
More specifically, you do not have to immediately consult with your weighing machine every time you eat a pizza. Sure, being a tad self-conscious about your weight is a good habit, but do not let your life revolve around this. Eat healthy because you want to be healthy, not because you want to validate your lifestyle through numbers.
7. Finally, there is a big difference between a snack and a treat
A chocolate bar grabbed between meals to keep hunger at bay is a snack. A slice of chocolate cake that you eat after a challenging task is a treat. Knowing the difference between these two very different concepts is crucial when it comes to building a healthy relationship with food and yourself, for that matter. Do not hesitate to reward yourself after a stressful day at work or after finishing a particularly tedious task, because you deserve it.
Building a healthy relationship with food is crucial if you want to lead a joyous, stress-free life. Practicing moderation does not mean you cannot enjoy the food that you eat. Do not deny yourself the small pleasures in life because of your diet.
Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate. – Alan D. Wolfelt