Do your current eating habits make you want to change your relationship with food? If so, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn 5 steps you can take to heal your relationship with food.
Our life experiences shape our current relationships with food. Maybe you’ve picked up some habits from your parents, guardians, or siblings. Or maybe you developed some of your own tendencies as a result of diet or even trauma. Over time, our relationships with food evolve and become what they are today.
Sometimes the relationship we are left with is not necessarily beneficial. Fortunately, this can be changed. By knowing your habits and tendencies, analyzing them, and implementing new ones that incorporate balance, you can change your relationship with food forever.
I want to change my relationship with food
First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for simply having this revelation and reaching out for support. Change is never easy and the hardest part is simply accepting that it is necessary. So you’re already off to a great start!
When embarking on a journey like this, it’s important to set yourself up for success by using self-compassion from the beginning. Basically, take a break. As we discussed above, our current relationships with food develop over years, not days. With this in mind, does it make sense to expect to change your relationship with food overnight? Of course not. Be gentle on yourself, expect obstacles and remember, change takes time.
5 steps to change your relationship with food
Below are the best 5 tips I can give you to heal your relationship with food. They will take you through the many facets of your relationship and teach you how to rebuild each and every one of them. Don’t forget to take this easy. I don’t recommend trying to do all 5 steps at once! Start with one or two and then move on to another when you feel confident.
Let’s get into it!
Practice mindful eating
Here at Nutrition Stripped, we believe there are two important aspects of eating well every day: what you eat and how you eat. The concept of mindful eating is more about how to eat than what or how much you eat. It’s about putting the focus back on your experience at mealtime.
Start experiencing your food and be present when eating your meals and snacks. Remember that food is not a chore, it is not work, and it is not a means to exert control. It is a way to nourish your physical body, experience or share culture, and much more. You can learn more about the specific principles of mindful eating here. If you simply follow this step, before you know it you will change your relationship with food.
Stop Following Fad Diets and Detoxes
This is a big one. Just don’t do it. I promise you it’s not doing you any good. Diets are meant to keep you coming back, they put you on something I call the diet cycle. It’s the “on track” versus “off track” cycle.
As soon as you stop jumping into these trends, you will be able to develop consistency. You’ll be able to nourish yourself in a way that works for your unique body, rather than someone else’s. Remember, diet trends are a marketing medium, they are a business. To change your relationship with food, you must get rid of the diet cycle.
Eliminate food rules
Next, let go of the food rules. No longer eat this and not that, or this is good and this is bad. Food doesn’t work that way, especially when you want a balanced and positive relationship with food. Food rules are restrictive and controlling. They make you feel deprived, stressed, and even embarrassed.
If you are looking to change your relationship with food, you will have to leave food rules behind. If you hear yourself following or even reciting a food rule, take a moment to pause. Ask yourself: “Is this a dietary rule? How can I maintain balance with food without following this rule?” Over time, you won’t have to take a break. You will have changed your relationship with food and those rules will no longer serve you.
Constantly prioritize both nutrition and enjoyment
We absolutely need both. To nourish our physical, mental and emotional health, it is necessary to prioritize both enjoyment and nutrition. When we say nutrition, we mean foods that physically nourish your body. When we say enjoyment, we mean foods that bring you joy, regardless of their nutritional content.
If you can ensure that the vast majority of your meals and snacks prioritize both factors, you’ll be on your way to changing your relationship with food. You won’t feel deprived and eating won’t feel like a chore. Food will become a pleasant and peaceful part of your life!
Try using the Foundational Five system to add nutrition and enjoy the easy way.
Stop thinking about food as good or bad
To prioritize both eating and enjoying regularly, this is quite important. If you constantly feel like you are eating “bad” food every time you eat foods you enjoy, you will be constantly plagued with guilt and shame. Plus, if you always feel like you “should” be eating nutritious foods, you’ll feel like food is a chore.
Take morality out of the equation to change your relationship with food. Start thinking about food as simply nourishment, enjoyment, or a combination of both. That’s all! At first, this may require you to correct yourself or remind yourself from time to time, but before you know it, this will become your reality.
Food to go
Changing your relationship with food is possible. It just takes a few simple steps and some dedication. Anyone can have a positive and balanced relationship with food. Sometimes you just need a little support!
Do you want to experience greater balance in your food choices?
Then find your type of balanced diet!
Take this free 45-second quiz to find out which balanced eating archetype you are and what your unique type needs to maintain balance in the way you eat. That way, you can finally free yourself from the obsession with food and diet, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body.