Many individuals struggle with eating disorders, which ultimately destroy their relationship with food.
Fixing your relationship with food is something you can’t achieve overnight or with just words of encouragement from others. Rather, it’s a relationship you constantly have to work on for most of your life—just like how you work on relationships with romantic partners, friends, and family.
Understanding Your Relationship With Food and How to Improve It
Food is more than just sustaining yourself. It is our culture, a source of comfort, and even a love language for some. Food plays a huge role in our lives, which gives us more reason to have a good relationship with food.
With that being said, in this article, we’ll list a few ways and tips to help you improve and further nourish your relationship with food.
Fully Understand Your Relationship with Food
Before you can start improving your relationship with food, you must fully understand what type of relationship you have with it, whether you have a good or bad relationship with food.
A “good” relationship with food is not based on eating nutritious foods or even the quality of your diet. It’s more about why you consume the food, how you eat the food, and how you feel or behave to eating the food.
Some questions you should ask yourself:
- Are you eating because you’re hungry?
- Are you binge eating it and will you regret doing so later?
- Did you eat it because it has less calories?
- Are you guilty of eating a certain food?
- Do you feel stress or anxiety when eating?
- Are you restricting yourself from eating?
These questions are just some of the things you should ask yourself to help determine your relationship with food.
When you start to improve your relationship with food, you’ll start to feel less guilty and stressed.
But you should take note that your relationship with food can fluctuate. You could be eating with no remorse, but at other times, you could be feeling guilty and stressed.
This is completely normal for individuals who are just starting to improve their relationship with food. So, be patient and kind to yourself. It will take time.
Try Mindful Eating
Mindful eating has emerged as a means of repairing a strained relationship with food. It entails eating in the present time and being completely present for the food and eating experience.
This includes learning to identify bodily hunger and satiety signals in order to decide what and how much to eat, as well as tuning in to the satisfaction that food can provide.
Do Not Fixate Too Much on Calories, Fat, etc.
The diet industry has a way of sucking you in and trying to make you feel bad about yourself and your eating choices.
Constantly stressing about nutrition does not result in increased nutritional value. Those who allow themselves to eat anything they want tend to make better choices and eat more nutritiously.
So, don’t fixate too much on the calories of a meal. Try letting go of eating anxiety and guilt, as well as the need to be thin.
Try Eating “Food Triggers.”
Those who suffer from eating disorders or who have been lured into it by the diet industry are well aware that there are many “off-limit” foods that can become a trigger for some.
Start gradually introducing those “off-limits” or “food triggers” into your diet to help promote a better relationship with food. And, instead of feeling guilty or anxious, try to ponder with curiosity if that food would taste better than before, or if it would be sweet, salty, etc.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Improving and building a good relationship with food is not something you can do overnight. So, you have to be gentle with yourself and take small steps. Be kind to yourself and to others who are also starting their journey in bettering their relationship with food.
Your relationship with food is unique and distinctive, and it takes ongoing maintenance to live healthily. Though it may appear difficult to change your negative relationship with food, it is possible to reach a point where food no longer controls you but instead nourishes your general well-being.