How to have a good relationship with food
Who wants to hate eating?D: It’s one of the best parts of a day:D Here are Izzy’s 10 ways to make your relationship with food as meant to be as Ross and Rachel:’)
1. Stop dieting.
Just reading that sentence might have sent you into a panic. Relax — I’m not telling you to forget everything you know about healthy eating, I’m asking you to change your perspective. Diets are temporary (“I want to lose weight for my wedding.”). Diets are about numbers (“I want to lose 10 pounds.”). Diets are a metaphor for what we really want in life (“When I lose weight, I’ll finally be happy.”) Let go of these ideas. Instead, think about the long haul (“I want to be able to play with my grandchildren someday.”). Think about how you feel (“Eating quinoa gave me so much energy!”). Think about what you really want out of life (“I want to run a 10K.”). The tools, tricks, and mentality of dieting won’t fix your life or solve your problems, but thinking about what you want out of life and making decisions based on that will.
2. Change your vocabulary.
Can we all just agree that you were not “bad” if you had a piece of cake? That you were not “good” if you resisted seconds? These words are laden with the kind of judgment that’s the last thing you need when you are trying to learn how to approach food from a healthier point of view. You made a choice that either supported your health goals or it didn’t —- but that choice doesn’t make you “bad” or “good.”
3. Think, shop, and eat like a French woman.
There’s a reason why French Women Don’t Get Fat became a runaway bestseller, and it’s not because we all wanted to figure out how to be skinny and eat croissants for breakfast. With our focus on restrictive diets and punishing workouts, we’ve completely divorced food from pleasure. On the list of great pleasures in life, food is up there right after sex. So when you’re in the grocery store, really appreciate the sensory aspects of the food on sale: the colors, smells, the feel of the wet spinach leaves between your fingers. Visit a farmer’s market and chat with the growers about how they like to cook their crops. Taste your food and experience the deep delight of eating something delicious.
Are you Hungry? Or are you Angry, Lonely, or Tired? Try to pinpoint what’s sending you the fridge. Is it a physical hunger or is it just boredom? If it’s hunger, by all means, eat up! But be aware if your desire to munch away is fueled by something else.
5. Sit with a feeling.
If find yourself about to cuddle up with a box of chocolate cookies and you know it’s not because you’re hungry, try to just pause for a minute. Whatever the feeling is you’re attempting to eat away, sit with it. Feel all its discomfort. It feels bad doesn’t it? (No wonder we eat to get away from it!) Instead of masking those feelings with a binge, write down how you’re feeling or call an understanding friend. The feeling is still going to be there after a snack attack, but if you confront your emotions head on, you’ll find a better way to ease the pain.
6. Start a food journal.
Most of us have no idea what we eat in a day or how much. Start writing down what you eat, not necessarily as a way to lose weight, but just to see how what you eat makes you feel. After each meal or snack, jot down your post-eating sensations: Do you feel like you need a nap? Did you wait too long to eat and then overdo it? By connecting the way you eat with how you feel, you can notice patterns and, if necessary, change them.
7. Ask yourself what you really want.
You know when you’re not even hungry anymore, but dinner was good, and the lure of a second plate is right there within reach? You find yourself shrugging and thinking, “Ah, why not?” Instead of going for the second helping of food you don’t really want, ask yourself what you really want. Do you want a piece of dark chocolate? Do you want to get up from the table and go back to your kitting? Do you really, really want a pair of skinny jeans? Let what you actually want inform your decisions.
8. Reconsider “treats.”
When your boss tells you your TPS reports weren’t up to snuff and you still made it through the day without tears, it’s tempting to treat yourself to a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels. But is this really a treat? Or is there a chance that deep down, you know you’ll feel worse-off than you did before? Think about treats that will actually make you feel better: a new lipstick, painting your nails, stopping to pet every puppy you pass on the street.
9. Nix peer pressure.
Dinner with friends after work is one way to catch up, but there are so many other options that don’t involve food and that annoying dessert tug-of-war. Go to a yoga class, bundle up and take a walk through the park, see that art exhibit that’s about to close, or bond over your embroidery and a cup of tea.
10. Slow down.
When I am so hungry that I am literally wolfing down my food, I’ll notice that I’m practically holding my breath. The same mindful breathing that can get you to relax is absent from hurried eating. Slow down. Take a bite. Take a breath. Pay attention to what’s happening right now: the tastes, the smells, the textures, the conversation you’re having over dinner. Take it all in mindfully and slowly…and enjoy!