Food nourishes you. It gives you the strength to face the challenges ahead of you every day. It gives you the vitamins and minerals you need to fight off illnesses. And, yet, many people, especially in the United States, have an unhealthy relationship with food. An estimated 30 million Americans from all age groups and genders are believed to be suffering from an eating disorder.
An unhealthy relationship with food comes in different forms. Some limit their intake of food to the point of starvation. Others will eat to relieve stress or to cope with overwhelming emotions. If you have developed an unhealthy relationship with food and you want to be better, here are ways you can make lasting changes:
Speak to a Professional
Often, an unhealthy relationship with food stems from a problem that is not immediately obvious. A consultation with a therapist or your doctor will be able to identify the problem. Once you know, they can prescribe you the medication you need or ask you to make lifestyle changes. You may have to go through a binge eating recovery plan, for example, to stop the habit. Taking care of the underlying problem first will ensure that you will not go back to the same harmful tendencies.
Eat When You are Physically Hungry
The term “emotional eating” refers to the habit of turning to food for comfort. This usually involves consuming junk food, fast food, and sweets. As you probably already know, emotional eating does not always make you feel better. After finishing a tub of ice cream or a box of pizza, your problems are still there and, in addition, you now have to deal with stomach discomfort and the guilt of overeating.
Eat a snack when your tummy is grumbling, but restrain yourself from reaching toward food when you feel unhappy or bored.
Stop When You are Full
Satiety does not make its presence known immediately. That is why many people are likely to eat more food than their body needs. However, it is there. You just have to pay attention to it.
Being mindful of what your body is telling you is the key to having a healthy relationship with food. This is not always easy, so there are a few tricks that you can start doing, like putting your fork down after every bite and savoring the food in front of you. After a while, you will be better in tune with your body and immediately realize when you have had enough.
Do Not Skip Meals
Many people still believe that, in order to lose weight, they have to stop eating. This is not only dangerous, but it also does not work. While you will see the scales go down, starving yourself will only make you want to eat more. It just is not sustainable.
A better diet plan is to eat a balanced meal that includes a wide variety of food from all food groups. Depriving yourself of carbohydrates or fats might cause you to not get the right amount of macronutrients you need to maintain the natural processes that happen inside your body. It is perfectly fine to enjoy your dessert or even get a burger if you want to. Eating for pleasure is equally as important as eating for hunger. Simply remember to eat everything in moderation.
Changing some of your unhealthy eating habits will take a bit of time and effort. Realizing that you have a problem is a great first step that will lead you to create a better relationship with food.