IDENTIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD:
Our relationship with food has a greater impact on our lives than many people may realize.
In a society that is full of diet culture and quick fixes to achieve peak health, we must instead take the time to build a more healthy and mindful relationship with what we eat.
Doing so can prevent conditions such as obesity or diabetes from occurring, whereas following trends and shortcuts in our diets can lead to unhealthy levels of consumption.
Once you have made the decision to lose weight, it is important to understand your current situation. Ask yourself the following 3 questions:
- Do you overthink or stress about food?
- Do you avoid or restrict foods that are “bad” for you?
- Do you have a history of yo-yo dieting or following the latest diet fads?
If you answered yes to at least one of the questions, continue reading as we navigate on helping you achieve weight loss success through reframing a healthier relationship with food.
Like any relationship, it requires tending to and frequent check-ins.
A good relationship with food is no different, it will require time, practice and patience. Without establishing a healthy relationship with food, the results are often short lived.
Achieving a healthy relationship with food is an ongoing process that requires patience and time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have it all figured out- instead, take small steps and make positive changes day by day.
WHAT IS A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD?
When you improve your relationship with food, you will notice less stress and worry around eating.
That emotional, mental and physical energy can be redirected towards achieving your weight loss goals.
Signs of a good relationship with food:
- You trust your body and give it permission to eat the foods you enjoy
- No foods are off-limits
- You eat when hungry and stop when full
- You eat and enjoy food in moderation
- You don’t obsess over numbers unless for health reasons (calorie counting, fat content, number on the scale etc)
- You choose food that makes your body feel its best
- Others opinions don’t dictate your food choices
A healthy relationship with food means adopting an attitude of moderation and balance. Eating foods that you enjoy in sensible portions, recognizing that food does not define your worth as a person, and not letting food control your life.
7 WAYS TO RESET YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD TO SUSTAIN WEIGHT LOSS:
It’s one thing to think and wish for change, it’s another to take action and actively make change happen.
First, be gracious with yourself. You have your own history with food,
That said, below are 7 helpful ways to reset your relationship with food.
1) DESIRE TO BE HEALTHY RATHER THAN “SKINNY”:
Challenging ourselves to shift our perspectives away from diet culture and reframing body dissatisfaction as an opportunity to build a better relationship with ourselves.
It is important to remember that behaviors such as dieting, restricting foods, and skipping meals can initiate a negative cycle that feeds into poor dietary habits and mental health.
Focus on nourishing your body to optimal health through your food and lifestyle choices.
2) PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING:
Mindful eating is about listening to your body’s needs and eating with consciousness and intention.
It means paying close attention to what your body craves, recognizing physical and emotional hunger signals, evaluating how your body feels and reacts when eating- creating a more positive relationship with food.
This practice can help promote healthier eating habits and weight loss as well as reduce disordered eating behaviors.
3) NO FOOD IS OFF LIMITS:
It’s important to recognize the power of labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, and how doing so can lead to overeating even when trying to control your intake.
A study showed that restrictive dieters consumed significantly more cookies than non-dieters after having a milkshake, suggesting that being deprived of one type of food led them to overcompensate with other foods they believed they had already denied themselves.
The key is to accept all foods as equal, instead of vilifying certain treats or snacks.
This creates a sense of balance and prevents cravings for those items from running rampant. In fact, research has shown that limiting food choices does not decrease desire for high calorie items – an effect known as habituation – but rather increases the craving for them!
4) TUNE INTO HUNGER CUES:
It’s important to listen to your body’s natural hunger signals and not skip meals.
Each person has the internal ability to recognize hunger signals, although this can become disturbed over time due to external factors such as diet culture encouraging people to rely on calorie intake instead of listening to their own hunger levels.
It’s important to nourish yourself by eating when your body is truly hungry in order to properly manage your food intake and regulate your appetite and stop when full.
5) PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WORDS:
There is power in your words as it is a reflection of what is in your heart.
The vocabulary you use can have a huge impact on your relationship with food.
Words like “clean”, “superfood”, “calories” are just a few examples that are impacting your good and bad judgements that can take up space in your mind- having power over your decisions around food.
The first step is awareness- then begin to change the language you use around food.
6) DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP:
Don’t let an occasional slip-up discourage you from continuing on your path.
Everyone overeats at times, so don’t be too hard on yourself but rather be kind to your body and mind.
The best thing is to simply pick up from where you left off and continue nurturing your body without guilt or shame.
7) FIND ACCOUNTABILITY:
Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner when you are making a lifestyle change to be healthier and lose weight. Remember you are never alone.
By having someone to check in on you regularly, they can help motivate you and encourage healthy eating habits.
You may even want to consider meal prepping together, grocery shopping for nutritious foods, or having lunch and dinner together.
Resetting your relationship with food isn’t easy. It requires diligence, dedication, and compassion for yourself. Allow yourself to take it slow and be patient as you adjust to the changes – taking one day at a time. Avoid self-criticism and be sure to care for yourself during this process.
EATING WHOLE FOODS:
A diet made up mostly of whole, nutrient-dense foods can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, while also leading to increased longevity.
On the other hand, diets rich in ultra-processed foods have been linked to a greater risk of mortality as well as decreased levels of mental wellbeing, possibly due to the lack of certain essential nutrients.
