Are you sick and tired of the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, overeating, deprivation, feeling shame and guilt and hating your body?
I struggled with a dysfunctional relationship with food for many years, with bouts of restriction and going all out on food.
I had long list of diet rules that if broken always lead to feeling bad about myself and eventually had a negative impact on my confidence and self-esteem.
Our relationship with food is complex and to complicate things further the world we live encourages women to diet and then blame themselves when these diets fail.
It’s time to rewrite your food rules and build a more positive, and enjoyable relationship with food.
Let’s explore what it means to have a healthy relationship with food and some ways to get you started on your freedom journey.
Taking the first step to fixing a broken relationship with food can feel frightening and difficult but well worth it in the long run.
What Does A Broken Relationship with Food Look Like?
A broken relationship with food tends to have a lot of rules and restrictions that create feelings of deprivation and often manifest as specific commands about what, when, and how you should be eating.
Signs of a broken relationship with food include:
- You often feel guilt and shame about eating
- You label foods as “good “or “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy”
- You have a list of rules regarding the foods you can and can’t eat
- You find yourself restricting and/or binging food
- You lose connection with your body’s natural signals
- You override your body’s natural hunger signals
- You have a history of yo-yo dieting
- You often eat in secret
What Does A Healthy Relationship with Food Look Like?
A good relationship with food has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of your diet or the types of food you eat, but rather how and why you choose the foods you eat.
Signs of a healthy relationship with food include:
- You listen and respect your body’s natural hunger signals
- You eat when you’re hungry and stop when you feel full
- You feel no guilt upon eating foods that are typically labelled “good” or “bad”
- You don’t obsess over the number on the scale
- You don’t let the opinions of others dictate which foods you eat
- You don’t feel the need to justify your food choices.
- You understand that you’re not defined by the foods you eat
- You enjoy all food in moderation
- You choose foods that make you feel your best
- Calories are not the focus of your food choices
Long Term Approach to Eating
Imagine a life in which you don’t have to justify your food choices to yourself or anyone else.
The key to a healthy relationship with food is flexibility, welcoming all foods with no restrictions, seeing the value in food beyond calories, and remembering that your value as a human isn’t dictated by the food you eat.
Developing a long-term approach to consistent, sustainable healthy eating, should be created for yourself and be specific to your needs and lifestyle.
Here are some ways to help you say good bye to food rules, end the “food fight” and say hello to eating healthy.
1. Let Go of Perfection
Once you let go of the notion that there is a “perfect” way to eat, you can develop your own long-term approach to sustainable nutritious eating, based on your own needs and lifestyle.
That way, you don’t go “on” a diet or “off” a diet, but simply develop an eating program that is satisfying, healthy, and maintainable.
Letting Go of Perfection Means:
- Ditching all food rules and restrictions
- Use your natural as guiding principles, as opposed to hard-and-fast rules
- Aiming for healthy eating not perfect, there is no such thing as perfect eating
- Understanding that some days your body may need more food than others (especially with increase in physical activity)
- Being kind and compassionate towards yourself for eating something you enjoyed, rather than feeling guilty
- Not allowing what you ate yesterday to dictate today
2.Flexibility with Food Choices
Flexibility is an important aspect of a healthy relationship with food and relates to the amount of food you consume.
- Do you label certain foods as “good” and “bad”?
These quick labels let us feel in control of what we’re consuming. But in reality, they don’t mean much at all and are constructs that serve no health purpose.
Being Flexible Means:
- No rigid rules surrounding eating and food habits
- Trusting your body, it knows where you need to be and can deal with a little bit of variation
- Going with the flow and accepting that some days you may deviate from your preferred foods
- It’s ok to eat more some days and less on other days
- Being spontaneous with your food choices
- Feeling relaxed at social occasions
- If you feel like dessert after dinner, you have it without judgement or need to compensate
- Giving yourself the freedom to make unplanned food choices that may not have been your #1 preference
Incorporates choices and beliefs about food through a filter of self-love and body wellness that is balanced, not extreme or all consuming. It’s not about controlling the food intake but about relating to the food you eat.
“Relaxed eating is supported by relaxed thinking about your food, your weight and your body and is a true manifestation of self-trust and self-expression.” (Kronberg, Sondra)
Relaxed Eating Means:
- Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods that make you feel good physically and mentally
- Responding to your body’s natural hunger signals and intuitively providing for its needs
- Eating when you feel hungry and stopping when you are satisfied.
- Trusting that no foods are off-limits, and you feel no guilt upon eating foods that are typically labelled “good” or “bad.”
- The ability to be at ease with the social, emotional and physical components of food and eating
- Having the choice of eating more or less or differently than usual without judgement, punishment or the need to compensate.
- Responding to changes in your routine, your moods, and your physical demands with compassion and ease
As you navigate your relationship with food, remember that food isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s the labels you put on it that give it power.
Once you can let go of these labels and guilt, you will let go of so much stress and anxiety and realise that food and eating is fun!
The bottom line
Your relationship with food is personal, unique, and requires regular work to keep it healthy.
- Do you want to feel freedom around meals and peace with knowing that your relationship with food works?
Even if you don’t know where to start, I can help you build a healthier and more enjoyable relationship with food.
Register for my free masterclass 3 Strategies for Healthy Relationship with Food , where you will learn one important secret that will transform your life completely.
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