We all know someone, or maybe that someone is you, that is ALWAYS talking about food. What they ate, what they didn’t eat, what they shouldn’t have eaten, their next diet plan…..it can be pretty draining to hear about that all the time. Our culture has a crazy obsession with food and it is often an unhealthy obsession.
It is not always easy to develop a healthy relationship with food. We are so accustomed to hearing people talk negatively about food that it is hard not to fall into that same pattern. Of course it is important to think about what you are eating, but it turns into an unhealthy habit when you think about food all throughout the day, if you are stressing about what you can or can’t eat, restricting what you eat, or if you are binge eating.
I am much healthier overall right now than I was in the past when I was always worried about what I was eating. I feel more confident about myself and my body, and I feel like I have learned better moderation when it comes to food. Not saying I am perfect at it by any means, but I am happy to be at a place where I think I have a healthy relationship with food.
Here are some things that have helped me:
- Food is not the enemy: We really need to stop making food out to be the enemy that we are always fighting against. Food is awesome and it is how we fuel our body! We need to have a well balanced diet for everything in our body to work correctly and be in-sync.
- Look at food for what it is: Like I said above, food is fuel and that is how we should see it. Of course we can enjoy it and we should enjoy it, but it doesn’t need to run our lives. Eat to keep your body healthy and to feel good.
- Make healthy food choices: You really will feel so much better when you eat good food. Your body is amazing and knows how to break food up into just what we need, but a lot of the crap food we eat is just empty calories. This basically means that it does nothing for your body. When you eat empty calories, your body will not function at it’s best and you definitely will be able to feel the difference.
- Do not cut out food groups: If you are wondering if something is a “fad” diet, ask yourself if you are cutting out a food group. If you are, it probably is a fad diet and is not the healthiest option. Learn about food! McKell wrote a great post here about following My Plate, which is the updated version of the food guide pyramid. That being said, you need to make good choices in each food group. Juice is not the best option to fill your fruit requirement, and wheat bread/wheat pasta/etc is a better carbohydrate choice than white bread.
- Learn to practice moderation: Do not have foods that are off limits. Telling yourself you can never have dessert again is extremely unrealistic. Instead, learn moderation. French fries probably aren’t the best thing to eat for lunch everyday, but having them once in a while is okay. When you do eat unhealthier foods, practice portion control. Read our post on portion control here.
- Eat when you are hungry: Eat when you are hungry, and when you aren’t, don’t. Break any emotional relationship you may have with food and just use it to give your body what it needs. Along with this point, stop eating when you are full. Do not feel like you need to clear your plate or eat every last crumb. Listen to your bodies cues. It knows what it needs.
- Stop obsessing: So you had a bad moment and ate a bunch of crap. Move on from it. It does not mean that you have to throw in the towel and eat everything in sight the rest of the day, nor does it mean that you can’t eat anything the rest of the day. Learn from it and move on.
- Talk about food in a positive way: If you get caught in a “food bashing” session, don’t join in on the conversation, or have a positive spin on things. One of my friends is really good at this and she has helped me see food in a different way because of it. She never talks about needing to go on diets and she is really good at talking about how much she enjoys all food in moderation. It really is a breath of fresh air.
- Your kids are learning from you: This is a big one for me. Knowing that Kate is learning by example makes me so much more aware of how I talk about food. I do not want her growing up thinking it is okay or normal to think that you always need to be on some diet. Teach your kids about nutrition and how to make good choices. Be an example to them of eating healthy and taking care of your body. For more on this, read our posts on teaching kids healthy habits here and here.
Food is wonderful and having a healthy relationship with food takes away any stress that may be associated with it. When you start giving your body what it needs, you will feel a difference in yourself not only physically, but mentally as well.