Improving our relationship with food
Holidays are around the corner and so are the winter blues. As we enter the season that brings delicious and comfortable treats, it is important to our mental health that we stay true to our hunger cues and prioritize positive self-talk when it comes to eating and our body image.
Fad diets, diet culture, and even the term “diet”, have unfortunately been tightly associated with physical body appearances rather than for physical health reasons. Reinforced by social media, societal norms, and marketing strategies, we morph our minds and thoughts to believe that we need to achieve the ‘ideal body type’. This societal message is so powerful, that many of us do whatever it takes to change our body image. Resulting in a distorted thought pattern, also known as distorted eating, or in severe cases a diagnosed eating disorder (ED).
What was meant to give us nourishment and energy, now shames or frightens us to eat what we want or what makes us feel good. Our relationship with food is tied to our relationship with ourselves and our bodies. This connection can often resonate with more people than just those with severe ED diagnoses.
Rebuilding the Relationship (With Food)
The first step is to stop sharing diets. All bodies are different, with different needs and different limitations. We can’t expect our bodies to respond to the same needs as celebrities, our friends, or even family members. Your personal diet may vary depending on your personal goals and personal history with food and physical health.
Find foods that you actually enjoy eating. The culinary world has become so complex to suit every possible taste. So… Explore, try new things, and keep your comfort foods that make you feel good.
No more calories, no more weight, no more numbers. Unless professionally guided by a licensed health practitioner, lose the numerical goal. Let’s find new goals such as, do you want to feel strong? Confident? Or just overall more healthy? Any of these goals could help take the pressure off of meeting specific numbers.
Add before you take away. The best way to introduce new foods and better habits, is to include more in your diet rather than to restrict what you are currently doing. It is more productive to have a positive outlook about our good habits, than it is to feel shame about our bad habits.
In the end, we want our relationship with food to improve without compromising our relationship with ourselves. It can also be helpful to check in with a registered dietitian at your family physician’s office to learn about specific foods and dietary habits that will work for you.
If you want to chat more about this, feel free to book a session with me, Alex, using the link below.
If you feel you or someone you know are experiencing signs of an eating disorder, please reach out to a physician or visit the resources below.