A healthy relationship with food is one in which you feel good about your eating. It means that you can eat what you want without feeling guilty. You don’t feel the need to diet or lose weight. You can enjoy food without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.

A healthy relationship with food is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many people have unhealthy relationships with food. This can lead to problems such as obesity, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. This blog post will discuss how to have a healthy relationship with food and avoid unhealthy eating habits.

How Is Your Relationship With Food?

Two female co-workers are sitting on a beige sofa in a bright modern office and enjoying a healthy take-away lunch. The office has large windows. Horizontal daylight indoor photo.

Nutrition experts recommend that you ask yourself this question often. Are you clear about your relationship with food? How do you feel about eating? Do you eat to live or live to eat? There are no wrong answers to these questions, but being honest with yourself is essential. If you’re not happy with your current relationship with food, then it’s time to make some changes.

Also, are you constantly worrying about what you’ll eat next? Are you continually thinking about how many calories are in each food item? If so, then it’s time for a change. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of food, try to focus on the positive.

For example, think about how good it feels to eat a nutritious meal or how happy you are when you’re able to resist temptation. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not feared.

How Should Your Relationship With Food Be?

Creating a delicious dish from healthy veggies. Young woman in the kitchen. Kitchen woman making healthy food standing happy smiling in kitchen preparing salad.

Your relationship with food should be healthy.

A relationship with food is like any other relationship. It takes work to maintain a healthy one. And just like in any other relationship, communication is vital. You need to be able to talk openly about your likes and dislikes, your goals, and your expectations.

Which food do you like? Which foods do you not like? Why? What are your goals for your relationship with food? Are you trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or be healthier overall? Be honest with yourself and your partner (in this case, food). Trust is also important. You need to trust yourself to make the right choices and trust that you can stick to your goals.

Respect is another important aspect. You need to respect yourself and your body by making mindful choices and respecting your limits. This means that you should respect your body’s needs and wants. If you’re feeling hungry, eat. If you’re not feeling hungry, don’t force yourself to eat.

Finally, love is perhaps the most important ingredient in a healthy relationship with food. You need to love yourself enough to make healthy choices and love food enough to enjoy it without overindulging.

Eating healthy is not about depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about finding a balance between all kinds of foods and ensuring that your meals are nutritious.

An Unhealthy Relationship With Food

Young woman wearing a protection mask from coronavirus lying on the bed with 4 pizzas and getting ready to watch movies during the weekend and quarantine at her apartment - shocked and surprised emotions

An unhealthy relationship with food is based on fear and restriction. It is often characterized by a preoccupation with food, an intense fear of gaining weight, and severe restriction of food intake.

People with unhealthy relationships with food often obsess over every little detail surrounding their meals. They may count calories, fat grams, and carbs to the point where it interferes with their daily life. They may also avoid social situations where food is present, such as parties or restaurants.

You may be afraid of gaining weight or becoming obese. As a result, you may restrict your food intake or only eat certain types of foods. This can lead to problems such as obesity, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Some signs of an unhealthy relationship with food are:

Guilt Eating: This is when you feel guilty after eating something you know isn’t good for you.

Dieting: You may feel like you need to diet or lose weight to be healthy.

Avoidance of Certain Foods: You avoid certain foods because you think they are bad for you.

Emotional eating: You eat in response to your emotions, not because you’re physically hungry.

Orthorexia: This is when you become obsessed with healthy eating and only eat “perfect” foods.

Overeating: You overeat even when you’re not hungry

If these sound familiar, your relationship with food may be unhealthy.

Ways To Have A Healthier Relationship With Food

Cropped shot of people having healthy food during lunch break at office.  Hands of people eating balanced diet in lunch at the office.

Below, I share some tips on how to have a healthy relationship with food:

Be Aware Of Your Thoughts And Feelings About Food

Pay attention to the thoughts you have about eating food. Are they negative or positive? Do you feel guilty after eating?

The first step in having a healthy relationship with food is to become aware of your thoughts and feelings about food. Do you have any negative thoughts or beliefs about food? If so, try to challenge these thought patterns. For example, if you believe all carbs are bad for you, try eating a healthy carb-rich meal and see how you feel afterward.

It’s important to remember that carbs aren’t bad for you; they are fuel to your body and very important for you. Not eating carbs at all can be very dangerous, so enjoy the carbs you like and don’t feel bad about it. It’s okay to cut out some carbs, but you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the food you like.

Challenge Your Beliefs

Just because you think something is true doesn’t mean it is. Challenge your beliefs about food and nutrition. Are there any foods that you’re afraid of eating? Why? Try to eat various foods, even those that you think are “bad” for you. You may be surprised that they’re not as bad as you thought.

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is about listening to your body and giving it what it needs. It’s not about following a strict diet or eating certain foods. Instead, it’s about eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. It’s also about being mindful of your food choices and choosing foods that nourish your body.

Your body knows what it needs. Listen to its cues and eat food when you’re hungry. Stop eating when you’re full. Don’t eat just because it’s there or because you’re bored, sad, or happy. Eat when your body tells you to. Don’t try to starve yourself. Eating when you’re hungry will help you make better choices and avoid overeating.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is all about being fully present while you’re eating. Pay attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food. Slow down and savor each bite. Also, pay attention to how it makes you feel. This will help you become more aware of your eating habits and make better choices.

If you deviate from your goals, that doesn’t make you a bad person, and you needn’t beat yourself up over it, which could lead to a sense of defeat and overeating.

Eat For The Right Reasons

Eat because you’re hungry, not because you’re bored, sad, or happy. Eating should be about nourishment, not emotional gratification or as a coping mechanism. If you find yourself eating for reasons other than hunger, try to find other activities to do that will make you feel better.

If you’re eating because you’re bored, try reading or going for a walk. If you’re eating because you’re sad, try talking to a friend or writing in a journal. If you’re eating because you’re happy, try celebrating in other ways, like spending time with friends or family.

Avoid Fad Diets

Fad diets are plans sold as the best and fastest approach to losing weight. Yet some of these diets involve eliminating foods that contain the necessary nutrients that your body needs to maintain good health. Fad diets are often restrictive and challenging to maintain long-term.

Healthy eating is a lifelong journey, not a diet. Diets are restrictive and often difficult to stick to. Instead of going on a diet, make healthy eating a part of your life. Focus on making small changes that you can stick to long-term. Small changes add up and can significantly affect your overall health.

Be Aware Of Your Triggers

If certain foods trigger your overeating, try to understand what the underlying emotion is. Or, be aware of your triggers and have a plan to help you resist the urge to overeat.

Seek Support And Professional help

Struggling to make healthy choices? Seek support from family and friends. There are also many online resources and support groups that can help you on your journey. If you’re having trouble finding a balance between healthy and unhealthy eating, talk to a doctor, dietitian, or therapist specializing in eating disorders. They can teach you new ways to think about food and help you create a healthy eating plan that’s right for you.

How To Have A Healthy Relationship With Food – Bottom Line

A woman eating fruit

A healthy relationship with food is key to maintaining overall health and feeling good in your body. Be mindful of your eating habits, avoid fad diets, and find a balance that works for you. Seek out support if you need help making changes to your relationship with food. And most importantly, enjoy your food!

If you want to learn more about more ways to maintain a healthy relationship with food, sign up for Lesley Goth’s Free Mindset & Body Image Masterclass!

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