When making healthy food choices, you should consider not just the number of calories in a food, but its nutrient density.
Nutrient dense foods provide more essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber than those that are low in nutrients despite having a higher calorie content.
While some nutrient-rich foods are also lower in calories such as certain leafy greens and seafood, many are higher in calories such as nuts and avocados.
The key is to prioritize nutrient-dense foods for optimal health.
Macronutrients are essential nutrients that our bodies require in higher quantities to provide us with energy. Carbohydrates, protein and fats are called macronutrients.
Carbohydrates- often referred to as carbs, are an important source of energy for the body; they fuel muscles and the central nervous system during exercise and physical activity.
- Whole grains
- Fruits, Daily (limit to low fat)
Proteins– provide for growth of body tissue and protection from infections,
- Soy proteins (tofu, tempeh, edamame)
- Nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters
- Animal protein
- Lentils, beans
Fats– help carry fat-soluble vitamins throughout the body.
- Vegetable oils (olive oil, avocado oil)
- Fatty fish (salmon, fresh tuna)
- Nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters
- Avocado, olives, flax seeds, chia seeds
Dangers of Processed Foods:
Eating processed foods is associated with increased risk of obesity, health problems and other forms of illness.
These foods are often low-cost and tasty, but they contain dangerous ingredients such as saturated fats, sugar and salt that can be detrimental if consumed in large amounts.
Additionally, ultra-processed foods are also deficient in dietary fiber and essential vitamins compared to whole foods.
Examples of processed foods to avoid:
- Frozen ready to eat meals (pizza, cakes, microwave dinners)
- Breakfast cereals
- Crackers and chips
- Candy and ice cream
- Instant noodles and soups
- Sodas and sweetened drinks
- Processed meats (sausages, nuggets, canned ham, bacon)
20 Healthy Foods For Weight Loss:
Eating the right foods is key to successful weight loss. Try incorporating some of these 20 power-foods into your diet to get on track for a healthier, lighter lifestyle.
1. Leafy Greens
5. Chia Seeds
6. Whole eggs
7. Sweet potato
8. Raw oats
9. Cottage cheese
11. Whole grains
13. Greek yogurt
14. Extra virgin olive oil
15. Lean meats
20. Dark chocolate
Take the time to properly educate yourself on food nutrition. Understanding what your body needs and what food contains will pay off massively in achieving your weight loss goals.
CREATE SIMPLE HEALTHY ACHIEVABLE HABITS:
CONSUME PROTEIN FOR BREAKFAST:
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and rightfully so.
What you choose to eat will determine how you feel and act throughout your day.
Eating a high-protein breakfast may be beneficial in weight loss as multiple studies have shown that it reduces hunger, decreased fat gain, and suppresses ghrelin, the hormone that increases appetite.
Consider adding protein-rich foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, or chia seeds to your breakfast routine for improved wellbeing.
Building the habit of meal planning can be incredibly helpful for those looking to lose weight.
By planning meals in advance, you can fuel yourself with nutritious, healthy food options.
As you are reframing your relationship with food, make this process fun- look for new healthy recipes to test out.
You are less inclined to snack on junk food when you have healthy meals and snacks planned in advance that you can easily grab.
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and losing weight.
It increases caloric expenditure and helps you shed the extra pounds, while also providing other great benefits such as improved mood, stronger bones, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and more.
For weight loss home exercises, we recommend the following programs:
Several studies have been made that concluded drinking more water can help you lose weight.
Benefits of consuming more water during your weight loss journey:
- Suppresses appetite
- Reduces liquid calorie intake
- Removes toxins in your body
- Supports digestion of food
- Burns calories
Sleep is often overlooked, but it has a major impact on your weight loss journey.
Research has found that lack of sufficient shut-eye can disrupt hormones responsible for hunger and make you gravitate to unhealthy snacks.
Such cravings usually lead to an increase in calorie consumption which ultimately slows your weight loss progress.
Making a few small changes to your daily habits can be an easy and effective way to achieve your weight loss goal. Forming habits are a powerful way to see sustainable changes in your life.
Aim For Consistency Not Perfection:
When we strive for consistency, it gives us a better chance of achieving lasting progress.
The goal should not be to fixate on the number on your scale, but rather to focus on the daily action of incorporating healthy habits as a lifestyle.
Weight loss will happen when you stay focused and consistent- don’t aim for the short term gain but strive for a lifestyle shift that will lead to a long term sustainable healthy weight and life choices.
SUMMARY TIPS TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD:
- Refer to our SMART blog
- Reframe your mind- eating healthy is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix to lose weight
- Make healthy food choices- but don’t cut out foods you enjoy, just limit the intake
- Be attentive of when you eat (don’t eat while watching TV, working or standing)
- Watch your portion sizes
- Allow yourself to eat a range of foods without forbidding yourself of any particular food
- Don’t skip meals
- Plan meals and snacks ahead of time
- Limit eating late at night (stop eating 4 hours before bed)
- Drink plenty of water
- Move your body, find an exercise you enjoy and can do consistently (at least 3x a week)
- Be gentle to yourself
- Find accountability in friends/family/spouse in your journey as you make changes in lifestyle
- Consistency is key. Progress not perfection.