“Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body,” ~B.W. Richardson.
Most of us tend to have a love/hate relationship with food. We love the enjoyment we receive when we share a meal with friends and family. We even have societal traditions of getting together to share our food with others. It helps us to create human bonds to be able to share a meal with those we care about. Yet, we also tend to hate the way at times, it makes us feel when we overindulge or partake of foods that make our waste line increase. We torture ourselves with guilt over having that slice of chocolate cake for not being able to control our cravings on our road to thinness. We live in a world in which we know self-starvation is bad, but we will go to great lengths to starve ourselves with crazy juice diets or magic pills. According to Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, “”Our obsession with appearance, our fixation on diet and our food- and information-abundant culture have given rise to an epidemic of unhealthy relationships with food.” The reality is, food is supposed to make us feel happy and provide fuel for our bodies to work at its optimal capacity.
Therefore, how do we change our relationship with food for the best? What do we need to do in order to create that loving, happy, caring relationship with food that will lead to a healthy lifestyle? Below are some tips to help you begin healing your relationship with food.
1. Awareness – Becoming aware of our patterns usually is the first step in making any changes. Also, becoming aware of what we use food for? Is it to feed our bodies and give us energy or do you tend to make yourself feel better through food. Do you tend to starve yourself then binge and start the negative self-talk about how bad you have been? These types of behaviors tend to de-rail us from our healthy lifestyle and only increase our belief that we can’t achieve what we want. Write down what thoughts and behaviors tend to be your pattern.
2. Be Flexible – I can’t stress this tip enough. You will see me revisit this tip over and over again through some of my writings. What does it mean to be flexible? Our society and the abundance of conflicting information does a great job of giving strict rules to follow, such as “NO CARBS” or you’ll blow up like a balloon. Honestly, I occasionally indulge in a bowl of pasta or that piece of bread and I haven’t blown up like a balloon! Why? Because I maintain a balance with food. I tend to pick from a variety of foods, making consistent choices which includes an exercise routine. This will keep you in the long run, satisfied, happy, and when you do occasionally indulge, NOT FEELING SHAME OR GUILT. It isn’t food that’s good or bad, it’s our experience of it.
3. Listen to your body – It is easy to drown the cues our bodies give us, particularly in a culture that thrives on stress and a fast pace environment. But, we have beautifully built intelligent bodies which tell us exactly what it needs to function properly. Listen for those cues that let you know when you are full or actually hungry. Another term for this is called MINDFUL EATING.
4. Enjoy the act of eating – We truly have to believe that we deserve to feed our bodies and mind nutritiously delicious food. So many times we forget to take the time to eat, and eating does take time. Learn to slow down and enjoy it. Research also shows that slowing down when we eat tends to produce feelings of fullness, so why not just enjoy it. Learn to cook, make a meal for someone, and enjoy the process.
Finally, above all else, accept and love where you are right this second on your health journey. You are amazing and deserving of joy in your life. The process of change can be challenging at times, but it brings many rewards including being and feeling absolutely amazing!
As always, cheers to loving your fitness journey.