What we eat, when we eat, why we eat and where we eat are often very individualised and personal to ourselves. Although ultimately an individual’s choice, there are many external factors that may influence our relationship with food.
As everyone with children may be aware, we are born intuitive eaters. Babies cry when they are hungry and stop feeding when they are full. Children may throw tantrums when hungry and loose interest when satisfied. So why is it that when we grow into adults, we lose touch of intuitively eating and forget to listen to our bodies and our needs?
One major factor influencing peoples relationship with food and distracting us from intuitive eating is the large diet industry that profits from selling health, prosperity and happiness in an enticing and (realistically) unattainable package. By promoting fad diets, calorie counting and restricting entire food groups, the diet industry is setting many up for failure.
So, in 2023 its time to kick keto to the curb and improve our relationship with food by listening to our bodies, because ultimately, we know ourselves best. So here are five tips to improve your relationship with food and get back to listening to our bodies.
Mindfulness while eating
Mindful eating simply means focusing on the present while you are eating. Whether you have 5 or 45 minutes to eat, take a few simple steps to check in with yourself.
Before you eat: If possible, sit somewhere quiet and take a few minutes to check in with all your senses before you eat. Take the time to observe your food and appreciate the process that it took to get that meal in front of you.
While eating: When you are eating your food, be attentive to the colours, aroma, texture, and flavours of your food. Chew your food thoroughly, eat slowly and take in all the different explosions of flavour in your mouth.
At first this new approach to looking at food in depth may be confronting to some. Take the time to listen to your thoughts and stay in the present moment.
Getting rid of the all or nothing attitude
Get rid of the idea that you must cut out entire food groups to be healthy. Healthy eating does not mean you have to eat healthy 100% of the time. Healthy eating does include going out to dinner with your friends, or having a popcorn and movie night with your partner but ensuring you do so in a mindful way without guilt or compensation the next day.
Make room in your day to enjoy the foods you like, allow yourself to eat that chocolate after dinner and enjoy it. Healthy eating should be a lifestyle change which has to be realistic, attainable, and enjoyable.
Tonight, I encourage you all to make a herbal tea, get out your favourite book or tv show and enjoy a few squares of chocolate, a cookie or try out one of the recipes in our healthy eating cookbook.
Not labelling food as “good” or “bad”
Labelling foods as good or bad can make them forbidden and exciting, making us want them more. It’s time to change your mindset as viewing food as either good or bad. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation and cutting “bad foods” out of your diet can often lead to binge eating. Often categorising food like this can begin a vicious unhealthy cycle of feeling guilty if you do eat a bad food. If you want the chocolate, eat the chocolate. All in moderation.
Detox social media not your diet
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how you control what you are viewing. I’m sure many of you have mindlessly scrolled through social media admiring the homemade almond milk, avocado toast, vegan & sugar free chocolate and intensive workouts of many influences who tell you “The only workout you’ll ever regret is the one you don’t do”.
It can be incredibly hard to change your eating habits when you are constantly exposed to the diet culture every time you open your phone. So, ask yourself, although you may be mindlessly scrolling through these images, what impact is this having on your mental health and the way you view food?
I encourage you to spend some time decluttering your social media and removing those accounts who make you feel inadequate.
Ditch the scales
Not too much needs to be said with this tip. In today’s world weight gain is seen as a personal failure. If you wake up in the morning and step on the scales and the number goes down, you have succeeded and if the scales go up you have failed. Learning how to improve your relationship with food is impossible if you have a number staring back at you every day.
For more information check out our course Making Peace with Food. Making peace with food is all about a new way to approach food regarding eating and weight loss. If you’re struggling with a relationship with food that feels chaotic and out of control and wondering how to make peace with food this course is for you!
Remember to reach out if you are struggling and need some help. If you have a bad relationship with food it is often good to talk to someone about it. There is no problem too big or small.