Positive Habits for a Healthy Relationship with Food

There's a fine line between thinking carefully about what we put into our bodies and obsessing over it. Here’s a list of what people who have a healthy relationship with food do differently:

1. People with a healthy relationship to food eat mindfully.

The practice of engaging all our senses to guide our eating-related decisions is called mindful eating. Mindful eating can help us acknowledge our response to food without getting into judgment.

2. They swear by everything -- yes, everything -- in moderation.

If you do decide you're in the mood for fries, pizza or chocolate enjoy it, then continue to practice mindful nutrient dense eating for the rest of the day.  

3. They eat when they're physically hungry.

When we use food to try to soothe an emotion we mask what that emotion is trying to teach us, and instead replace it with regret or guilt for eating whatever we grabbed.

4. And they stop eating when they're comfortably full. 

Signals of fullness arise directly from the meal you just consumed, including memory of the taste and smell of the food, and several different hormones released from your digestive tract in proportion to the nutrients you ingested.

5. They eat breakfast.

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy you need to get things done and helps you focus

6. They don't sit down with the whole bag.

Tip: Buying single-serving packages of your favorite foods helps to snack smart.

7. They know the difference between a snack and a treat.

A snack is something you eat to maintain energy in between main meals; a treat is purely for enjoyment.

8. They give themselves permission to enjoy eating.

Look ahead at your day and make sure you have enough time carved out to eat, rather than planning to "grab" something in the three minutes you have between meetings or classes.

9. They don't "make up" for a meal.

People with healthy relationships to food will have a lighter meal later in the day if they decide to indulge at breakfast, but they won't restrict that later meal so much that they end up binge snacking because they've made themselves excessively hungry.

10. They don't eat to see a certain number on the scale.

The scale can’t tell you about the habits needed in order to pursue a healthy lifestyle for the long haul. It also won't tell you how the foods you put in your body affects the way you feel on the inside.

11. They're not afraid of feeling hungry.

Hunger is not something to be feared. It's a sign that our bodies are working well and utilizing fuel! Eat fiber and nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts and whole grains every 3-5 hours and you'll maintain satiety.

12. Their concerns for food don't interfere with daily life.

Being too vigilant about nutritious eating could lead to orthorexia, a disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with eating "healthy" food.  Dietary restrictions intended to promote health could paradoxically lead to unhealthy consequences such as social isolation, anxiety, and the loss of ability to eat in a natural, intuitive manner.

Want to learn more about how to sustain a healthy relationship with food?

Contact me for a free consultation.