Our relationship with food in this country is not good. We have become so detached from our bodies that we eat based on the clock, while driving and texting, or what the latest fad diet tells us to do. Try these 5 simple things to help improve your relationship with food today!
#1. Notice Your Body
Most of us go through life and are completely unaware how we feel in our bodies. When I ask my clients the question “what does it feel like to be hungry?” many of them have no idea. This isn’t their fault. We have been trained as a society to ignore our hunger and not trust our bodies. But if we truly listen to our bodies they will give us the information we need to stay attuned to our hunger and fullness.
#2. Slow Down: Before, During, and After the Meal.
Most of us eat so quickly that we don’t taste our food and we definitely don’t enjoy our food. Food is meant to be enjoyed. It is a sensory experience involving all of our senses. Look at the presentation of the food, Smell the aroma, taste the different flavors, listen to the crunch between your teeth. It awakens your body
#3. Stop Judging Your Food
We often make judgments about food being either good or bad, which we then internalize to ourselves as if we are good or bad based on what we eat. Food is neither good nor bad. All foods can be included in a healthy diet. If you want a piece of cake, eat the cake. Do it slowly and with intention and purpose. Don’t eat in hiding because you feel ashamed for eating it. Feeling ashamed for eating something will only further destruct your relationship with food.
#4. Focus on Health First
Most of the media’s obsession with the latest fad diet has little to do with health and focuses on a person’s weight. Whatever happened to the idea of being HEALTHY? It seems that all people care about is being thin no matter if it’s healthy or not. When we think about promoting health within us it conjures up positive feelings and actions such as reaching for fruit or another healthy snack. When we think of being thin it brings up negative feelings of deprivation that will actually lead to eat that chocolate cake or bag of chips since you’re worried you might be deprived soon.
#5. Stop Comparing
Your nutritional needs are completely different than your friend, husband, sister, co-worker, and next-door-neighbor. Don’t base what you eat on what they eat. Our nutritional needs depend on our height, weight, activity level, age, gender, metabolism, muscle to fat ratio, and a million other physiological processes that go on in our bodies every day.
How many times have you eaten the same size meal as your husband who weighs twice as much as you? Or ordered that dessert after dinner because your friend did? Or avoided getting that pastry at Starbucks because your friend didn’t get one even though you really wanted it? If they want to eat something, or not eat something, good for them! But it doesn’t mean you have to follow along their lead. You can avoid this by doing #1 above. Do you want a dessert? Are you hungry? Are you full? What is your body telling you? If you follow #2 above then you will be able to answer these questions.
What do you think? Do you already do some of the things on this list? What can you try doing today that would improve your relationship with food? Let me know in the comments!