What’s stopping you from making food your friend?
The blame game stops here – stops today. There is an easy equation with food and weight – more energy in the body than energy out of the body will result in weight gain. Stop making food your enemy and start making food your friend!!
OK – it is not as simple as that. For someone who has had a negative relationship with food for many years, I know that weight gain or loss is not as easy as it appears. I was a punishing eater – when I needed to be punished for not being good enough, I would gorge. Food was my enemy for years but the day I realised that by making food my friend, I had taken back control of my life and my shitty, negative body image.
The mind is so powerful that it can find ways to hold onto weight when you have made food your enemy. I remember fighting every mouthful of food, afraid of what it would do to my body and constantly feeling like I was letting my skinny body down by not allowing her to show up. My lowest times were as a teenager when bulimia took over my life. I believed bulimia gave me total control over my life and each episode bought me one step closer to really happiness. All it ever did was make food my enemy, something I hated but it always loved me more.
The reality was, when I made peace with my body and made peace with food, the weight no longer seemed as important and it actually came off. I still have days where I have a love/hate relationship with food but these times are getting fewer and fewer and my friendship is getting stronger and stronger.
Here are 10 ways to start making food your friend:
#1 Stop punishing yourself with food. No one is perfect and everyone is allowed to treat themselves every day. If you are having a bad day and this reflects in what you have just eaten, don’t throw the rest of the day away and punish yourself with more food. It’s OK to have a bad day – EVERYONE has them.
#2 Let go of Negative Relationships. Negative relationships eat away at self-esteem and this reflects on how you can perceive yourself. Sometimes it may not be food alone that is causing weight gain. It can be the relationship you are having with the food or relationships in your life that keep the weight intact. Letting go of weight can mean letting go of a bad relationship.
#3 Understand Emotional Eating. Be aware when you are eating emotionally and not because you are hungry. Write down these times to determine if there is a pattern to your eating. Don’t be hard on yourself if you do sit and emotionally eat, the first step in making friends with food and building trust in your relationship with food, is to admit that you eat under certain emotions.
#4 Stop eating on the run. How many times have you grabbed a snack as you race out the door but then have no memory of actually eating the ‘so called’ snack? I have done this more times than I care to admit. I don’t remember the taste, the enjoyment, the emotion of eating the food as I am too busy to take the time to eat just for myself. So, if you are going to have a chocolate biscuit, you might as well take the time to actually enjoy it. When you start to take more time to eat your food, all the flavours come to life and often less is eaten in that one sitting.
#5 Try eating without distractions. If you are sitting to eat a meal and you are on Facebook at the same time, the food no longer takes centre stage in the eating process. Food should be the main focus when eating a meal as this can help avoid over eating when given your full attention. An easily distracted brain will not send signals to the stomach quick enough when it is feeling full. I don’t often eat while on technology but I notice when the TV has taken my attention while eating, I eat too fast and enjoy it less.
#6 Understand what you are eating. Learn about where your food is coming from. Pick one of your favourite foods to eat and research it. Know what is in it and how it is made. Sometimes when you understand your food better and realise what it is doing to your body, steps to eliminate certain foods from your diet is a great way to build a stronger relationship with food.
#7 Take in all your senses. An important part of eating is allowing all the senses to join in the party. Smelling the food, feeling the texture of the food and seeing the colours of the food. When the sense come to life, the experience with food becomes a positive one and before you know it you will start making friends with food.
#8 Eat slowly. As a little girl I ate slowly, enjoying the beauty of eating. I look back at when my eating disorder began and I realise that I started to eat quickly, hoping to get the chose of eating out of the way quickly. Savour every mouthful by eating slowly and allow your body to digest the food as your go. The sensation of feeling fuller often occurs when food is eaten in this way.
#9 Define yourself by your health, not weight. Not everyone is meant to be skinny (thank god or we would all be boring) and there is a big difference between health and weight. Don’t define yourself by your weight, define yourself by your health. Learn from your experiences with food and take small steps to change what you don’t like. When I finally accepted I would never be perfect (not that I actually know what that is), I started to focus on being healthy instead.
#10 The less you worry, the less it becomes a worry. This one is easier said than done but it is important to try. Wake up each day with a positive mind on food. Eat because you enjoy it and because it is good for your health. Understand that losing weight doesn’t happen over night. Ask yourself – Did you put weight on over night? When food becomes a natural part of your every day and you no longer stress over everything you put into your mouth. This might just be the key to your health success.
The longest relationship you will EVER have in your life is with food, make it a healthy one.
Linking up with Kylie Purtell for #teamIBOT