I think it safe to say many people struggle with having a healthy relationship with food. We carry guilt when we eat too much cake at dinner time by beating ourselves up, adding extra hours to our exercise routine the next day. We may find ourselves jumping from diet to diet as we try to reach an unrealistic standard of perfection. We may restrict as punishment or binge as a reward. Maybe, we find ourselves fearing never having enough so we turn to food for comfort and a sense of security. Whether you are someone who finds themselves reaching for food when stressed, or maybe you drink a little too much wine on the weekends, or you are dealing with a more seriously form of disordered eating it seems that more and more people are struggling to find a healthy balance when it comes to food.
So how do you go about healing this relationship with food? How do you find balance between pizza/movie nights and salads and green smoothies? What is true balance, anyways? Balance can look very different on each person and what works for one person is not always the answer for another person. Throughout my own recovery journey I have found some healthy ways to find more balance. These are a few things that helped me begin to heal my relationship with food.
- Avoid eating when feeling emotional. This is a hard one but it’s an important one. Finding a health way to help calm your emotions when stressed out such as yoga, or going for a walk. Doing these activities can help you to avoid overeating. Eating when your stressed also upset to your digestive system, so it best to find a time when you feel calm to sit down and enjoy your food.
- Give yourself permission to enjoy your food. Don’t beat yourself up for those two pieces of cake. It’s ok to have something you love. Feeling guilty will do nothing for you but throw you back into extremes and unhealthy relationship with food.
- Take time and intention when preparing your food. Being mindful with everything you do from the spices you use to how you plate your food. Take time to let it simmer, and soak up all the colours and flavours and make it look beautiful and appetizing. Bringing this awareness to the preparing your food brings a whole nother level of appreciation to this experience.
- Take time show gratitude for the food you are about to consume. Appreciate the colours and textures. Notice the different levels of flavours in your meal. Slow down and fully experience every bite.
- Bless your food. You can bless it by praying over it or placing reiki energy into it. Taking time to infuse it with love and healing energy is such a great practice to get into .
- Sit down to eat your meal. In this society we are always on the go, running from one thing to next never taking time to slow down and allow our bodies time to process the food we just consumed. So give yourself safe to do just that. Rest and DIGEST.
- Rest after your meal. give yourself time to digest and relax so your body can use all the nutrients to it’s highest potential.
- Eat intuitively. Eating when your hungry, stop when your full. This sounds like a very simple concept but in our society we have the pressures of set times to eat. We also have been consuming so many foods with high amounts of salts and sugars confusing our bodies into eat more when really we are full and satisfied.
- Eat foods that make you feel your best. Fill your plate with yummy fruits, and salads and have on the sides the more savoury foods that will satisfy not only your health but give you a balance into things that bring you enjoyment both physically and mentally.
- Always find love and compassion for yourself. Life is a journey and we all have times where we feel in control and balanced and other times we are very unsteady and that’s ok. Shame and guilty for working through this journey has never done anyone any good, so be proud of the little steps you take to healing this relationship with food.