I've always had a bit of a complex relationship with food. As a chronic dieter, food has always existed in my life in the form of a love/hate relationship.
And I know I'm not alone.
Our society has an obsession over how we look and that obsession can be linked directly to what's on our plate. Our desire to be thin outweighs our desire to just be healthy. It takes away our perspective and sense of balance and as such food is seen as an emotional crutch instead of simply a source of fuel.
Now of course, I never want to see food as just a source of fuel because I believe it's something that we should enjoy and saviour. But what I do want to see the end of is the streams of conflicting advice, the idea that one body type is better than another and the stress and obsession that comes with food when you have a difficult relationship with it.
If you want to put an end to dieting and those unrealistic goals you set yourself and just enjoy your daily meals then here are my 5 tips on how to change your relationship with food for good.
Stop Rewarding Yourself With Food. You may have heard the phrase, "You are not a dog, so don't reward yourself with food" and I'm afraid to say, its spot on. Rewarding yourself with food is just a way of continuing the vicious circle. That's not to say that you shouldn't reward yourself when you achieve something but rather than reaching for a doughnut when you hit that weight loss goal perhaps treat yourself to something long lasting like a piece of jewellery or useful like a new pair of trainers.
Accept Balance. Being healthy and eating a healthy diet isn't just about starting your day off with a green smoothie before eating a big, old kale salad for lunch. It's about balance. It's about understanding that some days you're going to want to eat salad and hit the gym but other days you're going to want to curl up on the sofa and enjoy a bar of a chocolate. You can do the two things and still be healthy because you're not longer restricting yourself. It is time to start focussing on what you can eat rather than what you can't. There's no reason to feel deprived and if you're eating healthy diet most of the time, that big slice of chocolate cake won't do you any harm.
Change the way you look at food. The diet industry has done a good job,in convincing us that low fat, pre-packaged foods will be the answers to all our prayers, especially when it comes to shedding pounds. But the reality is, low fat goods are just another name for refined sugar and chemicals. So whilst you may think you're doing your body some good, you're actually causing it problems. Fat is no longer the enemy, it'll help keep you fuller for longer and you'll also find that your cognitive function will improve too. Sticking to foods you know are good for you instead of foods that are mass produced and marketed to you will help change the way you look at food.
Nutrition over...calories, points, carbs - however you measure your intake, the only thing you need to be concerning yourself with is the nutritional value of what is on your plate. Counting calories (or any other way) just starts off a spiral of obsession. Eat fresh, whole foods and you'll find the need to count calories simply disappears.
Stop worrying about yesterday. Food shouldn't make you feel guilty - ever. If you are feeling a pang of guilt then it's time for you to break free of the abusive relationship you're in with food. If you eat something that you think isn't very healthy or you have a day where you make all the wrong food choices, don't worry. Just pick yourself up and move on. We all do it and by filling your head with negative thoughts after you eat can be extremely harmful.
Start taking the time to taste, smell, chew and really appreciate what's on your plate and change your relationship with food for good.