Food impacts your attitude toward life, negatively or positively
If you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, you know how it can ruin your day, it can make you feel nauseous; even ruin your plans. We probably all had moments in time when we ate something that looked wonderful, like a big piece of chocolate cake or a huge tub of French fries – what about that hot dog or burger? It’s yummy stuff, right? But eating these can leave you feeling really awful a few minutes later. Eating snacks and foods basically that don’t come from nature – you might want to steer away from those.
Don’t let your relationship with food get toxic
Like in any relationships it can turn sour and ugly, and this can happen in your relationship with food too. We all rely on food, sometimes as a comfort to us when we are having a hectic and stressful day, and often we will just ingest food to control what we are feeling inside. Such a relationship with food won’t work out well in the end.
Not only are you damaging your relationship with food, but your pocket as well. Save your pocket and your health next time by taking your own snacks such as almond or other nuts and seeds. When it’s done like this, then a trip to the movies or the beach does not become a place to stuff-your-face, but to rather take in and enjoy what you chose to see at the cinema – a movie.
How do you emotionally eat – what are the symptoms?
- You eat when you have emotional triggers and not true hunger.
- You eat more even when you are full.
- You eat out of automatic habit as if you are on autopilot.
- You do multitasking whilst eating instead of taking note of what you eat and enjoying the cooking and eating experience.
- You often snack on foods, skipping meals where you sit down and actually take your time to eat.
- You ignore your real hunger signals, skipping breakfast because you “didn’t have time” or “forgot” to eat
- You don’t consider sizes of portions; you just eat everything on your plate just because it is there, sometimes eating in a trance. When you are finished eating, you hardly are aware that you even ate.
- You believe you don’t even really have control over your own body and what you eat.
- You get stressed about your choices of foods, then rely on fad diets or “in” things and other people to help you determine what to eat and how much.
Mindful eating is not to be sniffed at
Mindful eating and breaking the vicious cycle that you have been drawn into by your mindset can certainly change your relationship with food. Sometimes people, because they know they are going to the gym later, allow themselves a quick bar of chocolate for some energy. That’s not mindful eating. Mindful eating is paying attention; not mindlessly feeding your mouth in an almost unconscious fashion. Mindless eating is not even being aware of what precisely you are eating, what it taste likes, looks like and feels like as it enters your mouth.
You might not have realized it before, but your relationship with food is massive, encompassing many aspects of your life. It is your attitude to food and your body that has the possibility of withholding the potential of preventing medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more from happening. It is not being persuaded by social media advertisements persuading you to succumb to deliciously advertised fast food meals at half price for the week; to enable you to “get through a stressful week”.
There is no question about it, a good relationship with food takes perseverance and time. We have to stop all the fads that catch our eyes so easily and persuade ourselves to start building and strengthening a healthy relationship with food. You will get your rewards – you will see the results on your face, in your body, and in your emotions. Practice mindful eating and you will have a zest and vibrancy in your step – it really is a worthwhile investment!
Look at the benefits of mindful eating
- You have better control over your weight because when you stop stressful and emotional overeating, you start to improve on your eating habits and your weight almost balances itself. Trying to lose weight rapidly in unhealthy ways makes you lose track of signs that your body is really full or hungry. Ignoring your body’s signals can cause you to fluctuate continually in your weight and become ill.
- You don’t need to ever diet when you eat mindfully. Mindful eating can certainly help you to lose weight but with mindful eating, the real focus is on giving your body what it needs, nutrients to function properly which will make you feel good. When you don’t overeat or under-eat, you settle down to a healthy weight without the need to follow diets. Fad dieting doesn’t usually work in the long term because it doesn’t teach you about managing your preferences and your emotions. With mindful eating, you don’t cut out different food groups and you don’t starve. Now you listen to your body and avoid listening to advice from external sources.
- It enables you to manage your health better. There are some studies in mindful eating that claim it can help you to better manage a disease like diabetes, eating disorders, digestive issues, and others. All of these require certain dietary changes and planning. In 2013, the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics in their journal noted significant improvements in weight loss, quality of diet and better glycemic control in patients with diabetes. This was after undergoing mindfulness training. Those with diabetes were much more aware of what they were eating, the reason why they were eating and the benefits derived from eating. In other words, they were more attuned to their habits. To prevent the onset of diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some cancers, it is important to note how nutrients in a diet interact with and affect how our body functions – this according to the Nutrition Society, which is Europe’s largest organization in nutrition.
- You stop stressing about food. Stress can really sabotage your fitness and dieting goals. Just by eliminating emotional eating will impact on your health and weight to a huge extent because the vicious cycle is stopped in its tracks. It is being aware of stressful eating habits, learning to respond to them rather than reacting to them. You are in control of your decisions. By being more aware of how stress can impact you, you stop the automatic behavior that makes you indulge, which leads to feeling ashamed, which leads to feeling even more stressed.
Tips to have a good relationship with food
- Consider food as your source of energy and nutrition and not a way to relieve stress or anxiety or to comfort yourself after or fill an empty void.
- Don’t always look for the latest craze in diets. Rather make a habit of eating regular meals. Trying to cut calories and not eating can easily trigger off overeating making it even harder for you to recover.
- Try and eat a good breakfast each day too because a good and healthy morning meal can curb your hunger the whole day. A protein breakfast is a top nutrient when it comes to weight loss. Proteins also boost your metabolism.
- For snacking, select healthy foods because then you get the nutrients. Healthy foods are veggies, fruit, and rich in protein foods like eggs and salmon, Greek yogurts or chicken breast, for example.
- Keep the foods that you crave so much out of sight which means not stocking your pantry and fridge up with sugary and fatty foods. Hard to do but worth trying. These types of food make it easy to start binging and most people do their binging in private.
- Get the support you need, making it smart to spend time with family and friends who also eat healthily. Don’t get into the habit of eating alone because that might mean binge eating again.
- Manage your stress healthily. It certainly is not an easy thing to simply say avoid stress, but you can practice healthy ways to relax. People binge to feel less stressed. That’s in the short term. But in the long term, exercising and medication, getting involved and busy with other activities or soothing friends can help with the urge to overeat. There are psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapist who are experts in eating disorders, as well as dietitians and nutritionists that are there to help you get on the right track. Your family physician is the best person to get all these resources.
So, are you ready to get started with a healthy relationship with food?
There are many dietitians and nutritionists who will explain to you when to eat and what to eat but there are not many who will explain to you how to eat and why you should be eating good foods. It’s because the food is simply much more than fuel for the body. We all have an emotional connection to food, a bonding type experience that needs to stay healthy for the sake of our minds and bodies.
Remember to trust nature and pick the foods in your life that maybe your grandmother would have recognized. Today’s grocery stores are packed to capacity with packaged, processed and frozen products – but you, try to stick to the things that grow from the land, otherwise, it is best to avoid it. Learn to respect your relationship with food enough to sit at a table and chair and eat, enjoying the company of others who also love good food and good conversations to keep you positive and motivated.
Learning to have an excellent relationship with food helps you to relish and appreciate every bite you take, encouraging your senses to experience all the different textures and shapes, boosting your life with good health, satisfaction, and a clear mind – then you can really say bon appetit to that!
And to get you started, enjoy a simple apple and prune smoothie below. This is a really simple and quick high fiber smoothie.