Our relationship with food can sometimes be quite layered and complex. Many things can play a part in how and what we eat; from mental health, relationships, environment, social media, body image expectation and advertisements.
Poor relationships with food has also been encouraged through diet culture to help businesses generate money.
For some people it is more extreme than others and if you find it is a problem that affects you living your life on a day to day basis you should seek medical and professional help.
For many of us it can just be surface level insecurities and hopefully these tips will help your perspective on food and eating without guilt.. because we all deserve to eat.
1. Don’t demonise foods
All foods are great for different reasons. Accept you have a relationship with food and that some days will be better than others,
If you are prone to emotional eating approaching food you eat due to emotions with a different mindset can help.
Not Helpful - I have had such a bad day at work - cake will fix that... Devour,
Helpful - I have had such a bad day at work. Some cake will give me a pick-me-up but it wont fix my problems.
2. Don’t cut out foods you love
It is important to have a balanced and sustainable diet. Cutting out foods you love may lead to cravings and make it difficult to maintain the diet in the long run.
3. Share the love
Sharing food when eating out is a great way to enjoy different dishes while not overeating. Consider sharing sides or mains with your dining companions to enjoy a variety of foods without feeling obligated to finish everything on your plate.
4. Use an 80/20 rule
Focus on nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time and allowing for more flexibility with the remaining 20% to enjoy favourite foods.
5. Don’t skip one meal to indulge on another
This is a good reminder to practice balance and moderation in our eating habits. Skipping meals can lead to overindulging later, which can be unhealthy for our bodies. It's important to nourish ourselves consistently throughout the day.
6. Track calories
Tracking calories can help you stay accountable and learn about the energy value of the foods you eat and portion sizing. This can allow you to include your favourite foods while staying within your daily calorie goal.
7. Make your food presentable and take pictures
Taking the time to make your food look presentable and taking pictures of it can help you appreciate what you're eating and be more mindful about your consumption.
8. Slow down.
It's important to take your time while eating and savour the flavours and aromas of your food. Rushing through meals can cause you to miss subtle signals that you're full, which can lead to overeating. So, try to slow down and enjoy your food to help you better recognise when you've had enough.
9. Stay hydrated
Yes, it's true that thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger, which may cause overeating. It's important to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid this confusion.
10. Stop treating yourself like a bin
Eating food solely to avoid wasting it is not the best approach. Instead, consider finding ways to repurpose food like using left overs for another meal which will also save time and money,
11. Track your period
There is legitimately a scientific reason why you are hungrier the week before your period. It's because your estrogen and progesterone levels are all over the place. Allow yourself some extra lenience to avoid overeating.
12. Don't reward yourself with food
While using food as a reward may provide temporary pleasure, it can contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, consider rewarding yourself with non-food related activities or treats, such as a relaxing bath, a fun activity, or something you've been wanting to buy for yourself. This can help you develop a more positive and balanced relationship with both food and self-care.
13. Plan your meals
Planning your meals and snacks in advance can help you avoid making impulsive choices that may not be the healthiest. Consider creating a meal plan for the week and prepping your meals in advance so you can have healthy options readily available. Additionally, keeping healthy snacks on hand can help curb cravings and prevent impulsive snacking on unhealthy options.
Food guilt is the act of fixating on whether certain foods are "good" or "bad," and feeling ashamed or guilty if you consume too much or any of the foods that you consider to be "bad." Try working on these tips but be patient with yourself. It is normal for those feelings of guilt or shape to resurface once in a while.
Focus on health and make it your primary goal rather than weight or calories alone. Educating yourself on macro and micronutrients is really powerful to understand how we can nourish our bodies with a balanced and nutritious diet. Prioritising whole foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can help improve overall health and wellness and reduce cravings.
If you would like support with implementing healthy habits ask me about Diet Coaching. Diet Coaching is not a diet, it is learning what diet really means which is 'the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats'. We implement healthy habits and encourage enjoying all the foods you love within a safe and supportive group environment,