Our Relationship to food
Most people spend approximately one hour a day only eating and/or drinking. That means that wether we want to or not, we all have a relationship to food. This relationship can be healthy or an unhealthy one. Having an unhealthy relationship with food does not necessarily mean that what you consume is unhealthy. Many people who have a healthy diet can still have an unhealthy relationship with the diet itself. Being extremely controlling or feeling guilty whenever they don’t follow that diet are signs of an unhealthy overall relationship to food. On the other side of it, people who tend to overeat or who wants to eat “healthy food” but never manage to act on that desire, are also signs of an unhealthy relationship. To find balance between following a diet plan without becoming obsessively controlling over it can be hard, so today I will give you a few easy steps on how to improve your relationship with food.
Relationship to food is a rollercoaster
The first thing to accept is that consuming food is an experience. It arises sensations on both a physical and even an emotional level, but most times we are too rushed to even acknowledge them. My personal relationship with food has been a rollercoaster. I’ve gone from a careless child who enjoyed food, to counting every single calorie that was put in my mouth. When I understood that my relationship with food had turned unhealthy, even though everything that I was consuming would by most people be considered as healthy, I had to first become aware of what the relationship actually contained. The first thing I realised, was that I lacked presence while eating food. I didn’t noticed how different types of food actually made me feel. So step one is to become present with the whole experience. Many times we think that it’s in our mouth we’re experiencing the food we eat, but this is only because we’re too rushed to notice the other sensations in our bodies. When you start to notice your body’s reactions to what you eat you can use those reactions as a compass or a map towards understanding the relationship and to create a diet specifically for your own body.
Get in touch with your hunger
Step two, get in touch with your hunger. Many times we listen more to our thoughts about food, rather than what our body is trying to tell us that it wants. We eat what we think we want, not what our body is craving for. Many people can even be scared of hunger and will do anything to avoid it. But if you learn to hold space for your hunger, if you allow it to be fully expressed, you’ll start to feel what it is that your body needs and wants. It’s well known that sugar is addictive and therefore easily to become something we over consume. When we are trying to avoid the sensation of hunger the mind likes to come up with the fastest way to do so – which most times is with sugar. The more in touch you can get with the sensation of hunger the more information you’ll find on what your body needs, instead of what you need in order to avoid feeling hungry.
Remember that the things you put in your mouth goes out in your body and graces you with life.
— Joanna Backas, Personal Trainer @ Wellyfit
Slowing down helps you catch your body’s cues telling you it’s full
Step three, slow down while eating. As said before, eating is an experience and slowing down both helps you be more present with that experience but it’s also beneficial for your digestion. Try chewing 25 times before swallowing and put down your fork in between every mouthful. Since many of us are so out of tune with our sensation of hunger, we don’t notice when it fades away and we actually become full. Slowing down helps you catch your body’s cues telling you it’s full.
You are what you consume
Step four, your body is your temple, you are what you consume – we’ve all heard these sayings. But unless we actually know the effect different types of food has on our body, we can’t really set these sayings into reality. So knowledge is power, the more you know about it the easier it will be to follow that which is in your healths best interests. All bodies are different, starting a diet plan should be like trying on clothes – some will fit comfortably on your body and some won’t. Don’t try to fit into what someone claims to be the best diet, find the diet that is best for you. Many times, a mixture of different diet plans is better than excluding yourself to only one.
Understand your relationship to food
Your relationship with food is one of the longest relationships you’ll ever have, so it’s never too late to reconstruct it. The more you understand about your personal relationship to food the easier it will be to chose that which will benefit you. Remember that the things you put in your mouth goes out in your body and graces you with life. Give thanks to it, appreciate it and find the love that is inside of it.