I wish someone had told me everything you will find here when I was struggling with food myself. Over time I’ve discovered some really effective ways that helped me to develop a healthy balance with food. Although it’s impossible to share everything I want to say in one blog post, I do hope what you find here will help you. Keep checking this blog for more information on healing your relationship with food, learning more about intuitive eating and listening to your body. But for now, these are my 5 top tips to heal your relationship with food.
MY TOP 5 TIPS TO HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
1. GIVE UP DIETING
Imagine if someone told you ‘freshly painted, don’t touch it’, I bet you would want to touch it even more! What about if someone said that there is one book in the library that you cannot read. Would you like to read that book? All I could think of would be that book! You see where I am going? When we say no to something, chances are we will want that even more so. Diet is another word for saying no and this is why restriction and deprivation often results in overeating and bingeing. You must give up dieting to heal your relationship with food. Throw away all diet books and unfollow all of the social media accounts that promote ‘quick fixes’, diets, fast weight loss and calorie counting. Instead, make a commitment to turn to a balanced wholefood diet.
2. GIVE UP THE DESIRE TO ALWAYS BE AT THE PERFECT WEIGHT
The number on the scales used to define my day. I used to weight myself every single day and write down the number on a piece of paper. If I liked what I saw I could stick to my diet, if I didn’t like what I saw I would do quite the opposite! How did I let a single number to define myself? Instead of fighting for health, I was fighting for that ‘perfect’ number on the scales.
I know I can be leaner than I am now, but that would require a lot of hard work. Two summers ago I was very lean and although I liked what I saw, it was exhausting. I was training everyday and was extremely strict with my nutrition. However, as a result I was miserable, had very little energy, I messed up with my hormones (my periods started disappearing) and my two main life focuses were gym and food. Once I started eating more and had a treat here and there I quickly lost that lean feeling, which was pretty disappointing as I worked so hard to get there. Why I am telling you this? Because everybody has their ‘happy’ weight, where you can feel good at both physical and mental levels, and that ‘happy’ weight should allow you to enjoy balance while training well and feeling good. Therefore you may need to reassess what you think your ‘perfect’ weight is that you are constantly working tirelessly to get back to? Another thing that you may find helpful is to have a weight range instead of an ideal weight, because our weight constantly fluctuates. By focusing on range that works for you, you can allow yourself those fluctuations. However, if you eat predominantly healthy and stay active, your weight should balance out as a side effect of doing so.
3. GIVE UP THE FOOD GUILT
I have learned it the hard way that it’s totally a waste of time to feel bad after you ate too much or you ate the foods that aren’t healthy. Blaming yourself will only make things worse. Instead of motivating it will do quite the opposite by putting you in a box that’s hard to escape from. So every time you eat emotionally, enjoy too many treats, don’t feel guilty or angry, but instead see that as a lesson about yourself and try to understand the problem. Ask yourself ‘why did that happened?’, ‘was I feeling emotional?’, ‘what about?’, ‘what can I do to change it?’, ‘who can I speak to who can help me?’. Trust me, it is a recipe for disaster to feel ‘good’ or feel ‘bad’ after eating. Try to practice eating when you are hungry.
Remember that you must treat your relationship with food the same way you treat your other relationships with people. Would you ever try to fix a relationship with someone by being angry with him or her? Would you call them a failure and add to their insecurities? No, you would never do that. So why on Earth would you do that to yourself? Guilt will only aggregate emotional eating.
4. PRACTICE MODERATION TO FIND FREEDOM WITH FOOD
Have you ever thought to yourself after eating a ‘forbidden’ food that you ‘blew it’ so you ‘may as well just keep going’ and start again tomorrow? This sort of mentality will only lead you to overeat and feel guilt around food, and this is exactly why indulging in moderation should be a part of a healthy life. You simply cannot live the rest of your life without having any treats or endlessly worrying about having one. Why always say to yourself ‘that’s it, as of tomorrow I will not eat any chocolate, but today I will eat few blocks of it’? By doing so you will only throw another no into your basket and carry it with you, which will make you want that chocolate even more. Learn to practice indulgences with moderation in mind. Have an occasional treat, something you really crave for, and be grateful! Eat it with joy and gratitude, never with guilt. Tell to yourself that you can have whatever you want whenever you want, because only the thought of this will make you feel calmer. Always repeat to yourself that food is abundant, it won’t go anywhere and that you can have more tomorrow. So instead of eating the whole cake, have a piece and leave the rest for tomorrow or the day after.
Avoid terms like cheat meal, because you are not cheating on anyone. You are being a human and having a delicious treat, because you are in control and made a conscious decision to do so.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Instead of constantly obsessing about what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food, learn to listen to your body. If you listen carefully, you will learn to hear when your body is telling you its full so you can stop. Some days you will eat super healthy and be very active, but other days you will indulge a little and give your body some rest. That’s OK! It’s called life and it’s called balance. You have to tune into your body and listen to what it needs.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you want to see anything like this in future posts, please do let me know. Your feedback helps immensely to shape my work on Healthy Happened. Have a beautiful day! :)