By Chef K.T. Murphy
How is your relationship with food? While you may not have anxiety over breakfast or constantly think about what you’ll be enjoying for dinner, there are people who seriously struggle with their food relationship. Whether it means they break their diet by eating junk food in private, or they eat their feelings when things get too much. There are five simple ways that you can build a better relationship with food.
1. Get Cooking
This tip isn’t just about creating healthier foods; rather it’s all about building a connection with your food. We are so used to convenience and food being set in front of us, so getting to know your food should help you respect it more. Don’t forget to expand your tastes by rotating your meals more often. Home cooking is a great way to try new foods and experiment with new recipes, vegetables, or cuisines. Don’t be afraid to branch out.
2. Know What Feels Good
Not every food will make you feel good, and that is a unique experience for everyone. Good means, strong, energized, vibrant, and generally well. If you have trouble keeping track of how certain foods make you feel then start keeping a food diary. It can be difficult to narrow things down until you record your meals and see the pattern emerging. For example, if you are hounded by heartburn it might be the tomatoes or cucumbers that are causing it. You won’t know until you avoid them to see if it makes a difference.
3. No Mistake Is Permanent
If you choose to satiate a craving or give in at lunch and choose a cheeseburger rather than the salad, you don’t need to compensate for it, especially if that means restricting your food, purging, starving yourself, or over-exercising. None of these habits will benefit you emotionally or physically. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a slip up, just get yourself back on track immediately thereafter. Your mistake isn’t permanent.
4. Build A Strategy
Do food and eating fill you with anxiety, fear, and anger? Is this preventing you from spending time with your loved ones or cause you to avoid social gatherings where food might play a role? This isn’t okay and you should know that no one is perfect, we are all human after all. You don’t need to shame yourself about a slip up that leads to overeating, this is fairly common when attending social events. You need to understand that mistakes happen and give yourself permission to make them. However, it is vital that you have a strategy in place to bounce back from those mistakes. If you slip up one meal time, you can acknowledge the mistake without judging or shaming yourself. You need to move on and make your next meal nutritious.
5. Lead a Fulfilling Life
People who have a healthy relationship with food see it as both fuel and pleasure. They don’t over-think their meals, they pay enough attention to grocery shopping, cooking, or the restaurant they’re going to without obsessing over it. They’re far too busy enjoying the rest of their lives to get caught up in worrying about every meal.
One of the most effective ways to avoid unhealthy foods when shopping is by making a list by aisle and sticking to it. Stick to the perimeter of the store as best you can, as this is where the fresh items tend to be stocked. The inside aisles are where the junk food lives and you don’t need that.
There is nothing stopping you from improving your relationship with food, it doesn’t have to keep controlling your life.
All the best