By Michelle Gaugler, PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach
We learn how, what, when and why to eat early in our lives. These messages get ingrained in us and influence patterns of eating as an adult. Some of the lessons about food are great for us and our wellbeing. Some, unfortunately, are not. The first step to changing your relationship with food is to recognize you have a relationship with food and figure out what that relationship is.
The second step is to shift your mindset and relationship to help you meet your life goals. For example, a “healthy eater” finds food pleasurable but keeps it in its place as a necessary function of living. Food, in an unhealthy relationship, can become a substitute for people, love, comfort and meaningful engagement.
Healthy eaters do not think about food in terms of “good” or “bad” but as fuel for their bodies. Some fuel sources are more efficiently used in your body, some less efficient, some leave behind waste. Different fuel sources have different nutrient content which impacts the effect on the body.
Healthy eaters do not overthink or underthink food choices. A balance between thoughtful preparedness and simple mindfulness is a great range to be in. Any relationship in your life that is out of balance is not a healthy one and the same holds true with food.
Healthy eaters eat when they are hungry. Not because it is a certain time of day or they are doing a certain activity. But because their body needs fuel. They eat because they are aware of how fuel affects how their body performs and their health.
Healthy eaters develop a sense of awareness of how their body feels. They eat with awareness of when they feel full, what choices they are making at mealtimes and stop eating when they are satisfied. Staying connected to your body is a great practice for emotional regulation as well as food regulation.
And lastly, a healthy eater is pretty consistent. They practice healthy eating pretty consistently and make healthy choices for fuel pretty consistently. No yo-yo dieting, no highs and lows, no bouncing back and forth. Putting systems into place to support a healthy lifestyle can help you stay consistent. So ensuring you have scheduled times to meal prep and exercise help create stability in your eating patterns.
Your relationship with food matters. The health of your relationship with food will either help your health and lifestyle goals or it will hurt you. Food has a lot of potential power you can use to further yourself so work on improving your relationship with it and make it work for you!!!