Healing your relationship with food

Healing your relationship with food

I want to discuss the concept of “healing your relationship with food.” 

First of all, a relationship is defined by how two or more people or things interact with each other.  The things you are in a relationship WITH have a huge impact on your well-being. When your relationships are HEALTHY (nurturing, fulfilling…), life is good. When your relationships are toxic, things are not so good.

By definition, you need food to survive. You can’t cut it out the way you would alcohol or another substance should there be an issue with it. The thing is, just because we INTERACT with food doesn’t mean we have a healthy relationship with it.

If you were to google “what does a healthy relationship with food look like?”, the general consensus is that it will occur when we feel in CONTROL around food versus feeling like food has control over us. This allows you to spend your energy on doing things that really matter to you. 

Knowledge is the only tool to heal your relationship with food

At its core, I agree with regaining a sense of control when you’re around food and not letting IT control YOU. However, MOST of the advice around how to GET to a healthy relationship with food revolves around allowing all foods.

Here’s what I disagree with — I don’t think you’ve “healed” your relationship with food simply because you can eat donuts and not feel bad about it. That’s a rather simplistic view of the thing. I received this advice when I was at my unhealthiest, and I TRUSTED it. I implemented it and gained a lot of weight. But I still didn’t feel free; I felt uncomfortable, and it made things worse.

I was SO WORRIED about acceptance and “including the things I loved,” but nobody taught me about nutrition or how to eat what my body NEEDS to function properly.

In the US, we have a warped definition of food. We lump it all together, and use it for comfort, satisfaction, and even to judge each other. We lost sight of the fact that food is meant to FUEL our bodies. We’re eating higher rates of processed foods than ever before, and we wonder WHY we’re feeling sluggish, tired, not seeing the results we want.

How to begin exploring your relationship with food

Let’s compare your relationship with food to a romantic relationship. Why are you still worrying about nourishing your relationship with foods that don’t love you back? You know the ones, after you eat them, you feel bloated, exhausted, or unsatisfied.

Side bar: Did you know processed foods are chemically designed to make you crave MORE?

Back to our little comparison: Think about the boys in high school — there were the sweet, attentive, consistent ones that would do anything for you.  But you may have viewed them as boring. Then there were the rebels, the exciting ones, the ones that put butterflies in your stomach. The boy next door is whole foods, and the rebel is the hyper palatable foods.  We always THINK we can change them and make it work, but they don’t change.  What happens is WE change to adapt to them.

Ask yourself these questions to evaluate your relationship with food (I’m not about to give marriage advice ;)):

Are my expectations being met?

Observe the outcomes you’re getting after you eat something specific. Are they wat you expect? Are you cool with what you’re getting? Or do you expect a different outcome but keep the relationship the same?

Ie, if you KNOW ice cream makes you feel bad but keep eating it, ask yourself WHY is that? What could you substitute it for that does FEEL good? That makes your BODY feel satisfied and nourished instead of bloated and uncomfortable?

Do I feel I can personally grow with this relationship? 

Am I able to grow when things are like this?  Or does this relationship need to shift in order for me to get unstuck? 

If your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or whatever it is, food has a nutritional profile that can either help or hinder your goals. There’s not way around it. So can you make adjustments to GROW towards your goal with this specific food, or is it PREVENTING you from hitting that goal?

Is my life better with them in it?

Is it REALLY better?  This is a HARD one to answer, because it might feel like the answer is YES, because you know that changing is hard and that doesn’t sound better right now. 

If you answered no to these, it’s time to make a change. I get it, it’s easier said than done.

Three steps to improving your relationship with food

Learn about food

One of the biggest mistakes people make, especially now that we rely on social media so much, is following anyone and their mothers’ food tips. Drink this juice to CLEANSE, eat this salad to PURIFY, try this spice to BALANCE.

The way to prevent yourself from falling for these things is to work with someone who takes the time to teach you not only HOW to eat but WHY certain choices look the way they do.

Your body is a highly complex machine, and food (enough of it and in the right proportions) is ESSENTIAL for it to function. At MYLF Coaching, we’re dedicated to helping you BE the CEO of your life, so you have the knowledge you need to make informed decisions based on your goals.

Learn more about the MYLF way here.

Listen to your body

You know why the first step in many allergy and intolerance cases is an elimination diet? Because deep down, you KNOW which foods make you feel good and which don’t. 

If you know a specific food gives you stomachaches, headaches, or makes you feel bad, and you keep eating it anyway, you’re not honoring what your body is asking of you.

Listen to your body to make choices that align with what it needs.

Practice mindfulness around food

I know. We’re all busy. We’re all running around. But do you need to shove whatever you find into your mouth while running out the door? Probably not. At least not always.

Turn meal time into an experience where you pay attention to the way food tastes, its texture, its smells, and how it feels. 

Your relationship with food starts with your mindset around food

If you’re constantly “falling off the wagon” at any difficulty, it’s time to shift your mindset.

First, ditch the negative judgment or complaints. You’re not forced to eat “boring chicken and broccoli” – you CHOSE it for a reason.

Second, YOU are in control of what you eat, so if chicken and broccoli is boring to you, then MAKE something else. It really is that simple.

And third, own that the journey is TOUGH at times. There are obstacles, but there are also solutions and benefits to this challenging path. You started it for a reason – so whether it is having more energy to play with your kids or being strong enough to see your grandkids growing up, or whatever it may be, let’s keep that reason at the forefront of everything you do.

At MYLF Coaching, we work every day to ensure you have the knowledge and tools required to achieve your individual goals, whether that is toning, weight loss, or a healthier, more active lifestyle.

You’ll learn to be in the driver’s seat of your life, making the decisions to become the person you want to be, feel confident in your skin, and DO the darn thing.

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