Most of us don’t give it much thought, our relationship with food. Some probably wouldn’t even think of having a healthy vs unhealthy relationship, that’s left to our relationship with our husbands, our Mothers. We go about our days some of us planning our meals out a week in advance, some of us a few minutes before. We don’t realize the way we’ve been taught, things we’ve been through, has changed our relationship with food as we get older and when it comes to weight loss – we need to take a closer look.
If I think back to when I was a teenager I didn’t have the healthiest take on food. Instead of eating healthy meals along with my hours of basketball or softball practices and games, I starved myself so I could ‘snack’ along with the rest of the girls. After school we would walk to the local Walgreens and everyone would grab a pop and a bag of chips and a candy bar before basketball practice. Being a teen who always felt so much bigger then the rest, I skipped breakfast and usually lunch (or I’d split one with a friend) so I could enjoy the snacks with my teammates. I’d eat a few bites of dinner after practice, but over all I did not come close to eating a balanced meal. My Mom always prepared great things to eat – breakfast, lunch, dinner, but I didn’t know how to balance it.
Things didn’t change much throughout the years, and when I hit my 20’s I moved in with a boyfriend and his family. I had never lived or been around a family who didn’t have a frig or cupboard full of food. When they would say they didn’t know what they were going to have for dinner tonight it wasn’t a question of what they were going to fix – but literally how they would be able to afford dinner. As a working girl I felt it was my duty to provide groceries for not only myself and my boyfriend, but his entire family. Soon my bank account and my emotional energy was drained. A family that spent money on alcohol and drugs instead of food for their family took it’s toll on my mental capabilities and I finally, after many years, escaped. To this day I have a need to keep my pantry and frig full of food. If I can see the light on when I open the freezer I start to panic and want to make a trip to the grocery store. If I’m limited on my grocery budget and I have to get creative with what we already have, I get anxious. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and has caused my weight loss journey to freeze, and my relationship with food be extremely unhealthy.
One of my focuses lately have been creating that healthy relationship with food. It’s definitely an ongoing process, and something I have to work hard at each and everyday. I compiled a list for the “HOW TO’s” to help you on your journey.
1. Recognize Your Triggers – When do you over eat? Do you eat when you’re stressed? When your upset? When your tired? Keep a journal when you don’t feel in control. Learn why and that will help you figure out how to be in control.
2. Eat – Give yourself permission to eat, whenever you want. It allows you stop when you’ve had enough–knowing that you’ll have another chance, that it’s not now or never. It allows you to learn what hunger really is-which is the first step in learning when your really full, and knowing when to stop eating.
3. When you eat, eat REAL food – Trust nature and pick foods that your grandmother would recognize. Although grocery stores can be filled with modified food-like substances such as processed, packaged, or frozen products, try to stick to things that were grown from the land. If it doesn’t grow, avoid it!
4. Eat at a Table – Place your food on the table, physically sit down in front of it, and eat without distractions. Set the time apart to make ‘dinner time around the table’f your family routine. This should be a place where it’s enjoyable, relaxed (as much as possible) and not rushed. This should be something that you look forward to.
5. Appreciate your Food – Think about where your food came from. Remember that someone had to grow it, tend it, and prepare it. God put it in the Earth for us to enjoy, and we need to appreciate that fact.
6. Be Patient – It took years to develop the unhealthy behaviors and bad relationships with food. You are not going to change over night – realize that just like your bones or your heart healing, your mind and body needs time to learn new healthy habits.
7: Pre-plan – Planning your meals ahead of time will help keep you in a good mindset, as well as keep you watchful of what you eat. If you work a lot of hours or have a super busy schedule, you can always order from a healthy food delivery service.
8. Know your going to screw up – No matter how much will power you have, how much you’ve pre-planned, there are times when things aren’t going to go as planned. Realize that a trigger event may cause you to ‘fall off the wagon’ but that is normally, and it happens to the best of us. Just pick yourself back up, remember this even for future reference, and move along.
9: Stop Comparing-your size, what you eat, how you feel. Everyone’s needs are different. Our needs depend on height, muscle mass, our activity levels, etc. Be happy with you.
10: Get Support – Open up to your friends and loved ones. Studies show that people are 75% more likely to succeed at weight loss and healthy eating if they do it with someone else. Learn something new? Share it with your friends, feeling down and ready to give up? call a relative. But make sure to be selective about where you go for help – bad information can be more damaging than no information!
What is your favorite tip for creating a healthy relationship with food?