There are societal expectations when it comes to food, such as what diet plan is the best, how you should be relying on your body mass index (BMI) to calculate caloric intake, and what number on the scale is the ideal weight. When building a healthy relationship with food, you first have to re-build your mindset on the topic. Letting go of societal expectations and fully concentrating, with your best efforts, to create and maintain a meal plan that fits your need and goals.
Address your insecurities
What is holding you back from developing a healthy relationship with food? Where are you at in terms of reaching your nutrition goals? For some individuals, reaching an ideal body weight serves is the prime concern. Remembering to let go of societal expectations, are you entering into a healthy relationship with food to better yourself or to please others?
If the answer is the latter, the journey will be difficult as you will be conflicting between motivation and pleasing everyone around you. In this instance, you may “pretend” to be working on your goals, such as eating smaller meal sizes in public, while losing the self-discipline to stay on track with your goals in private, binging on large meal portions while at home.
Be mindful about eating
Start out by consulting a dietitian, nutritionist, or doctor to establish a healthy food plan that meets your needs. With every meal prepped and consume, know that you are one step closer in reaching your goals and fulfilling your body with the proper nutrients it needs. Notice and document the changes you experience or feel in your body over the course of your journey. Maybe you notice that at the beginning you had little energy and were oftentimes irritated without the three cups of coffee in your system. Over time, while sticking to your meal plan, maybe you notice that you have more energy to play with your children, hang out with friends, and feel in control when it comes to managing your caffeine intake.
Tips to practice mindfulness while eating:
Slowly enjoy your food. Savor each bite by noticing the food’s texture, taste, and smell. Recognize that you are nourishing your body with each bite.
Listen to your body’s cue of when you are hungry vs. full, similar to identifying whether you are thirsty or not. Helpful tip: sometimes the food item you are craving is the nutrients your body needs. For example, if you have a big craving for pasta, it may be a sign that your body needs carbs to balance out your meals.
Eat in a comfortable, distract-free environment. Having company is nice, but when you are having meals on your own, aim to turn off the TV or put away your phone to enjoy self-care time with the foods you eat.
- with healthy food options by carefully reading the ingredients in the foods you choose. When choosing meals, it is recommended that you find options that include plenty of fruits and vegetables as they are nutrient-dense. Similarly, nuts, seeds, and beans supplement protein and fiber nutrients for your body. Try to reduce your intake of sugary or processed food with ingredients you are not aware of sources.
Building a healthy relationship with food takes patience, determination, and support. Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement as you would with someone who is also taking steps towards developing healthier, happy lifestyle changes.
Boucher, S., Edwards, O., Gray, A., Nada-Raja, S., et al. (2016). Teaching intuitive eating and acceptance and commitment therapy skills via a web-based intervention: A pilot single-arm intervention study. JMIR Research Protocols, 5(4). https://doi.org/10.2196/resprot.5861
Evans, M. (2017, January 10). Healing the hate: A better body image in the new year. Marci RD Nutrition. http://marcird.com/blog/healing-the-hate-a-better-body-image-for-2017