Having a loving relationship with the food you eat is part of a physically and mentally healthy life. I have counseled men and women on love relationships and have found that many struggle with body-image issues and have unhealthy relationships with food. Many of us self-sabotage in the form of obsessive eating, dieting, or self-cruelty about looks and worth. This problem is not exclusive to women, but we tend to be hit harder. And anyone at war with food is going to tend toward grumpiness and dissatisfaction.
Our relationships help make us what we are – fulfilled or empty, happy or sad, productive or reduced capacity. One important relationship is with your self – and another is with the food you eat. Personalities and problems affect all areas of our life from the bedroom to the boardroom to the dining room. Your feelings about body image help to determine your quality of both work and play. I have discovered there are many correlations between behavior toward what a person eats and behavior towards who a person is dating.
Diets don’t and won’t work – and neither does self-denigration, or obsessive compulsive eating behaviors. Diets are short term. Attitude is life-long. Here are 8 things to keep in mind when your mind goes negative:
1. There is only one good diet – a negativity diet. Limits on names you call yourself and the criticism you feel will do more to take off weight than self-abuse and rigid strictures.
2. Turn down the volume on your negative voice (the one that robs you of becoming who you deserve to be) and crank up the volume on your positive voice (the one that cheers for you when you workout and feel good, or eat mostly healthy food in the right amount for you).
3. Attractiveness comes in all sizes. Loose, ill-fitting clothes won’t hide you. In fact, they draw attention of the negative kind. Look your best right now as is. Keep the clothes that become you and are comfortable (squirming around and tugging at things looks less confident). Be rid of all else.
4. Break free from force-feeding yourself what you don’t want, but feel you ought to eat. Healthy food is good medicine (make it tasty medicine preferably, but not necessarily, without the sugar).
5. You can have the fortune without eating the cookie. Don’t clean your plate. Do throw out what you don’t want. This isn’t waste – it’s food sanity.
6. Stress can kill, but it also fattens. Reduce the items on your to-do list if they are not getting done and if you are procrastinating about a must-do, do it. Frustration can cause false hunger that is about avoidance not need.
7. Don’t follow food rules unless you want to and will alter them when you are ready to make a change for variety’s sake. Proactively make your own “rules” that are flexible, sustainable, livable, and punishment-free.
8. Living and loving well is the focus! Food should be a priority only when you are hungry. Then the priority is eating well.
How Good is Your Food Attitude?
Circle your answer below to improve your relationship with food.
1. Do you believe in comfort food? Yes or No
2. Are there foods you have to have? Yes or No
3. Do you eat more when sad, mad or especially glad? Yes or No
4. Do you ever feel guilty about what you’ve eaten? Yes or No
5. Do you enjoy eating and feel satisfied? Yes or No
6. Are you able to decline unwanted food? Yes or No
7. Are urges to eat based on internal desires instead of external lures? Yes or No
8. Do you consciously focus on eating while consuming food? Yes or No
Re-read your answers and write down your conclusions about your eating style.
If you answered “yes” to questions 1-4 and “no” to questions 5-8, there are changes to be made. Write down three actions you will take to enjoy eating, getting fit, and removing food from an enemy status in your life.
It is not just what you eat, but how, when, and why that are important to your health and happiness. Variety, freedom of choice, and enjoyment are essential to a lifelong approach to food. Eat to be satisfied, cheerful and full – and to feel good in your own skin.
Identify and start changing what bothers you most and your feelings about yourself will change too. Live life at the fullest without guilt about what you eat, whom you love, or how you live!