When trying to lose weight and maintain it, the hardest part is working through binge eating, emotional eating, and food cravings.
Our relationship with food is a lifelong one and something we can never avoid, so it’s important to maintain a healthy one. Unhealthy relationship with food can cause stress, frustration, and weight gain. As early as possible, we need to develop a healthy relationship with food—one that is founded on fulfilling your nutritional needs, not your emotional ones.
It’s crucial to always remember that eating is for health and nutrition, not an excuse to cover or hide or tamper with our emotions. It is not an easy task considering the stresses of our daily lives. Most of the time it involves bringing in balanced meal plans, picking out healthy foods while eating out, and making a point that you’re getting the correct vitamins and minerals in your diet. But with the right mindset, a healthy dose of determination, and patience for research, it is by all means achievable.
Lucky for you, I’ve put together 10 Great Tips to Build a Healthy Relationship with Food so that you can start feeling great and losing weight!
One of the most crucial aspects of mastering good food relationships is to discover alternate ways to manage tension and being able to handle feelings without the use of food. Strategies might include going for a quick walk, working out, doing some deep breathing, meditating, listening to music, writing a few words down on paper, utilizing sensory relaxation techniques, and practicing self-control.
Consume 3 meals a day plus good-for-you snacks
At a minimum, try to eat 3 good quality meals a day and at least 1 healthy snack in between. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism in the morning. Follow breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner, with some healthy snacks in between. Where possible, stick with your scheduled mealtimes, as skipping over meals is proven to lead to binge eating or emotional eating later in the day.
Keep away from temptation
Throw away (or give away) those unhealthy, sugar loaded, junk-filled snacks. You’re much more likely to binge if you have junk food, sweets, and unhealthy snacks in the house or at your work desk. Take away the temptation by clearing your refrigerator and pantry of your preferred go-to unhealthy foods. Start replacing your go-to foods with healthier alternatives such as apple slices with cinnamon and honey or strawberries dipped in good quality dark chocolate.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s important! The deprivation and hunger of dieting almost always kick off food cravings and the urge to overeat because we deprive our bodies of essential nutrition. Rather than going on a diet, base your diet on eating in moderation. It’s all about balance. Discover nutritious foods that you love and eat until you feel content, not uncomfortably full. Instead of banning foods altogether, try crowding them out with better options so the need to eat them diminishes little by little.
It’s time to get moving. Not only will exercise help you slim down in a healthy way, but it also does wonders for your body. Exercising is proven to help with depression, and bring down stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of physical activity may help put a stop to emotional eating. Just try something as simple as walking for 10 minutes a day or doing some morning and evening stretches. Or, if you are up to it, go for a 20-30 minute run.
One of the common reasons for weight gain is eating out of boredom. Rather than snacking when you're bored, try to distract yourself. Take a walk. Call a friend. Read a book. Watch a funny video. Read the jokes section in the newspaper. Sign up for a hobby that you have been meaning to enroll since last summer. Think of ways you can keep a little busy to stop your tummy speaking to your brain when it’s not actually hungry.
Get adequate sleep
If you're tired, you might want to keep eating in order to supercharge your energy but this is an unhealthy way to re-energize. Instead, take a nap or sleep earlier. Aim for a good quality sleep of around 7-9 hours (depending on your body’s needs). Sleep will allow your body to rest and the time to digest your food for the day.
Listen to your body
This is probably the most important part of losing weight for life. Learn to differentiate between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don't have a growling tummy, you're probably not hungry. Give the craving time to pass by drinking a glass of water and start being honest with what your body actually needs.
Maintain a food diary
To learn great insights from your eating patterns and to truly understand your body when it comes to losing weight, it’s important to keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, when, how much, and how you're feeling while you eat. You might come across patterns that reveal the connection between your moods and eating.