Five ways to improve your relationship with food
Posted on 13th November 2019 at 15:16
Having a good relationship with food can vital for long term success, check out my five top tips to achieve just this.
For those who have a good relationship with food the idea that someone else might fear meals out with friends and be nervous about being left alone in their own house with a fridge full of food might well seem ridiculous.
However it really isn’t.
Having a poor relationship with food is more common than people realise.
It’s something that I can personally relate with.
Although I now have a great relationship with food many years ago I defianlty did not.
In the past I would pull my car over as I devoured a whole pack of cookies in secret, be so restrictive that I wouldn’t allow myself bread at dinner and ‘eat clean’ for ten days to only result in a ‘cheat day’ that would cause not only some very dodgy bowel movements but a massive sense of guilt.
In this blog I want to give you my five top tips to help you build a better relationship with food and finally see food in a better light.
Change the language you use – How many of you use the words clean, dirty, cheat day, good, bad or even junk food? We can all probably understand what foods we mean when we say these words but that doesn't mean that using these words is right.
Changing the language you use to describe different foods is the first tip I would advise that can really make a positive difference. The issue with labelling foods like good, bad, clean and dirty is that it gives negative conations when you eat certain foods which can often lead to a sense of guilt and potential anxiety.
The reality is that there are no fat loss foods or foods that automatically cause fat gain, just foods with a higher yield of calories or higher nutrient profile.
Try to see all food under one umbrella and understand there are foods you should probably eat more of when trying to lose body fat and others you should be more moderate with.
Below are words changes that I would advise you make to help change the language you use to start improving your overall relationship with food.
1. Clean/good foods – change to – Single ingredient foods (more nutrient dense)
2. Dirty/bad foods – change to – Flexible foods (more calorie dense)
3. Cheat day – change to - Higher calorie day
There are of course more changes you can make but hopefully these options will get the balling rolling and result in some positive outcomes.
Don’t eliminate food groups – This leads on nicely from the first point. What do people do when they start dieting? Clear the cupboards and make a list of foods that they aren’t going to eat again. Well first tell me this, do you want to eat these foods again in your lifetime?
Most likely. So how is completely cutting out these foods going to work long term? The reality is that you are probably going to need to reduce the quantities of these foods you eat but trying to completely cut them out will most likely not end well.
You need to work on developing better habits and enjoy your favourite foods in moderation not just cutting them out all together.
The other main issue with cutting foods out completely is that it can lead to you wanting them even more. At the end of the day we all still display some characteristics that we did as children and wanting something we can’t have can be a common one.
Try and listen to your cravings so when you really do fancy something like a bag of Maltesers you allow yourself to have them. Then focus on really savouring and enjoying them. A much better strategy instead of saying they are completley off plan which over time can result in you starting to build up such cravings that when you finally succumb you eat them in quantities that is a bit obscene.
Focus on averages – When you are trying to make improvements with your diet it can be all too easy to become demotivated and give up when you make a small slip up or take a step backwards.
The reality is that it takes time to really address longer term issues and you need to understand there might well be slip ups along the way. The way you react from these times will make a big difference to your long-term success.
But what can often happen when people have a day or meal where calories get a little out of hand is the ‘F**K” button gets well and truly pushed. This then sparks days where things slip right out of control and you are right back where you started.
But what would you do if you were trying to save money and you accidently spent £50 more than you planned on a new pair of trainers. You wouldn’t react by completely clearing out your bank out due to this one small slip up.
You would just realise that it wasn't perhaps the best decision but you get on with it continuing to try and stick to your budget.
By focussing on your averages you can just start to understand how the bigger picture is more important and that one small step backwards doesn’t need to result in a full-on landslide.
Just learn from your mistakes so you can avoid them potentially happening again and focus on moving forward once more not giving the small indiscretions too much thought.
Track your calories – I firmly believe that gaining a better understanding of the true calorie value of foods can be very beneficial. Although it can take a bit of time to get to grips with at first it will really open up your eyes to how many calories you are really eating.
It can also highlight how some foods that are more single ingredient are actually higher in calories than you thought and show how more flexible foods can still be worked into your daily calorie intake.
Tracking calories can help promote a more inclusive diet as when it really comes down to it calories are the most important thing. Of course you need to ensure that you eat plenty of nutrient dense foods that are nourishing, but to be consistent with your diet balance needs to be achieved. Tracking calories can defiantly allow you to achieve this.
Don’t track calories – No I haven’t changed my mind over the space of a paragraph but it’s important to understand that taking time away from tracking calories should be considered now and then.
To create and maintain a positive relationship with food you want to be able to have the ability to step back from tracking. There can be the odd instance when people can get overwhelmed with tracking and let it control them. Taking a week off occasionally or even just enjoying an untracked meal once a week can ensure you maintain a healthy balance.
If you fear not being able to keep your nutrition on point without tracking and it makes you feel anxious then you probably need to re-address your balance.
Tracking can be a great tool but just ensure you use it wisely and it doesn’t add more problems than it fixes.
Having and maintaining a good relationship with food is not easy for everyone but if you install the above tips I really think you can make some great progress.
If you feel that you maybe need that little bit more support to finally relax and enjoy your diet while making great progress then get in touch.
I’ve helped many clients just like you to getter better balance and finally feel relaxed enough to enjoy food for what it is.
Tagged as: Nutrition
Share this post: