What does a healthy relationship to food and our bodies look like?
A healthy relationship with food sounds all good and well, but if you’ve struggled with abnormal or unhealthy eating habits, it can be hard to even begin to imagine what that looks like.
But let’s start with this - a healthy relationship with food doesn’t mean you eat “perfectly” or follow the “perfect” diet. Those don’t exist.
Not sure if your habits fall under the category of unhealthy? Here are a few signs of an unhealthy relationship with food:
Avoiding certain food groups entirely; categorizing foods as “good” or “bad”
Refusing to eat out at restaurants or at friends’ homes ever
Overly strict about how much food you eat
Stressing out or having a meltdown when your meals don’t go as planned
Exercise is how you earn your meals or treats
You feel extreme guilt after eating certain foods
Bingeing and restricting cycles
I want to emphasize that this isn’t to shame you if these behaviors reflect your own - but I also want to reassure you that you don’t have to stay stuck in this forever. You can find more freedom, less stress, and more enjoyment with food.
With that said, there are many ways to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, but these are the four I want to put on your mind to start with:
RESPECT YOUR BODY- If you find yourself overwhelmed with the thought of a binge, remember how it makes you feel after the fact. Guilt, shame, lethargy, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, and indigestion are fairly common ones. Respect your body enough not to want to hurt it in this manner. You deserve to feel good!
FUEL YOUR BODY WITH NOURISHMENT - If you know there are certain foods that trigger you (i.e. chips, cookies, ice cream), make a pact with yourself not to have them available at home. Buy foods that make you feel good when you eat them! Most often, these are going to be fresh, whole foods that won't make you feel terrible like fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and whole grains. Create balanced meals that include carbs, protein, and a fat source to keep you nourished and full.
HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE - Our bodies are made up of over 70% water. Each individual cell in the human body needs water to function appropriately. That means it’s time to drink up! Try to consume around half of your bodyweight in ounces each day. For example: If you weigh 150 pounds, you want to drink around 75 oz. of H2O daily.
PRIORITIZE SLEEP & RECOVERY - Sleep is one of the best ways to deal with stress, whether that be mental stress from work/relationships/life, or physical stress from exercise. When the mind and body are appropriately recovered, they can process stress adequately so that it doesn’t impact your day-to-day functioning or your overall health. When we get enough sleep regularly, it also restores our body, improves concentration, sharpens your decision-making, and prevents mood swings.
The bottom line here is that our relationship with food often reflects our relationship with our bodies. When we don’t love how our body looks, we often end up not giving it what it needs - sleep, water, nutrients, and most of all - respect. We think, “Oh well, might as well binge” or, “What’s the point?” when it comes to our health.
And often these thoughts are rooted in something much deeper than just our appearance on the surface level.
If you struggle to love what you see in the mirror, or to view food for what it is, it might just be a lack of skills with mindful eating that is holding you back - and that’s okay! It’s never too late to learn.
Mindful eating skills are the main goal when I work with my coaching clients. When you work with me 1:1, you are saying no more living life in a constant state of dieting. You desire the ability to obtain the healthiest version of oneself without having any massive food restrictions. You want to learn how to indulge in your favorite foods without completely losing self control.
If those sound like the changes you want to make, head here to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with me so we can focus on your individual goals and see if we are a great fit to work together.