Having a relationship with food sounds silly, right? That’s what I thought when I first started diving into the world of learning how to lose weight the healthy way.
Not quick fixes or overnight results; I wanted to learn how to start living a healthier lifestyle. I didn’t want to yo-yo diet where I’d lose weight and then gain it all back again. I needed lifelong, sustainable solutions.
This is when I learned that I had a terrible relationship with food.
I’d never thought about how I viewed foods before, but I quickly realized that my way of thinking when it came to food was not the way I wanted it to be. It wasn’t the way I needed it to be. I started my first diet when I was 13. I had terrible body-image issues that I still struggle with sometimes. The road to healing this relationship was long and still on-going. I’ve had to learn a completely different way of thinking that would replace the decades of what I’d learned at a young age.
Here are some ways I’m healing my relationship with food and eating:
- One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t be overly restrictive when it comes to what I want and don’t want to eat. Or how I used to see it as what I can and cannot I get to choose what I eat. There are no more “can’ts” when I’m deciding on a meal or snack. I know that if I restrict a certain food or tell myself that I can’t eat it, I’m going to want it more. I can eat the way that I want to all day but when nighttime hits, I will binge and eat all the things I wanted to earlier when I restricted it. If I allow myself to have a little bit of what I wanted and really take the time to enjoy it and be satisfied by it then I won’t overeat later.
- I don’t view foods as “good” or “bad”. It’s all just food. I used to see an apple as good and a cookie as bad. Now I believe in everything in moderation. I can have an apple and a cookie without any guilt.
- Food isn’t something I need to earn or burn. Meaning I don’t make a list of all the things I need to do to be healthy in order to earn that ice cream I want. I also don’t calculate how many calories I’m going to indulge in and then figure out what I need to do to burn that same amount (or more) of calories. I used to think this way for YEARS. I would never want my daughter (or sons) to think this way. I don’t want them to hold back on enjoying a piece of birthday cake because they’re busy trying to decide if it’s worth it not knowing how many calories they’d need to work off.
- I exercise because it feels good to my body. I do it knowing that there are so many rewards to not just my body but my mind as well. For example, it helps keep my anxiety under control. I like the feeling I get when I do things physically that I couldn’t do before. I no longer treat it as something I need to do to lose weight. I do it as something that I simply enjoy. It isn’t a punishment for eating something that I regretted.
- I don’t use sweet foods like cookies or brownies as a reward. I serve them with (or shortly right after) our meal. This has been an important part when it comes to how I view food.
- I’ve unfollowed every social media account that doesn’t align with my believes. Any article that I see that lists five different things you can do when you’re hungry is something I scroll right on by. I don’t distract myself from hunger. I listen to my body and I EAT when I’m hungry.
Food is meant to be enjoyed. The freedom I have felt during this process in healing my relationship with food has been so freeing not just physically, but mentally as well.