Have you ever pondered how to have a better relationship with food? If you consider yourself an emotional eater or feel as if you have an unhealthy association with food, these seven tips on how to have a better relationship with food can help! Although developing a healthier connection to food can be challenging, there are steps we can take to improve our situation and help ourselves rebuild our relationship with food.
1. Be Mindful
One of the first steps in how to have a better relationship with food is to be mindful while you eat. When you stop to eat something, take your time and savor it. Eating something in a hurry is so unsatisfying and you probably won’t even remember that you ate or how it even tasted! Focus on what’s on your plate while you eat and allow your senses to take it all in!
2. Get to Know Your Food
Another great tip for improving your relationship with food is to get to know your food better. What types of nutrients do your favorite foods have? Get to know all about fiber, protein, antioxidants and vitamins in the foods you eat and don’t eat. Once you realize what awesome things the nutrients in your food can do, you’ll start to see food as fuel and medicine.
3. Eat What You Enjoy
Out of all the things I read about bettering one’s relationship with food, I found this to be one of the most difficult yet practical tips: eating what you enjoy. It makes sense, really. If we constantly deprive ourselves of food we enjoy and view it as food that we can never have, we want it even more! The key is to let go of the thought that certain foods are totally off limits and are “bad.” Allow yourself to have those “bad” foods periodically. You won’t be depriving yourself and you won’t view the food as something negative.
4. Be Patient
Be patient with yourself while you try to mend your relationship with food. You didn’t come straight out of the womb with unhealthy behaviors so it only makes sense that it’ll take time to adjust. Allow yourself time to change and make mistakes. Remember that it took many years over your lifetime to develop certain habits, so it will take some time to change. You’ll get there!
5. Plan Ahead
It’s always a good idea to plan ahead when it comes to food, even if you’re unable to prepare ahead of time. Think ahead for the week so you can plan your meals and avoid making poor food choices at the spur of the moment. Even if you don’t end up cooking all your meals on Sunday night, as long as you have a plan and have healthy food in your plan, you’re ahead of the game and much more likely to stay on track!
6. Don’t Compare
If you remember one thing out of this post, I hope it’s to not compare yourself with others! Your girlfriends, mom, sister and co-workers all have different needs, so comparing yourself to them is a futile effort. All of us are built differently and we all have different relationships with food, so it’s not very beneficial to compare your way of eating with someone completely different from you!
7. Let Go
The last tip on improving your relationship with food is to let go of trying to eat perfectly. Everyone makes mistakes and the idea of trying to be perfect in any way is just impossible and silly. Stop punishing yourself for something you ate that you feel guilty about and release yourself from negative thoughts. It’ll take time but the need to eat perfectly isn’t reasonable and you’re pretty awesome just the way you are.
Changing the way you look at food and how you relate to food can be difficult. Our relationship with food can be tumultuous and unhealthy but there are many ways we can change it and move forward. Your body relies on you to provide it with the proper nutrients so you can perform optimally every day. You only have one body, be good to yourself! Do you have a good relationship with food?