Creating a healthy relationship with food can be difficult! A lot of us will over eat, not eat enough, binge, starve, emotional eat, eat while sitting at the work desk, feel guilty after eating certain bad foods, or never want to make the effort to change our eating habits.
INTERESTING FACT: I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she was telling me that these days research has proven that more people are dying of obesity than starvation. Isn't that just heart breaking to hear!! People are choosing to eat themselves to death because they can not be bothered or make too many excuses as to why they don't want to be healthy! It's time to start making more of an effort with your health and be proactive with making better choices.
To create a healthy relationship with food we need to eat mindfully. Our body has some pretty significant built-in cues to tell us when to eat and when to stop eating. We need to listen to those cues instead of ignoring the signals that your body is now full or that your body is actually really hungry. You do not need to eat according to a clock on the wall, you need to eat when your body tells you its ready to have some more fuel in order to carry on working.
Only eat when you are physically hungry.
To create a healthy relationship with food we need to eat in moderation. It is too easy in this day in age to go down to the bakery or a local cafe and buy whatever you want whenever you want for lunch,a snack or dinner. No food should ever be forbidden in your life, but it shouldn't be an everyday, all the time food, if you know its not healthy or doing your body or bank account any good then it needs to be in the "in moderation category". When I say moderation I don't mean every second day, I'm talking once or twice per week, we don't "deserve it for every good thing we do".
When you eat in moderation, you actually enjoy the food more because it's something you will only ever have every now and again.
Plan and prepare delicious healthy meals, that you can have for one of your daily meals when you are at work or for when you get home. If you work a long day and you know you are going to be hungry when you get home, instead of having afternoon snacks from a packet from your pantry, have a pre-made salad or ready chopped vegetable sticks in your fridge so you know you can go straight home to something tasty. You will look forward to it more and you will appreciate that meal because you're not just grabbing whatever you can get your hands on. If you are one for grabbing whats easy and whats in a packet in your cupboard you don't actually take in, or appreciate the food you are eating, you then eat more because you are "still hungry" or "never full".
We need to start thinking and making every meal special.
Every meal you eat should be special, you need to be mindful when eating food, make sure you appreciate what is on your plate or in your lunch box. Its even more special when you have prepared and thought about it yourself, so be more proactive in preparing and planning your meals for the week. One way to help you appreciate your food more is to eat with your eyes first, take in what you are about to taste, once you take your first mouthful, focus on the delicious flavours and textures that you enjoyed most about that meal. You will find you will actually become full after a meal because you have taken the time and made the effort to enjoy it.
Get rid of the habit of eating lunch at your desk, or in front of the TV or cellphone. When you are eating a meal it should be time for you to think about what you are eating, make the time to enjoy your food and your down time, you'll actually appreciate the break more too. If you are eating at the desk or TV you are constantly distracted on that and you won't be appreciating whats going into your mouth.
Chew your food, don't inhale it! Take the time to chew what is going into your mouth, try not to scoff or swallow your meal whole, you'll miss out on the tasty flavours and textures! You also won't be sending the "i'm full signal" to your brain, and you'll feel the need for something more...like a huge helping of seconds, then ice-cream or something else sweet!
Shop mindfully! Take into consideration your plan for the week of what you intend to eat for every meal. Always have a list when you go food shopping and try stick to it! It's important to PLAN PLAN PLAN. Healthy eating won't be easy if you have no idea what you intend to have for lunches and dinners or even your snacks, you just need to make a bit more effort and be prepared.
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail"
To help your children create a healthy relationship with food, you need to cut the "treats". Don't reward your children with food as treats, it sets them up for failure later on in life. Don't tell your children if they eat their vegetables they can have ice-cream after dinner, ice-cream shouldn't be available for children after dinner, they don't need it, they just end up relying on it, and will only eat the good foods on their plates if there is a "treat" in place. Treat your children, but when you feel they deserve it, maybe even just once per week, when they go to a birthday party or when they have a friend over, never use it as a bribe to eat good foods or when they do something great (use stickers for that) :-).
I hope you have taken something from this blog post on how to have a better relationship with food, I know it can be hard, but the only obstacle you really need to face is yourself. You are the only one who can make it work and make the changes, so start being more proactive and making more time to eat mindfully.