A few weeks ago, my husband and I were driving to my in-laws. It’s just a short drive and along the way there’s a small bakery. This time they had a sign out for German donuts. I asked Thomas what those were like, which quickly prompted him to turn into the parking lot for us to try them. A few minutes later, we arrived at my in-laws with a bag of apple fritters and German donuts, something that took my in-laws by surprise. And we certainly did enjoy these sweet treats!

 

Healthy Relationship with Food

 

Good and Bad Food

We live in a society that equates food to being bad or good and connecting our self-worth to our food choices and size. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements for McDonald’s, 52-oz sodas for $1.50, and aisles of processed foods at the grocery store but then we’re told in order to be successful you have to be a certain size, avoid eating “bad foods”, or exercise and eat in a way that feels torturous. So many times I’ve heard, “I’m being so bad, I shouldn’t eat this.” or so many times my brain has obsessed for hours after eating something. Not anymore. Which brings me to what I think a positive relationship with food looks like.

Relationship with Food

Here are my top 13 signs that you have a positive and healthy relationship with food:

  1. Eating the foods on your plate is enjoyable. Your plate is full of flavors and textures that you enjoy and you don’t feel obligated to eat foods that you don’t enjoy.
  2. You don’t let diets and dieting choices define who you are. You’re more than “a vegan” or a “low-carb dieter”.
  3. Food and diet choices don’t improve or decrease your self-worth. Straying from your typical food choices doesn’t make you feel less about yourself or result in days of restriction.
  4. Food choices takes some planning but it does not consume an abnormal amount of time or majority of your thoughts. Your thoughts aren’t preoccupied with food if meal planning doesn’t happen.
  5. Eating meals and snacks at different times than your normal times doesn’t give you anxiety or make you feel out of control. If you go to an early-dinner or a late-lunch, your thoughts are not consumed with the change.
  6. You feel at-ease or can enjoy your time when someone else is in control of the food. A party, a luncheon, restaurant meal, or going to friend’s house for dinner does not give you anxiety over the food choices.
  7. Your internal cues of hunger and fullness prompt you to sit down and eat and tell you when you are done eating. You feel connected and mindful to how your body feels when it is hungry and when it is full.
  8. Overeating doesn’t trigger negative behaviors or thoughts.
  9. Eating foods that are nutritious is important to you because of the health benefits they provide and the energy it gives you. You view eating nutritiously as a way of self-care and maintaining a healthy and happy quality of life.
  10. You try new foods and experiment with flavors, textures, and foods of different cultures.
  11. Food is viewed as fuel and nutrients for your body. And your body feels energetic after most meals.
  12. Your diet and food behaviors are not constantly changing.
  13. Occasionally you take time to enjoy the foods that bring you pleasure, regardless of nutritional value.

There’s a lot of emotion that goes into eating and our food choices. I think having a healthy relationship with food doesn’t ignore this fact but it allows you to recognize your feelings, emotions, and thoughts that are associated with food. Working towards a healthy relationship can take time, patience, and grace.