Food For Thought: 4 Tricks to Build a Healthier Relationship With Food
by Genevieve Nutting
Here’s a little, food for thought. Have you ever Googled the definition of what “food” is? Probably not, as this isn’t exactly a complex word that we strive to define. However, if you did happen to try to define it you would come up with phrases such as:
“A nourishing substance providing energy, sustainability, and stimulating growth”
“Nutritious matter that offers mental and physical nourishment for the body”
So when did a word that contributes to our vitality and living a fulfilling life suddenly become our enemy and a relationship that we struggle with on a constant basis? We have become obsessed with our daily diets, turning them into a fad and a strict eating regiment that we struggle to stick to because often it lacks sustainability. We diet and restrict ourselves, then binge because we’re tempted towards these forbidden foods, beat ourselves up about it, then go back to dieting and binging all over again. Food goes from being the best friend we go to for comfort or as a reward and suddenly flip-flops to being our worst enemy that we blame for our unhappiness when we think we “cheated” or had a lack of discipline.
How do we form a healthy relationship with the food that we consume? Rather than obsessing, restricting, or beating ourselves up with our eating habits, it’s important to find a balance between eating for survival while still enjoying what we put into our bodies.
Get some gas in that tank – You wouldn’t run your car on empty and you sure wouldn’t run it on a tank full of sugars and fats. Why would you do this to your body? Our addiction to food has made us forget the most important part to why we eat the foods we do. Start looking at your food and asking, “What will this do for my body? Will it energize me, provide high-quality nutrients that will contribute to strengthening my body?” Consume foods that provide more benefits than damage to your body including fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein.
Don’t take it out on Ben & Jerry… and stop beating yourself up when you do treat yourself. Sometimes at the end of a long day, the only thing that really gets you is a glass of vino and pint of double chocolate ice cream (with some cookie dough bites thrown in if it’s been a really rough day). And who’s to tell you that’s wrong? Try to find healthy ways to unwind by replacing those empty calories with some exercise, venting to your best friend (or dog if you’re like me), or sip a warm cup of tea to calm down and release stress and anger. If you do splurge, don’t sneak or hide it, but rather enjoy it as this is one of the first steps to building a healthier relationship with food.
Be mindful – This is the buzz phrase of the decade, but what does eating mindfully actually mean? It begins with differentiating when you’re eating out of boredom or anxiety and when you’re actually hungry. It also includes taking time to appreciate the foods you’re consuming and what they’re doing for your body. Sit down as if you were savoring each bite with a friend, taking in each sensation and being thankful for the opportunity to be nourished through fresh, clean, and healthy food, something that over 850 million people in the world don’t have access to according to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
You + your body = best friends forever… literally – Appreciate how hard your body works each day to get you up and able to experience each moment life gives. Think of a friend who would bend over backwards for you, (ultimately what your body does for you each day) would you abuse them and make them feel poorly about themselves? Not even a question, so why do the same with yourself through the foods you eat and the way you treat yourself afterwards? Love yourself and love your body, it works too hard for you not to!