How do you view your relationship with food? Consistently… terrible, terrific, temperamental or is each day dependent on your mood?
It’s fascinating to learn that the connection between the daily choices we make involving food is considered the most intimate relationship we encounter. It’s undoubtedly powerful stuff.
Our food choices evolve as we travel through life. You may recall stages where food was described as pleasurable, exciting or reconnecting? Or on the flip side words such as bored, confused, anxiety or loathe come to mind. It is interesting to note what connotations creep into your mind once you begin to assess whether preparing and eating food leaves you feeling uplifted or a burden to your daily life.
Like any relationship, success is reliant on the effort put forth. The way we choose to nourish through food is no different. From affecting our mental state, decision making, how we feel, how we respond to others and how we view ourselves. So, for this reason, it’s in our best interest to make peace with food.
I have evolved to where I am today through trial and error. Early in my career, competing as an elite sportswoman brought about the belief that I should view food obsessively and self-regulate my intake through exercise. My nutritional mindset was viewing food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. These thought patterns brought on restrictions, poor choices and not enough satiety. There was far too much rigidity.
Luckily, I evolved into a place that viewed food as fuel rather than something to control.
Instead of sweeping feelings and thoughts under the carpet – it helps to explore and understand why they exist. For example, I have seen examples of my clients using cheat meals. Do you allow yourself ‘cheat meals’? Why is this? Cheating forms the basis of denial, secrecy or a guilty love affair. This is perhaps setting yourself up for emotional distress down the track with a feeling of wickedness around food. Ultimately, it reinforces a disconnection.
Rather, we should approach an occasional food indulgence with full gusto, bringing all senses to the occasion to fully appreciate a meal. These experiences add quality to our of life and what a relationship with food should be based on. There is no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods just the choices you make around these foods.
Being smart about your food choices is the key. I can hear much thinking that we should hold some degree of restraint, but once you learn to let go of thought processes that compel a mindset to be perfect 24/7, there is an acceptance towards building better habits. Through forming strategies, we can set ourselves up for positive outcomes.
How to Change Your Relationship With Food
How to change your relationship with food
1/ Become mindful with your food choices. Step out of autopilot and tackle that mindless eating head-on!
2/ Accept that no one is perfect, and we each have ups and downs. Catching yourself in the moment is the key by creating space via strategies between a reaction and action.
3/ Like any relationship – recognise effort is required. Perhaps this could be finding new recipes, substituting an old habit of letting go of something in your life that is creating a trigger.
4/ Get help if need be. There are people out there to help and assist you.
5/ Let go of old beliefs and create new ones. Most perceptions stem from our parents or experiences. Question what is true!
6/ Treat food with respect. Learn to discover where it came from, who grew it, what unique tastes it has, and how it serves your body. Become connected.
I have seen people living their lives dictated by what they have or haven’t eaten. Life is too short for this amount of thought each day. Forming sustainable healthier habits helps remove draining thought processes which loosens their grip each day they are repeated.
How would you describe your relationship with food? Have you any tips you can share?