FIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD – Claire Dorotik M.A.
“What was disrupted in the relationship, needs to be repaired in the relationship”
1. DON’T FEAR FOOD:
We as a culture have a very strange relationship with food: on the one hand, we love it, on the other hand we are afraid of it. Eating can bring a tremendous amount of pleasure, yet not when we feel out of control around food. So many of us struggle with the concept of enjoying the comfort and nourishment that food offers, and learning when enough is enough. This is too bad, because when we do this, the relationship with food becomes very tense, and enjoyment is replaced with fear and trepidation. Let’s put fear in it’s place, and start enjoying food. To do this, learn to notice when your relationship with food feels out of control. You regain control by walking away, and doing something that brings control back to you, like going for a run, calling a friend, doing something you feel good at, or asking for help. Yes, I said asking for help. When you do this, you do bring control back to yourself. Remember the thing you are trying to gain control over is yourself, and your choices.
2. DON’T COMPLICATE FOOD:
It is amazing how complicated our society has chosen to make food! We have taken a very simple concept, and very successfully confused it to the point that most people are willing to try any program as long as it promises weight loss. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that many of these programs make no sense. Nobody can live on juice forever, or measure everything they put it their mouth. How about just learning to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you are not. Instead of reading every new diet plan, or celebrity advice, just learn what you are hungry for. Start with this: eat breakfast, don’t skip meals, avoid “fake foods that have no nutritional value, don’t over eat, and try water instead of sugary drinks that make up 20% of our caloric intake. Is it really rocket science!
3. WHAT FOODS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU
There is no one right way for everyone. How can one way of eating serve all of us? This is where you as an individual need to take responsibility and figure out which way of eating is best for you and your goals. Yes, I said take responsibility. Don’t make anyone else responsible for what works for you. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard unsuccessful dieters say, “That diet didn’t work for me”. My response is always the same, “You didn’t work for you.” This is where you come in to take the time and energy necessary to experiment and find out what works for you. You will not always get it right but that is part of the process. Allowing yourself to try and fail is what it takes to learn what works, and what doesn’t. So don’t be afraid of taking responsibility, It is incredibly rewarding to learn how to fuel you body to feel the best.
4. FOOD IS FUEL NOT AN ESCAPE:
Food has become an escape. Stop running away! Don’t hide in your food. Food is fuel and not a solution to anything other than giving your body nutrients. I love chocolate like anyone else, but it’s not going to change my situation. Eat to fuel yourself not avoid your life’s woes. Put your needs in the proper place. If you’re feeling stressed, this need belongs in the therapist’s office, not the refrigerator. We all need an escape at some point-there is nothing wrong with that-but food is not the answer. If you don’t need therapy, maybe you just need to find a passion that puts your mind at ease. This could be running, playing a sport, playing an instrument, listening to music-the possibilities are endless. But you are not going to see any of these possibilities if your head is in the refrigerator. So stop hiding in your food, and start looking around, you might be surprised what you can do when you open yourself up to new options!
5. STOP AND ENJOY YOUR FOOD:
Stop eating in your car or at your desk. Take the time to enjoy your food long enough to figure out what you are really craving. Not only is mindless eating a huge contributor to weight gain, but also, keeps you from truly satisfying your cravings. Without satisfying your cravings, you are much more likely to overeat later. We all know this one…if you tell yourself you can’t have something, you are going to want it later. So slow down, think about what you really want, and enjoy it. To do this, and stop the cycle of mindless eating, don’t pair eating with anything else, such as watching TV, surfing the internet, or driving.
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